Pennsylvania Center for the Book


2011 Winner:

2011 Honoree:

Lynd Ward Prize Criteria | Selection Jury | History of the Award

Winners: 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

Click here for a special repeat internet broadcast with Set to Sea author.

set to sea

  "Set to Sea: The Haphazard Voyage of Graphic Novelist Drew Weing"

Drew Weing, American comic book creator and Honor Book winner of the first Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year, talked about how he created Set to Sea, a wonderful story of a dreamer who never gives up his dream to write on May 23. To see a repeat internet broadcast, click here. Set to Sea was named one of the 10 great graphic novels for teens by the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association. Weing’s presentation and the internet broadcast are part of Teen Reading Lounge (TRL), a new interactive book discussion series created by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council for public libraries to encourage teens, ages 12–18, to read and talk about literature that matters to them. The six pilot libraries for this series are: Ephrata Public Library (Lancaster), Grove City Community Library (Mercer), Haverford Township Free Library (Delaware), Hazleton Area Public Library (Luzerne) , Plum Borough Community Library (Allegheny), Sewickley Public Library (Allegheny)

The Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize honors Ward’s seminal influence in the development of the graphic novel and celebrates the gift of an extensive collection of Ward’s wood engravings, original book illustrations and other graphic art donated to Penn State Libraries by his daughters Robin Ward Savage and Nanda Weedon Ward.

Charles Martin Hall

Sponsors include: The Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC),, a nonprofit organization, inspires individuals to enjoy and share a life of learning. PHC’s statewide speakers bureau and packaged book discussion program for public libraries serve as resources for residents of Pennsylvania. PHC also offers grants which support humanities programs centered in arts, history, literature and other humanities fields. The PHC is supported with LSTA funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, as provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries.

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book (PACFTB) is affiliated with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and is sponsored by Barbara I. Dewey, Dean of University Libraries and Scholarly Communications. Additional Penn State Libraries Sponsors include Library Learning Services and Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize Criteria

Selection Jury

Advisory Committee

History of the Award

Winners: 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014

2011 Press Release (html)

2011 Press Release (pdf)

Administered by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, and sponsored by Penn State University Libraries, the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize is presented annually to the best graphic novel, fiction or non-fiction, published in the previous calendar year by a living U.S. citizen or resident. A prize of $2,500, the two volume set of Ward's six novels published by the Library of America, and a suitable commemorative will be presented at a ceremony to be held at Penn State later this year.

duncan cover

This year's winner is Adam Hines for Duncan the Wonder Dog (AdHouse Books)

Judges' Comments:

Adam Hines's Duncan the Wonder Dog opens up new possibilities for comics as a creative medium. The content and form of the book are challenging but always rewarding, and the ranging compositional techniques are ambitious and innovative. This book presents an experience of reading unlike any I have ever encountered in comics. Adam Hines is a creator to watch.  S. Smith

Duncan is at once a breath-taking art book, a beautifully rendered comic, and a story of the ethics of human relationships with animals. I was constantly surprised and astounded at each page: the composition, layout, drawings, and writing were so masterfully done. Reading this book makes you feel as though you are part of something important. –J. Rosello

Duncan the Wonder Dog is a visually smart book. The author’s understanding of fine art printmaking – intaglio and lithography, is apparent. Adam uses techniques that seamlessly recall these traditional forms of printmaking. Each of the 400 pages is a remarkable pastiche of techniques that are not self-conscious nor gimmicky. The drawing and printing styles are purposeful in conveying the sober content of this narrative. Duncan is not an easy book. It takes time to absorb the work, but it is time in which to savor the nuances of the book on each page. –J. Sanders

A great deal of planning and effort went into the construction of this complicated masterpiece.  It has an almost mathematical panel progression and geometric layout.  The most engaging aspects of Duncan for me were the individual stories, woven together to build a world that is starkly realistic and personally touching. –J. Meier

The "funny animal" comic with gravitas! Duncan the Wonder Dog is an ambitious (400pages!) first novel by Adam Hines, a young writer/illustrator who through word and image manages to "frac" readers' perceptions to reveal his vision of a universe inhabited and impacted equally by human and animal kind. Hines’ rare ability to communicate a complex story through picture, texture, and word advances the possibilities of the graphic novel medium, and hence earned the award spotlight. –J. Zolten

sea cover

Additionally, judges gave an honor award to:

Drew Weing for Set to Sea (Fantagraphics Books)

Judges comments:

As a kid (and even now in my current "grown up" guise!), I loved those Big Little books, 3 X 4 thick mini-tomes in which each turn of the page revealed a new comic image that advanced the story a frame at a time. Drew Weing's Set to Sea is that kind of book...but with panache, detail, and a tip of the hat to the rich imagery of E.C. Segar's Popeye. In fact, the subtext of Weing's book might be "Bluto finds his inner self." Weing's burly lead character is spiritually transformed by his ocean voyage, forevermore transformed from rowdy to poetic self. In this book, small in size but large in vision, the art of storytelling through pure visual image is at its height.   –J. Zolten

Drew Weing's Set to Sea is a small wonder of visual narrative. The book's superbly executed single-panel pages combine iconic cartooning and realistic detail as they deliver a quietly moving story which unfolds primarily through image. This is a book to reread and enjoy many times over.  –S. Smith

Simple and yet so beautiful, the use of words is perfectly budgeted to not distract from the amazing images.  You can easily read it again and again.
–J. Meier

Set to Sea really encapsulates the power of comics: to combine an aesthetic experience with a lovely story. The panel transitions are especially impressive, and the story moves with the turning of the pages. Every time I read Set to Sea (and it's been a least a dozen times by now), I come away with a new meaning. This book changes and grows with you. The strength and beauty of the story lies with its simplicity and subtlety. –J. Rosello

Set to Sea epitomizes the whole notion of the graphic novel set forth by Lynn Ward. It is a tour de force packed into a small-scale book. The illustrations are nothing less then brilliant. The balance between word and image is spot-on whereas the image takes precedence over the words yet the words are instrumental in conveying the story. I love this book. I have read it over and over again and each time it reveals something new to admire and appreciate. –J Sanders

Penn State Libraries Center for the Book - Library of Congress