Cover of You’re Thinking about Tomatoes – the Graphic Novel by Michael Rosen and Cole Henley

Many of the guests coming to Graphic Brighton 2022, to talk about their work on Children’s titles, are luminaries in the world of comics, here’s more info about four of them!

Michael Rosen is a British National Treasure! A former Children’s Laureate (2007-2009), and well known for his love of comics, having spoken many times about words and pictures on his Radio 4 programme Word of Mouth. A handful of his short picture books for children have been in the style of comics – including Red Ted and The Lost Things (illustrated by Joel Stewart), and Send for a Superhero (illustrated by Katharine McEwen) but the adaptation of You’re Thinking About Tomatoes is his first full length graphic novel. Michael will be joined at Graphic Brighton by Cole Henley, the artist of this new graphic novel, and after their talk, signed copies of the book will be available for sale for the first time in the UK.

Hannah Berry is a University of Brighton alumnus who was the UK Comics Laureate from 2019-2021 and the author of three graphic novels. She has worked on a couple of projects during COVID lockdown to help younger readers help with issues of kindness and resilience – these include Planet DIVOC-91, an online comic series empowering young adults to make sense of the challenges from the pandemic, and The Rez (with artist Racheal Smith), a Sci-Fi adventure intended to help young people build meaningful relationships in a world of social media. The latter comic’s story extends into a podcast produced by Lance Dann, which won two accolades at the 2021 Audio Production Awards.

Woodrow Phoenix is also a University of Brighton alumnus who has worked on animated projects for the Cartoon Network and Disney, and edited the Eisner Award nominated anthology Nelson, which was The Guardian’s Graphic Novel of the Month, and The Times’ Graphic Novel of the Year in 2011. At Graphic Brighton he’ll be talking about his Children’s Comic Donny Digits, which was serialised in the weekly British Comics title The Phoenix, and has been collected into a graphic novella by Bog Eyed Books. His graphic novel Rumble Strip (released in the US as Crash Course), was used to help spread information about Road Safety by the NGO ArriveSAFE in India.

Dona Pursall (via zoom) is a researcher at Ghent University, who won the 2021 Sabin Award for Comics Research for her essay Why are you laughing?: Mischievous forms of humour in British children’s Comics. She is investigating childhood, imagination and culture within the history of humorous comics. She is specifically investigating the relationship between the British ‘funnies’ from the 1930s to 1960s and the experiences and development of child readers within the context of wider social unrest and political change. Her recent area of research has been on the history of types of humour in the 80 year history of the British weekly comic institution The Beano, which was pulished online in a three part series.

Graphic Brighton 2022 – Comics by and for Young People is sponsored by the University of Brighton’s Widening Participation and Outreach department, and Centre for Arts and Wellbeing, and runs from May 27th – 28th at the University’s building at 154 Edward Street, Brighton. Book FREE tickets here…