‘I entered the graphic short story prize for the first time when I was still on my art degree. It was when the competition was still a two page comic. I was a runner up, and then I entered every year from then on. Mainly because it was good practice rather than that I had a particularly good story to tell. But after I graduated I began to formulate an idea for a graphic novel I wanted to write, and I figured winning the prize would be a great way to get some attention and make this happen. The story I entered ‘Love in a very cold Climate’ now forms the prologue to my graphic novel ‘The Encyclopedia of Early Earth’. I think it is fair to say that winning the prize literally launched my career.
Jonathan Cape are now publishing my graphic novel, and it is coming out simultaneously in the US, Canada and Germany. Following the story appearing in the paper I got a book agent and everything then happened very, very, fast. Being in the paper was great because, although I had appeared in small publications and anthologies, none of them were the kind of thing that people outside the illustration/comics scene would have really known about. It was cool that my mum could go into the newsagents and buy a copy (or six!).
I couldn’t recommend entering the prize enough. It was the most important thing that has happened to me. I entered three times before winning, and I would tell anyone to keep trying! It’s hard to fit a complete story into four pages, and still have some character development, and I think it took me that many tries to get close!’
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is published by Isabel Greenberg on Oct 03rd.
More information about the Jonathan Cape/Observer/Comica Short Story competition here: http://www.vintage-books.co.uk/Graphicshortstoryprize/