Graphic novelist Chris Ware to speak in Libraries

November 04, 2013

Chris Ware, winner of multiple Eisner Awards, the National Cartoonists Society Award, among others and considered by his peers to be one of the top graphic novelists of the day, will speak from 4 to 5 p.m. Nov. 19, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library on the University Park campus of Penn State. He will discuss his creation of “Building Stories,” published by Pantheon and the winner of the Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year for 2013.

The evening will include an award ceremony with a cash prize of $2,500, a two-volume set of Ward’s six novels published by The Library of America, and a commemorative plaque to be given to Ware. “Building Stories,” “Acme Novelty Library,” “Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth” and “Lint” will be available for sale and a book signing will follow.

A display, created by Michael Case, of Ware’s “Building Stories” is featured Nov. 13 through Dec. 31, in the case in the Franklin Atrium, adjacent to the Sidewater Commons, Pattee Library, first floor. For hours, call 814-865-3063.

According to the judges for the Ward prize, “Chris Ware's brilliant, understated ‘Building Stories’ peels back the façade of a nondescript, three-story walk-up in a tired Chicago neighborhood, exposing and empathetically deconstructing the quietly desperate lives of a thin parade of tenants who have come to call the building ‘home.’ These lives are constellated across 14 narrative artifacts, to be unpacked and encountered in an undetermined order, from faux newspapers and stapled minicomics to a Little Golden Book and a four-panel accordion-folded building map resembling a board game. The ‘building’ of the title is both noun and verb, locale and process, stories of a building and the building of stories. But more than that, Ware's do-it-yourself storytelling kit collapses the binary between the two: every edifice, every home, every life is an ad hoc assembly process of moments and memories, usually without much in the way of instructions.”

The Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize honors Ward’s 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's University Libraries by his daughters Robin Ward Savage and Nanda Weedon Ward. Between 1929 and 1937, Ward published his six groundbreaking wordless novels —“Gods’ Man,” “Madman’s Drum,” “Wild Pilgrimage,” “Prelude to a Million Years,” “Song without Words” and “Vertigo.” The six books were re-issued in October 2010, by The Library of America in a two-volume boxed set titled “Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts,” the first time this nonprofit publisher included a graphic novelist in its award-winning series.

Sponsors include Penn State’s University Libraries; the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress; the Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair in The Eberly Family Special Collections Library; Library Learning Services; and the English department in the College of the Liberal Arts. The Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize is presented annually to the best graphic novel, fiction or nonfiction, published in the previous calendar year by a living U.S. or Canadian citizen or resident. For more information about the selection criteria and how to submit books for consideration for the 2014 Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, contact Ellysa Cahoy at or 814-865-9696 or visit the Pennsylvania Center for the Book website:

For more information about Ware’s presentation or questions about the physical access provided, contact Caroline Wermuth at or 814-863-5472.


Last Updated January 09, 2015