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Brussels Comic Strip Festival will host Les Prix Atomium de la Bande Dessinée for the very first time

At its eighth edition, from 1 to 3 September, the Comic Strip Festival will host Les Prix Atomium de la Bande Dessinée for the very first time. The prizes will be the most generous in Europe.

At its eighth edition, from 1 to 3 September, the Comic Strip Festival will host Les Prix Atomium de la Bande Dessinée for the very first time. The prizes will be the most generous in Europe.

The Brussels Comic Strip Festival has changed a lot since it was created in 2010 by Launched in the wake of a themed year devoted to the so-called “ninth art” in the Belgian capital, the Comic Strip Festival welcomes nearly 100,000 visitors and more than 150 comic strip authors every year.

Boasting an international pavilion welcoming 15 delegations, a parade of inflatables representing a host of cartoon heroes, and a rally of classic cars straight off the pages of the greatest comics, the Comic Strip Festival has established itself as a key date on the Brussels calendar. (Watch the 2016 aftermovie here)

Taking place on 1-3 September, the eighth Comic Strip Festival will see a lot of new initiatives appear on the programme of what has become a major cartoon-themed gathering:

The Atomium Bande Dessinée Awards

Comic strip writing has become something of an endangered activity in these last few years, with the industry’s professionals often finding it hard to make a living from it. As the organisers of the Comic Strip Festival, has been working in close collaboration with the Brussels-Capital Region in a bid to show its support for the creative process and bring existing initiatives together by launching a series of awards, most of which will be in cash and will allow the winners to fund their work.

Offering €100,000 in prize money, a total of eight awards have already been confirmed, with several more in line to be added to the list between now and September. Sponsoring the inaugural Atomium Awards is the writer Jean-David Morvan.

The awards:

The Raymond Leblanc Jeune Création Award

Prize: €20,000, in the form of cash and a publishing contract with, on an alternating basis, Editions du Lombard and Editions Futuropolis.
Purpose: a comic strip competition open to young authors who have yet to publish more than two comic books.

The Raymond Leblanc Award was founded ten years ago by the Raymond Leblanc Foundation, which aims to publicise, pool and preserve the cultural legacy created by Raymond Leblanc, the founder of Tintin magazine, the publishing house Éditions du Lombard, the advertising agency Publiart and the cartoon studios Belvision, among other ventures.

Thanks to the support of the French Community Commission (COCOF), the 2017 winner will receive €10,000, to be presented by the Minister of Culture, Fadila Laanan, and will also be offered an additional €10,000 publishing contract with Futuropolis, paid in advance and covering all types of royalties.

The Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles Bande Dessinée Award

Prize: €10,000

Purpose: An initiative of Mrs Alda Gréoli, the Wallonia-Brussels Culture Minister, this prize rewards an author or authors from the Wallonia-Brussels Federation who have developed an original and innovative creation. The prize is awarded based on the proposition of the Commission d’Aide à la Bande Dessinée, a cultural panel composed of professionals from the industry. The winner(s) is (are) selected from the applications that were submitted following the regular calls for bids from the Service Général des Lettres et du Livre (General Service for Literature and Books), part of the Administration Générale de la Culture (General Administration for Culture).

The Spirou Aventure Humoristique Award

Prize: €15,000 in cash and the publication of one story in the magazine Spirou.

Purpose: The Spirou Aventure Humoristique Award is open to the writers of 44-page comedy-caper stories written in the style of the great series that Spirou has been publishing since its creation in 1938.

The Atomium de Bruxelles Award

Prize: €7,500 in cash

Purpose: created this year and presented by Rudi Vervoort, the Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region, the Prix de Bruxelles is a new award open to authors who give a prominent place to Brussels in their work.

The PREM1ÈRE Roman Graphique Award

Prize: €20,000 in advertising space and extensive media coverage.

Purpose: launched this year by RTBF (the public broadcasting organisation of the French Community of Belgium), this award recognises the work of graphic novel writers, a genre that is very popular with the listeners of La PREM1ÈRE’s radio shows. A list of finalists is drawn up by a group of RTBF journalists specialising in comic strips, with a jury made up of listeners, booksellers and RTBF personalities then choosing the winner.

The Cognito BD Historique Award

Prize: €3,000 in cash

Purpose: presented by the Cognito Foundation, this award is made to the best historical comic strip of the year. A private concern, the Cognito Foundation seeks to introduce or reintroduce people to history through comic strips, and gives this award to authors who, through their work, shed light on a part of the past.

The LE SOIR Bande Dessinée de Reportage Award

Prize: €20,000 in advertising space and extensive media coverage.

Purpose: Belgian daily Le Soir has long been one of the leading newspaper when it comes to comic strips. With the creation of this new award, it recognises the work that best reflects the world around us, and which takes the form of a report in the style of a comic strip.

The Atomium BD Citoyenne Award

Prize: €5,000 in cash

Purpose: Céline Frémault, the Minister of the Environment for the Brussels-Capital Region, introduced this award, which is presented to the work that best promotes integration, human values, living together as one, being open towards others and civic values in general.

The awards will feature a tribute to Gaston, who turns 60 this year:

• Gaston will take pride of place on the event poster.
• A Gaston inflatable will be unveiled at the Brussels Inflatable Parade.
• A number of talks on Gaston and his creator André Franquin will be held at the festival.
• Finally, a Gaston-themed exhibition will be opened to the public.

The Comic Strip Festival is moving

The Comic Strip Festival is relocating this year, from the Parc Royal, to Bozar/Le Palais des Beaux-Arts, the city’s Centre for Fine Arts.