Raymond Briggs: Controversially blurring the boundaries among comics, graphic novels, picture books and illustrated books
Janet Evans, Saturday 13.00-13.30

In November 2008 the Cartoon Art Trust Awards were held in London. Alongside prizes for the likes of Young Cartoonist of the Year, that year's Lifetime Achievement Award went to Raymond Briggs.

Raymond Briggs, artist, writer, cartoonist and graphic novelist, has been a prize winning creator of cartoon strips, graphic novels and picturebooks for readers of all ages. He has used the strip cartoon format in many of his books and the popularity and greatness of his work demonstrates that comics and graphic novels should not be taken lightly. They are thought provoking, often deeply controversial texts which challenge the reader at many levels. However it was Briggs himself, over 17years ago, who realised that the adult strip cartoon was denied the dignity of an accepted form, “It’s partly their content, I’ve never seen a good graphic novel and any quarto format with pictures is corralled off for the under eights – no adult would be seen reading one as they would in Japan, France, Germany or Italy.” Briggs (1992). Since this time, things have radically changed and comics and graphic novels are now much more widely accepted.

Since starting his career as an author/illustrator over four decades ago, Briggs has been controversially and subversively blurring the boundaries of picturebook production for readers of all ages. His books, generally regarded by many as being for young children, are often complex graphic novels with challenging, underlying messages.

In this presentation delegates will be invited to share and think about Briggs’ corpus of work in relation to:

• a consideration of the terms: comics, graphic novels, picturebooks and illustrated books
• the implied reader
• the intended audience
• the artist’s style and
• the content and subject matter

The presentation will be a blend of theory and practice and will be visually stimulating making use of Brigg’s work and that of other author/illustrators where appropriate.

Janet Evans is a Senior Lecturer in Education at Liverpool Hope University. Formerly an Early Years and primary school teacher she has written nine books on language, literacy and maths education for Early Years and Primary educators. Her latest book, Talking Beyond the Page:Reading and Responding to Picturebooks which focuses on the importance of responding orally to picturebooks was published in March 2009 by Routledge. Janet is currently doing freelance consultancy two days each week. Her ongoing research interests include children’s literature, critical literacy, reader response and interactive writing linked to popular culture.