Lynd Ward Prize winner Sarah Glidden to speak Sept. 28

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sarah Glidden, 2017 winner of the Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year, will receive the award Sept. 28 for “Rolling Blackouts: Dispatches from Turkey, Syria and Iraq” and also discuss how she began making comics and the creation of “Rolling Blackouts.”

The award ceremony and author talk, which is open to the public, will begin at 4 p.m. Thursday in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, on Penn State’s University Park campus. The event also will be streamed online for viewing via Mediasite Live

Regarding the selection of Glidden’s work, jury members noted, “Part memoir, part travel log, ‘Rolling Blackouts’ is the true story of Sarah Glidden, a cartoonist, accompanying two journalists and a former Marine to Turkey, Syria and Iraq to research the effects of the Iraq War on the Middle East. Yet it is also more than Glidden’s story — ‘Rolling Blackouts’ is ultimately the story of the political officials, civilians and refugees there.

“Her book brings her readers to the front lines of war in the Middle East and leads them through the thicket of obstacles journalists encounter to get their story with storytelling that is intimate, engaging and frequently humorous,” the jury added. “The images welcome the reader into the complex, many-layered world of the Middle East, and Glidden is a terrific guide.”

The jury also recognized two 2017 honor books: “Cousin Joseph” by Jules Feiffer, published by Liveright Publishing, and “Hot Dog Taste Test” by Lisa Hanawalt, published by Drawn & Quarterly.

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 at 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. Recently, the University Libraries digitized the collection, titled Lynd Ward Wood Engravings and Other Graphic Art, circa 1920-1975, and made it available online.

During the award ceremony, Glidden will receive $2,500 and a two-volume set of Ward’s six novels published by the Library of America.

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.

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. 

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book encourages Pennsylvania’s citizens and residents to study, honor, celebrate and promote books, reading, libraries and literacy. In addition to the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, it also administers the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, whose 2017 winner was announced Feb. 14 and will be honored on Oct. 12; the Public Poetry Project, whose 2017 featured poets offered a reading in April; the Letters about Literature annual contest for Pennsylvania students in three grade categories; A Baker’s Dozen: The Best Children’s Books for Family Literacy; and the interactive Literary & Cultural Heritage Map of Pennsylvania.

For more information about the Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year or questions about accommodations at the ceremony, contact Caroline Wermuth at 814-863-5472 or For more information about the selection criteria and how to submit books for consideration for the 2018 Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, contact Ellysa Cahoy at 814-865-9696 or, or visit the Pennsylvania Center for the Book’s website at

Last Updated December 19, 2017