Jonathan Cape Graphic Short story 2017

This year's winner of the Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story competition is in the Guardian today (or the Observer on Sunday, to be exact) and it's a heartwarming tale about compatibility and romance. Congratulations to this year's winner! I'll chat about the recent winners and then I'll show my graphic short story entry…

First line from this year's winner (Tor Freeman):


It's interesting to see what the competition organisers are looking for nowadays. Last year's winner was a milkman's desire to win his local Tall Milkman competition. This seems, I think, to show that Cape are currently after low-key, heartwarming stories about everyday life. Both stories are also illustrated in a style that's akin to a children's book illustration, making them accessible to a larger age group.

Sample line from last year's winner (Matthew Dooley):

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I gambled this year on the belief that Jonathan Cape might be after work that is a bit edgier and darker, akin to a lot of the classic graphic novels for an adult audience from 'independent' publishers over the years that have been very successful, such as Maus, Persepolis and Gaza, which all deal with war, oppressive regimes and the tougher aspects of existence.


My entry was a satire on how a well-organised, pragmatic, amoral society can look indistinguishable from a supposedly moral one. The twist is that in such a society, someone carrying out selfless acts will look demented, sick, dangerous and revolutionary. Here's my entry: