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French comics festival boycotted for snubbing women creators

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Pierre Duffour/AFP/Getty Images file

The Angouleme International Comics Festival is going back to the drawing board after coming under fire for failing to include any women among the 30 nominees of this year’s Grand Prix award, which recognizes the life time achievement of a cartoonist.

A group known as BD Egalite (or Women in Comics Collective Against Sexism) called for a boycott of the award, and several of the male nominees publicly supported the protest, some withdrawing their names from consideration. Festival spokesperson Franck Bondoux told FranceTV Info Wednesday that a new list of 30 names — including some women — will be compiled in the coming days.

In an open letter posted to the group’s website earlier this week, BD Egalite had noted that in 43 years, only one woman (Florence Cestac) has received the Grand Prix award.

“What is the message sent to women cartoonists and those in the process of becoming such?” the letter asked. “We are discouraged from having ambition, from continuing our efforts. How could we take it otherwise?”

The group added, “It is no longer tolerable that renowned female creators, known by one and all, are absent from the nominations of this Grand Prix. … This list must be truly representative of comics today. Female comics creators are also significant players in this literary field.”

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