Montreal's Drawn & Quarterly publishes 1st graphic novel to be longlisted for Man Booker Prize
Sales jump for Sabrina, by Chicago-based cartoonist Nick Drnaso, within hours of making long list
The Montreal publishing house Drawn & Quarterly is preparing for a last-minute reprint of its book Sabrina, the first graphic novel ever to be nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Prize.
The long list for the U.K.-based prize, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, was announced at midnight BST.
Sabrina, written and illustrated by Chicago-based cartoonist Nick Drnaso, has already seen a jump in sales — the graphic novel hit number one on the graphic novel list on Amazon Books and was fifth overall by Tuesday afternoon.
Tracy Hurren, the senior editor at Drawn & Quarterly, worked closely with Drnaso on the novel's publication. She said the nomination could mean more recognition of graphic novels in general.
"For them to finally acknowledge graphic novels as literature, as important forms of art … it's a huge deal," Hurren said.
"It changes the opinions of people who are kind of on the fence about the graphic novel."
She said this nomination could catch the attention of other literary awards in North America.
The graphic novel publisher worked for about two years to publish Sabrina. The company also published Drnaso's first book, a collection of short stories called Beverly.
When company staff first read Sabrina, they were all "blown away," Hurren said.
For those who might be skeptical about graphic novels, Hurren said getting their hands on Sabrina is a great way to start appreciating the medium.
"It's literature," she said. "It reads like reading a great novel."
According to Hurren, the book focuses on the 24-hour news cycle and the tense times in the United States.
It follows a man whose girlfriend goes missing and examines how the media takes the heartbreaking story and spins it in a way that pulls people apart, she said.
"I think, for him, it was a very stressful thing to work on," Hurren said.
Making a graphic novel is extremely solitary work, which for Drnaso was spent micro-analyzing the situation in modern-day America, she said.
"That was hard."
With files from CBC's Matt D'Amours and CBC Montreal's Daybreak