Thursday, April 04, 2019


In my everyday life silence is the default modus vivendi and it's not unusual for me not to speak with anyone, apart from local shopkeepers, for many days. So the Laydeez do Comics Festival weekend was like going on a talking/listening holiday and all the more fun for that reason.
There were so many stories to tell and hear and look at on the long table where all of the 50 or so graphic entries to the competition were displayed and, because each one's subject matter was autobiographical, it was illuminating to realise how infinitely varied we all are in our self-image, experiences and styles of presenting ourselves to the world via words and images.

One of the bonuses of being shortlisted was to be gifted an hour's review session with a prestigious graphic novelist and my one-to-one was with Rachael Ball whose moving 541-page opus The Inflatable Woman (Bloomsbury) I had bought and admired when it was published in 2015, not knowing then that we'd be sitting together at the Free Word Centre discussing my embryonic Double Entendre. Rachael gave me constructive, practical and imaginative suggestions which will spur and cheer me on the long winding road of completing my gnovel.

On Sunday at the Awards presentation, the shortlisted sat in a row facing the audience and we were each given the mic to say a few words. I didn't expect this and probably talked too much but I have no idea what I said. A lovely surprise was to hear Rosalind Penfold (pseudonym), originator of that prize, speaking with me via Skype from Canada (voice only, no video).

Altogether a memorable, invigorating, encouraging weekend filled with creative, positive, open-hearted people doing their best to support each other and make life enjoyable. What's not to love? 
Thank you to all the marvellous LDC team, to the people I had long or short conversations with, and to all those I didn't have a chance to talk with but hope to meet again.

 Shortlisters lined up on stage (I'm the short one on the end). Andy Oliver, Editor of Broken Frontier, speaking.
A Twitter post about the Skyped conversation with Roz Pnfold.

All the writing on the Free Word Centre walls and the props around the rooms are a current installation by Travis Alabanza and Denny Kaulbach.

My video was playing on a loop on Saturday but unfortunately without the soundtrack and the room was too brightly lit to see it clearly.

Graphic novel publishers' tables on Sunday.

Rachael Ball in Renoir and/or Manet mode behind the cake bar.

A mini-comics fan.

Nicola Streeten and Lucinda Sieger taking a break on pink satin bed, part of the installation.

More writing on the walls, more props.


Catalyst said...

BRAVO to you, Natalie, and to all the other ladies in the competition.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Thank you very much, Bruce.

Tom said...

Glad you had such a wonderful weekend. [You may be short - I'd never really noticed - but you will never be small.]

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Aw Tom.....! That's a compliment I will cherish. Thank you.