This week, I’m off to Penn State University to receive the Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year! The award (which was announced this past spring) is run by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress – and past years include Chris Ware’s Building Stories, the Tamakis’ This One Summer, and Jim Woodring’s Fran – all works I taught this past year!  Pretty amazing to be in the company of such creators – and I’m thrilled to be associated with Ward, whose early twentieth century wordless woodcut novels have been retroactively considered to be the first graphic novels. I talk about his work in classes frequently – and while I wouldn’t count Ward’s work as a direct influence, in getting ready for my talk, I’ve begun exploring his work more, and further pleased to see instances of my work in visual resonance with his. Thursday night, October 6, I’ll be giving a talk about Unflattening, and while I’m at PSU, I’ll join in with Susan Squier’s graphic medicine class, and other folks working in comics and arts-based research there. Excited for the opportunity and grateful for the reception of the work. For the official announcement of the prize, please see here, and here, for an interview about it with PA’s Centre Daily. From the jurors’ official comment on Unflattening:

 “Unflattening,” says the jury, “is an innovative, multi-layered graphic novel about comics, art, and visual thinking. The book’s ‘integrated landscape’ of image and text takes the reader on an Odyssean journey through multiple dimensions, inviting us to view the world from alternate visual vantage points. These perspectives are inspired by a broad range of ideas from astronomy, mathematics, optics, philosophy, ecology, art, literature, cultural studies, and comics. The graphic styles and layouts in this work are engaging and impressive and succeed in making the headiest of ideas accessible. In short, ‘Unflattening’ takes sequential art to the next level. It takes graphic narrative into the realm of theory, and it puts theory into practice with this artful presentation of how imaginative thinking can enrich our understanding of the world.”

The Korean edition of Unflattening is out – and I did an interview with the Korean paper Chosun. It’s online here, for those who read Korean. Also, I was in Colorado two weeks ago for the Jaipur Literary Festival-Boulder, pretty amazing experience all around, interacting with a fascinating range of authors including Ms. Marvel’s G. Willow Wilson and Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows, and more. Some words about that gathering here. Finally the website Books Ju Jour covers Unflattening with some thoughtful words in their review here. I’m slowly getting settled in SF, and excited about some of the work I’m doing with students now and things to come at SFSU. More on that soon. – Nick