Comics: Science writing competition looking for graphic entries
Comics creator Edward Ross drops us a line to alert us to a new popular science writing competition. Regular readers may recall that the other year Edward collaborated with one of my favourite science fiction writers, Ken MacLeod (on a related note Ken’s latest book, the hugely compelling Intrusion, is shortlisted for this year’s prestigious Arthur C Clarke Award) to create Hope Beyond Hype, which used the comics medium to explore the science of stem cell research in an open and accessible way.
(Hope Beyond Hype by Ken MacLeod and Edward Ross)
Now the Euro Stem Cell organisation is promoting public knowledge of science with a writing competition on the subject of stem cell and regenerative medicine research, with three categories open to entrants, who can tackle the subject through “Imaginative Science Writing” (they give the example of successful pop science writers like Oliver Sacks or Bill Bryson who can explain facts but in an imaginative and interesting manner that draws in even those with little or no science background), non-fiction poetry or a Graphic Non-Fiction method.
From the entry details on the site for the Graphic category: “Entries in this category can take any non-fiction graphical approach to the topic… You can submit a graphic non-fiction entry of between 4 and 6 pages, set up to print as A5 portrait pages. Entries must be uploaded as 300dpi CMYK jpeg files, zipped together to make one uploadable zip file.” The site gives examples of other comics works which have tackled science subjects in an accessible, very readable manner, including Edward and Ken’s Hope Beyond Hype, Edward and Jamie Hall’s comic on Malaria, a selection of graphic non fiction articles on Brain Pickings and, as many of us would expect, Darryl Cunningham’s work.
(a page from Climate Change from Science Tales by and (c) Darryl Cunningham)
Along with my lifelong interest in science fiction I’ve had a parallel interest in science (tends to go with the geek territory!) and I’ve been delighted at the way several creators have used the comics medium to make what can be complex subjects easily and clearly understandable to the lay person. Given how much we rely on all aspects of science and research for our modern civilisation (not least medical research, surely every single one of us has had occasion to thank our backroom boffins who spent years working out treatments, therapies and procedures we’ve all required over the years? Behind every doctor or nurse helping us there are armies of researchers who pioneered treatment approaches) it’s important that the subject is explained in ways that allow everyone to grasp the essentials. So yes, does my geek heart good to see our beloved medium being used so well to expand understanding.
The competition deadline is June 30th and there is a top prize of 300 Euros in each category; the winning works will be disseminated by the Euro Stem Cell organisation, so it will be seen by a lot of people (and naturally we’ll hope to point you to them when the time comes). Edward and Ken will be among the judges. Check the site for full entry conditions and details and have a go!