Sousanis to receive Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year Oct. 6

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The 2016 winner of the Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year, Nick Sousanis, will receive the award at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, on Penn State’s University Park campus.

A comics artist, educator and assistant professor in the departments of Humanities and Liberal Studies at San Francisco State University, Sousanis earned his doctorate in education, becoming the first person at Columbia University to produce his dissertation in comic book form. Sousanis will speak following the award ceremony and autograph copies of his winning graphic narrative, “Unflattening,” which will be available for sale.

The Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year is sponsored by the Penn State University Libraries and administered by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. It 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. The award’s selection jury includes representatives from various Penn State academic departments who use the graphic novel in their teaching or research as well as representatives with graphic novel expertise from among Penn State’s alumni and students.

Established in 2011, the Lynd Ward Prize honors Ward’s formative 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 the Penn State University Libraries by his daughters Robin Ward Savage and Nanda Weedon Ward.

Co-sponsors with the Pennsylvania Center for the Book for the Lynd Ward Prize include Barbara I. Dewey, dean of the Penn State University Libraries and Scholarly Communications; Penn State University Libraries; The Eberly Family Special Collections Library; Library Learning Services; the English Department in the College of the Liberal Arts; and the College of the Liberal Arts.

Sousanis’ dissertation, “Unflattening,” published by Harvard University Press, argues for the importance of visual thinking in teaching and learning. The book also won the 2016 American Publishers Award for Excellence in Humanities, recognizing the very best in professional and scholarly publishing, and was the top selection in the Media & Cultural Studies category. “Unflattening” also was one of five nominees for a 2016 Eisner Award for Best Scholarly/Academic work.

Ward, creator of the first American wordless novel, “God’s Man,” produced it and five additional ground-breaking wordless novels between 1929 and 1937 — “Madman’s Drum,” “Wild Pilgrimage,” “Prelude to a Million Years,” “Songs without Words” and “Vertigo.” They have been re-issued by the Library of America in a two-volume boxed set titled “Lynd Ward: Six Novels in Woodcuts,” the first time the nonprofit publisher has included a graphic novelist in its award-winning series. Sousanis will receive a $2,500 prize and the boxed set of Ward’s novels at the Oct. 6 ceremony.

For more information about the Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year or questions about accommodations at the Oct. 6 ceremony, contact Caroline Wermuth at 814-863-5472,, or visit the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize website.

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Last Updated December 06, 2016