At least eight candidates for one of the world’s premier cartoon prizes have withdrawn from the competition in protest at the absence of women on the longlist.
The Festival of Angouleme, France celebrates annually cartoonists from across the globe. In 42 years, only one woman has ever won the festival’s Grand Prix – Florence Cesta in 2005.
Riad Sattouf was the first to publicly turn his back on the competition, setting out his objections in a Facebook post:
Other artists, including Americans Daniel Clowes and Charles Burns alongside Pierre Christin, Etienne Davodeau, Christophe Blain and Milo Manara also announced they no longer wished to be considered.
Franck Bondoux, the director general of the festival, defended the selection by pointing out that very few women have produced sufficient volumes of material over a career to justify inclusion.
“If you visit the Louvre, you won’t see many female artists there either,” he told Le Monde.
However, cartoonists both male and female have taken to Twitter to criticize the decision.
Update: the festival has announced that it will extend its list to include an unspecified number of women.