Stephen Collins was yesterday announced as the winner of the first ever 9th Art Award, writes Nicola Love.
Held at Edinburgh International Book Festival as part of the Stripped strand of events, the 9th Art Award is a product of Graphic Scotland – an organisation that champions innovation and diversity in graphic novels.
The award ceremony was hosted by Billy Kirkwood, a Scottish comedian who is no stranger to these sort of affairs, having been hand-picked to present the Stan Lee awards at Mark Millar’s Kapow convention in 2011 and 2012.
Appearing on stage with him were three fifths of the 9th Art Award judging panel: Gordon Robertson, Paul Gravett and Mary Talbot.
The panel conversed about the award’s shortlist, before engaging in a Q&A with the audience. The shortlist comprised of five titles, four of which were British debuts.
The books on the the shortlist were Chris Ware‘s ‘Building Stories’, Glyn Dillon‘s ‘The Nao of Brown’, Hannah Eaton‘s ‘Hearing Monsters’, Joff Winterhart‘s ‘Days of the Bagnold’ and Stephen Collins‘ ‘The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil’.
The panel also gave a special mention to Chris Wilegoose‘s ‘Porcelain’, which Mary Talbot described as, “Bluebeard with a touch of steampunk”.
At the end of the hour, Graphic Scotland chair John McShane took to the stage to announce Collins as the winner.
He delivered his winner’s speech via video, looking visibly overwhelmed as he stumbled over his thank yous.
Gordon Robertson said the the book was crowned the winner because it “works on a number of different levels”, while Mary Tabot said that her criteria for choosing a winner relied on finding a book that she found “completely absorbing”.