France's big comic book festival returns after more than a year away

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France's big comic book festival returns after more than a year away
(Photo: Yohan Bonnet / AFP)

After more than a year off the French festival calendar because of Covid-19, the Festival de la bande dessinée in Angoulême returns this weekend.


Cancelled in 2021 for public health reasons, and postponed from its usual January slot earlier this year with restrictions still firmly in place, the festival celebrating all things comic book and graphic novel - the second largest of its kind in Europe - runs from March 17th to March 20th in the Charente town.


This year, a special exhibition of works in support of Ukraine following the Russian invasion has been hastily arranged.

The opening ceremony, on the evening of March 16th, will include a performance featuring Franco-Ukrainian pianist Dimitri Naïditch that will bring together comic strip artists from 10 nations, who “will unite to propose, on a scenario by French author Alfred, a story in drawings evoking the situation in Ukraine”, organisers have said.

An exhibition of work by recent Grand Prix winner Chris Ware is another headline-grabbing part of this year’s event, while the festival will also mark the centenary of the birth of Shigeru Mizuki, recognised in the manga Hall of Fame.


Meanwhile, Pénélope Bagieu, Catherine Meurisse and Canadian Julie Doucet are in the running to become just the fourth female winner of the Festival’s Grand Prix, following in the artistic footsteps of trailblazers Claire Bretécher (1984), Florence Cestac (2000) and Rumiko Takahashi (2019).


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