If there was a tidal wave that swept over the comics world in 2015 it was diversity. Great strides were made, though more needs to be done. And here here’s an award to recognize come of what’s going on, under the auspices of the Virginia Library Association. Publishers take note; more info here.

A new award is geared to entice more diversity in characters and subject matter to the world of comic books & graphic novels.

The Diversity & Inclusion Forum of the Virginia Library Association has launched the VLA Graphic Novel Diversity Awards. The first awards will be given to materials published in 2015. Winners will be chosen from two age groups: Youth (ages 6-17) and adult. The winning graphic novels will be announced at the 2016 Virginia Library Association conference. The deadline for entries is March 31, 2016.

U.S. Publishers or self-published graphic novelists may submit entries which have a diverse protagonist, secondary character whose diversity affects the story, or subject matter. The text of the nominees must be in English. Story Arcs are also eligible as long as the final volume was published in the year being honored. Additional information may be obtained from the VLA website, http://www.vla.org/vla-graphic-novel-diversity-award.

Readers of graphic novels are not able to nominate. However, if a reader is passionate about a graphic novel that features diversity, he or she should let the publisher know about the award and recommend the publisher or self-publisher submit the title to the Awards Committee.

Kevin Clement, Librarian II with the Chesapeake Public Library and Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Forum and the Diversity Awards Planning committee has spearheaded this endeavor. All inquiries should be directed to him.

Kevin Clement