Prominent Canadian cartoonist and illustrator Seth is the latest recipient of the $10,000 Harbourfront Festival Prize.
Organizers of the annual honour announced the win Wednesday, with the Guelph, Ont.-based artist and storyteller slated to receive the honour on Oct. 29 — the closing night of the International Festival of Authors at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre.
It is the first time a graphic novelist has won the award given to an individual whose work has substantially contributed to the state of literature and books in Canada.
"I was bowled over when I heard I was to be awarded the 2011 Harbourfront Festival Prize," Seth, born Gregory Gallant, said in a statement.
"I recall, back in the early '90s talking to fellow cartoonist Chester Brown about the future of our medium and our hopes of its literary acceptance. We weren't optimistic. Frankly, the idea of winning something like this was not within the realm of possibilities at that time so it goes without saying, that I am deeply honoured."
One of Canada's best-known comic artists, Seth has earned kudos for his series Palooka-ville and graphic novels George Sprott (1894-1975), Wimbledon Green, Clyde Fans and It's a Good LIfe, If You Don't Weaken, as well as his illustrations for magazines such as The New Yorker and Walrus. His work has been celebrated with an exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario and he co-founded the Doug Wright Awards to shine a spotlight on the wider Canadian art and alternative comic community.
Seth joins previous Harbourfront Prize winners such as Guy Vanderhaeghe, Dionne Brand, Wayson Choy, Paul Quarrington and Jane Urquhart.