Inaugural Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation Finalists decided

The finalists for the inaugural Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation have been decided, with the winner to be announced at this year’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival (29th September – 1st October) in Bowness-on-Windermere.

The three judges – Karen GreenPeter Kessler and Dean Simons – met recently to review the previously announced shortlisted books and picked the three finalists who are, in alphabetical order: All Princesses Die Before Dawn, translated by M.B. Valente, original work by Quentin Zuttion, published by Europe Comics; Always Never, translated by Montana Kane, original work by Jordi Lafebre, published by Dark Horse; and The Philosopher, The Dog and the Wedding, translated by Michele Hutchison, original work by Barbara Stok, published by SelfMadeHero.

“The three finalists display the translator’s skill at its highest,” the judges commented. “There is no sense of awkwardness or artificiality, no barrier between the reader and the story. They welcome the reader into their very different, beguiling and emotionally powerful worlds. From a child experiencing the first inklings of their own sexuality, to a love story told in reverse, to a classical Greek woman contemplating philosophy, these stories – all with very different visual aesthetics – are emotionally and intellectually engrossing.”

The winner of this inaugural award will be for the best translation of a non-English graphic novel into English will be announced at the eleventh LICAF Festival in Bowness-on-Windermere on Saturday 30th September 2023.

The Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation, established by VIP Brands Ltd.,  aim to recognise a much under-appreciated, vital aspect of comics publishing, for the best translation of graphic novels into a variety of languages around the world. The inaugural award will be presented in partnership with Comica and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

For more information about the Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation, visit this page of the LICAF website or

These awards have been created in honour of Sophie Castille, international rights director and V. P. of licensing for Mediatoon, cofounder and director of Europe Comics, who died unexpectedly last year. 90 amazing works were submitted, and the organisers were overwhelmed by the response.

Congratulations to everyone who was nominated and to those who made the shortlist.

• For more information on the books shortlisted, please check out this announcement on the Festival web site

• For more information about the Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation, visit this page of the LICAF website or

FESTIVAL DATES: The Lakes International Comic Art Festival returns to Bowness-on-Windermere 29th September to 1st October 2023 | The Lakes International Comic Art Festival is online at: | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Little LICAF on Facebook | Little LICAF on Instagram | Sign up for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival Newsletter

The Finalists 

All Princesses Die Before Dawn, translated by M.B. Valente, original work by Quentin Zuttion, published by Europe Comics

August 31st, 1997. In the bathroom of his suburban home, eight-year-old Lulu is trying on his mom’s lipstick. He dreams of kissing his best friend, a neighbourhood boy. Meanwhile, his teenage sister Cam covers her much-older boyfriend sneaking up to her bedroom by blasting the latest summer hits. In the kitchen, their mother is waiting for their father, who didn’t come home last night. On TV, newscasters are announcing the death of Princess Diana. Three love stories, from budding desire to fading passion, play out within one family on a late summer’s day – a day that will change all their lives forever.

Always Never, translated by Montana Kane, original work by Jordi Lafebre, published by Dark Horse

After forty years of being madly in love, Ana and Zeno are finally retiring and giving their romance a chance to bloom while they both still have time left. A unique but relatable love story told in reverse, with each chapter stepping further back through the decades of touch and go courting, showing both the heartbreaking moments that kept the two lovers apart and the beautiful moments that kept their flame alive.

This isn’t a tale of missed connections and regret but rather a story celebrating the complexities of family, responsibility, destiny, and how love persists across time with complete disregard for all of that. Ana is a brilliant, headstrong, and compassionate mayor of a small city, with a lovely husband, daughter, and granddaughter. Yet there has been a lingering piece of her life missing – a thread of happiness she hasn’t been able to pull on for most of her life. Zeno, a lifelong bachelor, bookstore owner, intrepid traveler, and theoretical physicist determined to figure out how to turn back time. Handsome, clever, and kind, he is often questioned about his failure to “settle down.”

Over the years, they have woven together an impossible and inexhaustible love. Their paths constantly intertwining, from a chance meeting on a boat to clumsily bumping into each other in the city they share. Eventually keeping in touch by letters and late-night phone calls across the world.

The Philosopher, The Dog and the Wedding, translated by Michele Hutchison, original work by Barbara Stok, published by SelfMadeHero

It is the 4th century B.C.E in Greece. Hipparchia is about to marry the rich son of a family friend when she meets Crates. As the wedding day approaches, Hipparchia becomes increasingly captivated by the views and way of life of this strange philosopher who lives on the streets.

Gradually she starts to realize that the safe, comfortable, and cushioned life of luxury that has been mapped out for her is actually one of emptiness, and spiritual imprisonment. Crates and Hipparchia came to develop a central strand of the so-called “Cynical” movement in Athenian philosophy – so-named for the dog-like tenacity or canine fury of their rejection of all conventional values.

One of their fundamental principles was that we can only attain true happiness if we are independent of material possessions and social position. Hipparchia was a strong woman who had the courage to live by her own ideals, despite all the prevailing prejudices of her time. Her story continues to speak to ours.

• For more information about the Sophie Castille Awards for Comics in Translation, visit this page of the LICAF website or