Julie Doucet Awarded Grand Prix At Angoulême Festival

by Richard Bruton

Julie Douchet wins the prestigious Grand Prix award at Angoulême – only the third woman in nearly 50 years of the awards!

We brought you the news earlier this month that this years’ Angoulême Grand Prix was definitely going to go to only the third woman in the Festival 49 year awards history, with Julie Douchet, Pénélope Bagieu, and Catherine Meurisse.

Well, the awards took place on the opening night of the festival and it was last years’ winner, Chris Ware, who presented Julie Douchet with the 2022 Grand Prix.

It’s a much-deserved award for Douchet, who’s been pushing boundaries in comics since first breaking through in the late 80s with her photocopied fanzine: Dirty Plotte, in which she documented her daily life, her dreams and her anxieties in French and English. The title was picked up in 1991 by the Montreal-based publisher Drawn & Quarterly, which published them. After living in New York, Seattle and Berlin, Julie Doucet returned to Montreal where she lives and works, now operating in a field closer to graphic arts (collage, poetry, photo novels). Her work, which she publishes in limited editions in silkscreen, is sometimes published by Drawn & Quarterly. In 2018, essayist Anne-Elizabeth Moore published a study on Julie Doucet’s work (Sweet Little Cunt: The Graphic Work of Julie Doucet), which she sees as a precursor of a new feminism in comics.

Drawn & Quarterly tweeted this out in response to the win… including footage of Douchet accepting the award

Whilst the Festival press release read…

“In the footsteps of Chris Ware in 2021 and of Emmanuel Guibert the year before that, the Canadian artist Julie Doucet has been awarded the Grand Prix of the 49th Angoulême International Comics Festival following a vote that involved 1,820 fellow comic book authors.

Twenty-two years have passed since Julie Doucet last produced a comic strip! Some of the artists who voted this year were not yet born when she published the last volume of her Dirty Plotte series in 1999. Similarly, Calvin and Hobbes author Bill Watterson won the Festival’s Grand Prix in 2014, 19 years after writing his last comic. This goes to show that the comics world has memory, and above all, that Julie Doucet’s work – which has greatly influenced comic artists from the world over – never ceases to renew itself!

L’Association’s publication, in 2021, of the profuse anthology Maxiplotte (part of the Festival’s Heritage Selection this year) revealed Julie Doucet’s subversive and radical work to those who had not yet heard about her.

The Canadian author was a pioneer of the autobiographical comics genre; between 1987 and 1999, she published fanzines and comics (notably the 12 issues of the mythical Dirty Plotte) to recount her daily life, as well as her dreams and nightmares. With her extraordinary linework, grungy yet superbly elegant in her oh-so personal and brashly free style, she has produced a radically feminist body of work that tackles themes seldom addressed, especially in such a direct manner: the body, menstruation, sexual fantasies, gender issues, and more.

The Festival is honoured to welcome such a great author this year. And although she hasn’t published new work for a while now, rumour has it she isn’t quite done with the comics realm yet!”

Absolutely – and the press release’s final words are quite true, as Douchet returns in April 2022 (yes, next month!) with Time Zone J, her first new comics since she withdrew from comics in the 1990s.


Julie Doucet © Kate Mada

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