A graphic novel, penned by an author who launched his career in Preston, has become the first of its kind to win a prestigious book award.
Artist Bryan Talbot clinched the literary honour of Costa Biography Award, alongside his wife Mary, at The Costa Book Awards for their collaboration on Dotter of her Father’s Eyes - the first graphic work to win the prize.
The pair will now compete alongside four other authors for the 2012 Costa Book of the Year which will be announced at a ceremony at the end of the month.
Illustrated by Bryan, who writes his own graphic novels, including Alice in Sunderland, and written by Mary, the award-winning book contrasts her childhood with that of Irish writer James Joyce’s daughter Lucia - Mary’s father, James S Atherton, was one of the world’s leading Joyceian academics.
Bryan, who now lives with Mary in Sunderland, has illustrated scripts by some of the best-known names in comics, but working with Mary was a far closer partnership than any other.
He said: “I think it’s amazing that we won the category, though I don’t think we stand a cat in hell’s chance of winning overall.
“It’s also great for the graphic novel and comics as a whole, for them to be accepted as a legitimate art form.”
Mary said: “I think the fact we wrote it together must be a key factor.
“We know each other so well as we’ve been together more than 40 years.
“With one of the images, it was something that I had dreamed the night before. I was able to wake up and tell Bryan about that. It’s unusual for a writer and illustrator to work together as closely as that.”
It was in the 1970s that Bryan, who was living on Blackpool Road, Ashton, created The Adventures of Luther Arkwright.
And though Bryan and Mary moved to Sunderland in 1998 hey still enjoy visiting Preston as their son Robyn and his family live locally.