Riad Sattouf wins Angoulême Festival Grand Prix

At 44, the creator of “the Arabic of the future” is the winner of the 50ᵉ edition of the International Comic Strip Festival, which opens on Thursday. He succeeds Quebecoise Julie Doucet.

by Frédéric Potet

Everything smiles at Riad Sattouf. The creator of the Arabic of the future (Allary) was appointed Grand Prix of Angoulême, Wednesday January 25, on the occasion of the opening evening of the International Comic Strip (FIBD), which is the 50 e edition (from January 26 to 29).

A vote organized online with professionals in the sector (designers, screenwriters, colorists, etc.) saw him ahead of Catherine Meurisse and the American Alison Bechdel, who came alongside her at the end of a first round voting. Riad Sattouf succeeds Quebecoise Julie Doucet at the charts of this award, awarded a comic book author for his whole career.

If he appears, at 44, among the youngest winners, the one who is also a director (Les Beaux Gosses, 2009) has built a humorous work overwhelming with acuity, with thirty-five works. Until then, Riad Sattouf was one of the rare authors to have won the Gold Fauve for the best album in Angoulême twice: in 2010 for volume 3 of his Pascal Brutal series (Glacial Fluid) and in 2015 for the first volume From the Arabic of the future, an autobiographical saga to the undeniable critical and public success, translated in more than twenty languages, whose sixth and last chapter has just been released. Riad Sattouf recently added a string to his bow by creating his own publishing house, the books of the future.

“Make comics for people who do not read”

The award of the Grand Prix does not happen by chance. “Having had, from the adolescence, a giant ego, I admit that I dreamed of publishing books with my name on it, having dreamed of having success, having dreamed that journalists from the world ask me questions about my work … But with regard to the Angoulême Grand Prix, really, I never thought about it. Passing after Druillet, Mœbius, Bilal was too abstract and inconceivable, “he confided by electronic messaging before joining the banks of the Charente .

His consecration signs the coronation of a work, one of the main characteristics of which is to address as many people as possible, in particular to a readership far from the things of the comics at the start. “I started as the author of very trash humor comics, with a limited audience of aficionados, he recalls. I then tried to make comics for people who do not read, By taking as the first dream reader my Breton grandmother, who did not like comics too much. “

 The first box of 6ᵉ and last volume of The first box of the 6ᵉ and last volume of “the Arabic of the future”, by Riad Sattouf (Allary, 2022). Riad Sattouf/Allary

In 2016, Riad Sattouf appeared on a list of around thirty authors, exclusively male, preselected for the Grand Prix by the artistic direction of the FIBD – a lively controversy had resulted. He then asked that his name be withdrawn from this list to be replaced by those of adored authors, like the Japanese Rumiko Takahashi or the Quebecer Julie Doucet. Both have since been elected to the list of Angoulême, after a reform of the Grand Prix designation system.

Currently occupied by the finalization of the penultimate volume of the Cahiers d’Esther (Allary) -his other successful series -, Riad Sattouf will not reveal anything about the “many projects” on which he works. “As Alain Resnais said with the title of one of his last films, which I love:” You have not seen anything yet! “”

/Media reports cited above.