Oeuvre prize for Judith Vanistendael
Judith Vanistendael is the winner of the two-yearly Bronzen Adhemar, the most important prize for comics in Flanders. It will be officially awarded to her on November 8 by Jan Jambon, the Flemish Minister for Culture. The Bronzen Adhemar is worth 10,000 euro and is awarded in recognition of the winner's entire body of work.
Vanistendael, regarded as one of Flanders’ foremost graphic novelists, has had to wait quite a while to see her recognition translated into awards, despite being nominated for several international prizes, such as the Eisner Awards and the Grand Prix in Angoulême. In 2021 she won the Willy Vandersteenprijs for the best Dutch-language comic album The Whale Library. Now, her contribution to Flemish comics is finally properly acknowledged.
The jury praised Vanistendael as a ‘true ambassador of comics’ and her work as consistently good, with social relevance and an ever-changing style that nevertheless clearly carries her signature. They also recognized her influence on the younger generation of graphic novelists, and her wide and international audience.
More visibility for women in comics
Vanistendael is only the second woman ever to receive the prize - the first being Erika Raven in 1987. Vanistendael was also the first female winner of the Willy Vandersteenprijs – for a book that was made together with a male scriptwriter, Zidrou. With her new album Atan of Kea, part of a collection of comics commissioned by the Louvre Museum, she once again blazed a trail for female comic creators. In an interview with Brussels magazine BRUZZ, she expresses the hope that this means something is finally changing in the male-dominated comics world.
Official Flemish State Prize for Comics
The Bronzen Adhemar (‘brass Adhemar’), the official Flemish State Prize for Comics, is named after a well-known character by Marc Sleen and has been awarded every two years since 1977. It is the official Flemish State Prize for Comics. An exhibition with an overview of the winner’s work will be on display in Turnhout and later at the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels.