UK Comics Laureate

The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2023 is delighted to announce comic writer, artist, tutor and editor Bobby Joseph as the new Comics Laureate.

Announcement of Bobby Joseph as Comics Laureate 2023-2025 during LICAF 2023 - Photograph: John Freeman

Stephen L. Holland - the UK's Comics Laureate 2021-2023

Hannah Berry - the UK's Comics Laureate 2019-2021

Charlie Adlard - the UK's Comics Laureate 2017-2019


Bobby follows in the footsteps of comic creators Dave Gibbons, Charlie Adlard and Hannah Berry, and illustrator and bookseller Stephen L. Holland in the unpaid role promoting the comics form, also known as 'The Ninth Art'.

The Comics Laureate is an ambassadorial and educational role for the comics medium and aims to raise awareness of the impact comics can have in terms of increasing literacy and creativity.

Working closely with the Lakes International Comics Art Festival, the Comics Laureate champions the role of comics in improving literacy through a programme of educational visits, workshop events, guest appearances and conferences. A key focus will be working to increase the acceptance of comics as a creative art form in schools, libraries and throughout the education system.

• For information on the Comics Laureate’s upcoming appearances please contact Carole Tait

UK's Comics Laureate 2023 - 2024: Bobby Joseph

Bobby Joseph was announced as the Comic Laureate 2023-25 during the Lakes International Comic Art Festival on 30 September 2023, in Bowness-on-Windermere. Bobby is an acclaimed comic writer, artist, tutor & editor whose work has often challenged and inspired its readers. His early work includes the creation of Skank magazine, where his best-known strip, 'Scotland Yardie', first featured, and was later published by Knockabout Press.

Bobby has written for The Guardian newspaper, Dazed and Confused and His comic work was a prominent feature at the Anarchy in the UK comic exhibition at the British Library in 2015 and was seen by over 60,000 visitors. He is also a vocal advocate for diversity and BAME representation in comic books and is credited on the BBC website as instrumental in featuring some of the “first comics by black creators featuring black characters.”

Scotland Yardie, published by Knockabout Comics in 2017, was the first BAME graphic novel to be studied as a module on an English Literature MA course at King’s College, London.

“This award is a huge achievement. I am very honoured to get it. That said, one of the key things I want to do is change things with regards to diversity, representation and the unheard voices of comics. This is my main focus. There is no point being in this role unless I am able to help others,”

- Bobby Joseph

>> Read: Bobby Joseph becomes first person of colour appointed UK comics laureate - Guardian article

>> Read: Bobby Joseph announced as new Comics Laureate at Lakes International Comic Art Festival on

>> Bobby Joseph's Laureate Library List - graphic novels for libraries - on our Comics Can Change the World Site

PAST COMICS LAUREATE: Stephen L. Holland (2020 - 2023)

We reported the appointment of Stephen L. Holland – owner of the independent comics shop Page 45, and a fervent comics advocate, freelance artist, tutor and more, as Comics Laureate for 2021 – 2023, during LICAF LIVE – the free virtual replacement for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October 2020.

When young, Stephen, who takes over the Laureate role from graphic novelist Hannah Berry, was a very reluctant reader - to which his mum successfully applied the then-inspired solution of comics. The proof of the pudding: he now has a degree in English Literature and History of Art, which is certainly pretty handy when preaching and teaching comics.

"My fervent hope is that this will galvanise more people to begin investigating, reading and relishing graphic novels, and inspire yet more individuals – from the broadest possible backgrounds and with an even wider range of perspectives – to start creating them. We can never have enough new voices in comics! Never!"

- Stephen L. Holland, UK Comics Laureate 2021-2023

>> Read: Stephen L. Holland announced as new Comics Laureate at LICAF Live

>> Read: Stephen L. Holland outlines his plans for his time as Comics Laureate

Comics Laureate Spotlight

>> Discover a Recommended Reading List in our new section dedicated to our Comics Laureate!

PAST COMICS LAUREATE: Hannah Berry (2019 - 2021)

Hannah Berry was announced as the new Comics Laureate 2019-2021 at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, in Kendal, on 13th October 2018. 

Hannah is an award-winning author and creator of the critically-acclaimed graphic novels Adamtine and Livestock. Her first graphic novel Britten & Brülightly, begun while studying illustration at the University of Brighton, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2008. It has subsequently been published in the USA, Italy, Holland, France and Serbia, with the French edition chosen for the official selection of the 2010 Angoulême International Comics Festival. Further credits include work for New Statesman and a monthly cartoon strip for Prospect magazine.

"Comics are the perfect gateway drug to literacy - warm and inviting yet often surprising and challenging: the artful union of universal pictorial language and the written word. I gained my love of language as a child through reading comics, and I look forward to inviting new audiences to discover comics for themselves.”

- Hannah Berry, UK Comics Laureate 2019-2021

>> Read: "Life as a Comics Laureate" by Hannah Berry

>> Read: An “Exit Interview” with Comics Laureate Hannah Berry

PAST COMICS LAUREATE: Charlie Adlard (2017 – 2019)

Charlie Adlard is the artist behind the highly successful The Walking Dead comic series, now a popular TV series and video game. He’s also worked on many other comic projects including 2000AD, Mars Attacks, the X-Files, Judge Dredd and X-Men.

Charlie Adlard picked up the baton from Dave Gibbons, the first Comics Laureate appointed in February 2015.

"The power of comics to encourage learning and develop literacy shouldn’t be underestimated. Comics can connect with people who may never pick up a normal book and really help encourage a love of reading. I see this as a great opportunity to bring the wonder of comics to a wider audience."

- Charlie Adlard, UK Comics Laureate 2017-2019

Guest appearances for Charlie Adlard included an event targeted at school librarians, literacy co-ordinators and those involved in literacy in schools in Birmingham; an event at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, and a guest appearance at the Amiens Comic Festival.

>> Read: "Life as a Comics Laureate" by Charlie Adlard

PAST COMICS LAUREATE: Dave Gibbons (2015 – 2017)

Comic artist Dave Gibbons is best known for his artwork on Watchmen as well as numerous creative projects for Marvel, DC Comics and 2000AD. He was the first Comics Laureate, appointed in 2014, the project initially launched with the support of the by the charity Comics Literary Awareness (CLAw).

>> Read: "Life as a Comics Laureate" by Dave Gibbons

>> Read an interview with Dave Gibbons about taking up the role of Comics Laureate in The Guardian from 20th October 2014

For information on the Comics Laureate’s upcoming appearances please contact Carole Tait


The Comics Laureate is kindly supported by Lancaster University, Peters (the UK’s leading supplier of books and furniture for nurseries, schools, academies and public libraries) and Crescent Purchasing Consortium.

With additional support from Bryan Talbot.

You can download below an article by Benoît Peeters, the UK’s Professor of Graphic Fiction and Comic Art at Lancaster University (in association with LICAF).