A major symptom of the graphic novel's emergence from puberty over the past 30 years will happen this month at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Not only does this year's programme see the inauguration of an entire themed sub-festival called Stripped, but also the first presentation of the 9th Art Award, an international prize for graphic fiction whose organisers don't seem keen to discourage talk of their ambition to be “the Booker Prize of graphic novels”.
“It's definitely something to aspire to,” says Dr Padmini Ray Murray, who's on the advisory board of Graphic Scotland, the organisation presenting the 9th Art Award. “Having that sticker on your book saying you've been nominated for the Man Booker, it immediately enhances the profile of it.”
Judged by a panel including award-winning graphic novelist Mary Talbot, it seems an ideal opportunity for this versatile medium to show what it can do.
The 9th Art Award ceremony at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on 25 August. 9thartfestival.com