Pennsylvania Center for the Book


Sponsored by Penn State University Libraries and administered by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, 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. or Canadian 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 was presented to 2014 winner, Jim Woodring, for his book "Fran." We are accepting 2014 copyright submissions from publishers beginning immediately through December 31st for the 2015 award.

2014 Winner:

2014 Honorees:

Past Winners: 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize Criteria

Selection Jury

History of the Award

2014 Press Release (html)

2014 Press Release (pdf)

fran coverJim Woodring for Fran
(Fantagraphics Books)

Judges' Comments:

Woodring's pen-and-ink technique is staggeringly lush and absorbing, yet he is equally proficient at ordering his panels into sequential art, thus driving his wordless story. These formal elements are critical to the book's episodes of hilariously violent slapstick, distortions of time and space and depictions of a bizarre world vibrating with psychedelic energy. Characters seem like embodied archetypes or allegories of psychological states, expressing themselves through their interactions with the fluid and unpredictable world they inhabit. Hypnotic and subliminal while entertaining and compelling, ‘Fran’s’ dream world is at once familiar and unsettling, a conduit to mental states that, in many ways, only the graphic novel can achieve. Woodring’s work poses a refreshing change from the trend towards wordy graphic memoir, entreating the reader to reckon with a world whose language we cannot capture in our own.

Additionally, judges gave honor awards to:

boxers coverGene Luen Yang for Boxers & Saints
(First Second Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press)

Judges' Comments:

In its exploration of the Boxer Rebellion, ‘Boxers & Saints’ works against the serial format so ingrained in the comics tradition. Yang uses each text to refract the other, showing the contradictions and failures of both sides as well as their resonances.

heck cover
Zander Cannon for Heck
(Top Shelf Productions)

Judges' Comments:

It is a thoroughly engaging story despite its seemingly simple presentation. It draws its intellectual inheritance from Dante’s ‘Inferno’ to explore memory, amnesia and morality with grace and wit. Cannon’s style is characterized by deft and confident thick line work combined with dark shadows, creating a stark black and white affair that hides nothing.

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