British graphic novelist Posy Simmonds has been awarded the Grand Prix – the world's most prestigious award in the field – at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. This year's event, which opens to the public on Thursday, is shaping up to be more international than ever, with three Japanese guests and Canada as the country of honour.
Born in 1945, Simmonds started out as a newspaper cartoonist before going on to publish children's books and graphic novels.
She is best known for her long association with the British newspaper The Guardian, for which she drew the series Gemma Bovery (2000) and Tamara Drewe (2005-06), both later published as books and made into films.
A long-time francophile who studied at the Sorbonne university in Paris, Simmonds chaired the jury at the Angouleme festival in 2017.
She is one of the few women to break through in the British comics world, and she won press cartoonist of the year in 1981.
The French Association of comics critics and journalists gave her its critic's prize in 2009, for Tamara Drewe.
She won international acclaim for True Love, an avant-garde graphic novel that was a sort of precursor to the Bridget Jones novels.
Her third graphic novel, Cassandra Darke, was published in 2018. Loosely based on Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol, it is set in current times with a protagonist likened to a female version of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Simmonds' work is currently the focus of a retrospective at the Pompidou Centre in Paris until 1 April, 2024.
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