DYLAN HORROCKS appointed Literary Fellow

Media release

University of Auckland Fellow    |    University of Auckland Fellow    |    February 3, 2006

Award-winning graphic novelist appointed University of Auckland Literary Fellow

Dylan Horrocks, award-winning graphic novelist and comic artist, has been appointed University of Auckland / Creative New Zealand Literary Fellow 2006.

Mr Horrocks is the author of “Hicksville”, an award-winning graphic novel, and many shorter works in comic form that have been published around the world. He has lectured on writing, art and the history of comics, has presented papers at academic conferences around the world, and has written extensively on graphic novels, comics, art and literature for magazines and journals in New Zealand the US.

“In recent decades, the graphic novel has become an increasingly important literary form,” says Mr Horrocks.

“Many writers and artists are now choosing comics as a means to create serious fiction, autobiography, history and even journalism, and the distinction between the graphic novel and the traditional prose novel is becoming increasingly blurred. Comics are now widely studied in universities around the world.”

“This appointment is an exciting opportunity for me to focus on writing and drawing new work, as well as engaging with fellow writers at the University. It’s also very gratifying that the University recognises the growing literary role of the graphic novel.”

Head of the Department of English, Professor Peter Simpson, says that Dylan Horrocks has achieved international standing as a comic artist and graphic novelist.

“The English Department and the Faculty of Arts are delighted to have such an innovative and ground-breaking writer and artist as our Literary Fellow for 2006.”

“Hicksville”, which explores geographical and cultural colonisation in New Zealand, was named one of the best five books of the year by the USA’s leading magazine of comics criticism, The Comics Journal. It won an Eisner Award (USA) in 2002 and was nominated for five further awards in the USA and Europe. As well as being translated into three foreign languages, it has been included in a number of university courses in the US and Europe, including courses on ‘Comics as Literature’ at Yale University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Dylan Horrocks has contributed short stories in comics form to many anthology books and comics around the world. He has been a scriptwriter for commercial comics such as “Batgirl” in the USA, has drawn regular comic strips for New Zealand Listener and Investigate magazine, and has contributed cartoons and illustrations to numerous New Zealand magazines and newspapers, including New Zealand Listener, New Zealand Herald and New Zealand Political Review.

Mr Horrocks has been involved in the New Zealand comics scene since the early 1980s, setting up magazines, organising exhibitions and writing about local cartoonists in books and journals both here and overseas.

His work has appeared in exhibitions in New Zealand, Europe and Canada, and he has taught classes on graphic novels, comics, writing and art at The University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology, Unitec and Massey University.

While at The University of Auckland Mr Horrocks intends to work on two new graphic novels, “Atlas” and “Venus: the Secret Comics of Arthur Holly,” as well as a number of shorter comics that explore the politics of superhero comics and the meaning of America since 9/11. He will also be preparing a collection of his comics stories from the past 20 years for publishers overseas.

Dylan Horrocks will be speaking at the NZ International Arts Festival’s Writers and Readers Week in March.

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