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Graphic Lit

from the February 2014 issue

Weapons of Mass Diplomacy

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Quai d’Orsay © Abel Lanzac and Christophe Blain. English translation © 2014 by Edward Gauvin. Forthcoming from Self-Made Hero Press in April 2014. By arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.

Abel Lanzac

Abel Lanzac is the pseudonym of Antonin Baudry, a French diplomat who is currently the Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy and Permanent Representative of the French Universities in the United States. Previously he was an Advisor for International Economic and Cultural Affairs for former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.
Baudry's career has been a hybrid of diplomatic and cultural enterprises. As Abel Lanzac, Baudry received the prize for best album at the Angoulême International Comics Festival with designer Christophe Blain in February 2013 for their graphic novel Quai d’Orsay. The film adaptation of Quai d’Orsay premiered in November 2013 and won the special jury prize for best screenplay at the Saint-Sébastien Film Festival in September 2013. The film was also chosen as a special presentation at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  It is nominated for a 2014 César award for best adaptation.

Christophe Blain

Christophe Blain is one of two artists ever to take the Prix du meilleur album twice at Angoulême: in 2002, for the first volume of Isaac the Pirate (NBM, 2003) and 2013, for the second volume of Weapons of Mass Diplomacy (forthcoming in May from SelfMadeHero). The child of teachers, he studied economics and then did his military service in the navy, which provided him with material for his prizewinning first book, Carnets d'un matelot [A Sailor’s Sketchbook, Albin Michel, 1994]. He has collaborated with David B. on the western series Hiram Lowatt & Placido (Dargaud, 1997–2000) and Joann Sfar on the philosophical comedy Socrate le demi-chien [Socrates the Demi-Dog, Dargaud, 2002-2009]. In addition to the second volume of Isaac the Pirate in 2005, NBM has also published the second Speed Abater (2003), and First Second has published the first volume of his western series Gus (2008). In 2013, Chronicle Books debuted Blain’s nonfiction: In the Kitchen with Alain Passard, culled from three years of trailing the master chef through kitchen and garden. Blain’s rough, dynamic style has been widely praised and imitated. As an illustrator, he has worked on magazines, movie posters, and covers for books and albums.

Translated from French by Edward Gauvin

A 2021 Guggenheim fellow, Edward Gauvin has translated in various fields from film to fiction, with a personal focus on contemporary comics (BD) and post-Surrealist literatures of the fantastic. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, and World Literature Today, and twice placed in the British Comparative Literature Association’s John Dryden Translation Competition. It has also been shortlisted for several major awards—the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize, the Albertine Prize, the Best Translated Book Award, the National Translation Award—and twice nominated for French-American Foundation Translation Prize. He has received fellowships from the NEA, PEN America, the Fulbright program, and the Centre National du Livre, as well as residencies from Ledig House, the Lannan Foundation, the Banff Centre, and the Belgian government. A multiple grantee of the French Voices program from the French Embassy, he is a frequent contributor to their cultural initiatives. As a translation advocate, he has written widely, spoken at universities and festivals, and taught at the Bread Loaf Translation Conference, where he will be returning (virtually) this summer. The translator of over 400 graphic novels, he is a contributing editor for comics at Words Without Borders.


Photo credit: Quitterie de Fomervault-Bernard © 2016.

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