Dr Mary Talbot is the writer of two graphic novels so far. Most recently Sally Heathcote: Suffragette, and illustrated by Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth; and Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes, illustrated by Bryan Talbot (See the image above). It was the first graphic novel to win the Costa Biography Prize in 2012, a notable achievement.
Where are you now and what can you see?
I’m still in a daze on returning from a Christmas holiday in Australia. What I can see is chilly and wintry. Brrr.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently finishing The Courier’s New Bicycle, by Kim Westwood. It’s gender-bending sf, set in a post-pandemic near-future Melbourne. I started rereading it on the plane home. Highly recommended, but it may be hard to get hold of in the UK.
Choose a favourite author and say why you admire him?
It’s hard to choose a single author but a favourite graphic novel last year (outside the House of Talbot!) was Fumio Obata’s Just So Happens. Beautiful artwork and a gentle, well-paced and credible story about a young woman living across two cultures. I’m also currently in awe of Salman Rushdie, having just read Shame. It’s both semi-autobiographical and a history of Pakistan that’s protectively cloaked in myth and dripping with irony. Fatwa-proofing, I suppose. Can’t say I blame him.
Describe the room where you usually create comics
Exactly as you’d imagine: computer desk, bookshelves, heaps of reference material on the floor…
Which fictional character most resembles you?
The resemblance to Pollyanna is uncanny.
Who is your hero-heroine from outside graphic novels and comics?
Tony Benn a socialist politician you could believe in. R.I.P.
Mary Talbot’s graphic novel, Dotter Of her Father’s Eyes (which she created with Bryan Talbot) is published by Jonathan Cape.
The interview was conducted in January 2015.
Sally Heathcote: Suffragette is the story of the campaign for votes for women.
A tale of loyalty, love and courage, set against in a vividly realised Edwardian Britain, it follows the misfortunes of a maid-of-all-work swept up in the feminist militancy of the era.
A tale of women’s suffrage that begins in 1898, when its Sally Heathcote joins the Pankhurst household as a seamstress. Sally gravitates towards the radical wing of the suffragette movement, encountering rallies, domestic violence, force-feeding and romance.
Dr Mary Talbot is a British Graphic Novelist and artist.
Mary lives in Sunderland with her husband Bryan, in large house filled with books and houseplants. When she is not creating comics she is probably to be found planting something in the garden. She particularly likes growing garlic, French beans and chillies.
Her other comics and graphic novels include Sally Heathcote, Suffragette (with Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth), a chapter in IDP: 2043 (with Kate Charlesworth) and a contribution to Cross: A Political Satire Anthology (with Alwyn Talbot).
She is also the author of numerous academic books and shorter works, including most recently a 2nd edition of Language and Gender (Polity Press) and a chapter on gender and popular culture for the Handbook of Language, Gender and Sexuality (Wiley Blackwell).
Her next project will be with Bryan Talbot and Kate Charlesworth creating a short comic-strip on the suffragette Constance Lytton. It’s for an Amnesty International publication to appear in early 2016.