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Dooley, the 21st winner of the Wodehouse prize, said he was “surprised, overwhelmed and elated” to take this year’s award. His winnings include a jeroboam of Bollinger and a set of Wodehouse books.
Dooley commented: " Flake was published on 2nd April, amidst a huge, bewildering global crisis. It’s been a very strange experience. Winning the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize means it’s just got stranger in the best possible way. I’m surprised, overwhelmed and elated to have won." Starlit Lovers – Lor Phoenix and KitsuneArt’s Touching “Sapphic Slice-of-Life Romance” Debuts at Thought Bubble October 30, 2023 Thematically, it gels together well too: Howard and Tony’s rivalry is fueled in no small part by the fact Tony only exists because Howard’s father was bored by his life. The book seems to be telling us, when you live in a town where there’s barely anything to do, it can feel like you have nothing to lose, and be easy to overlook who you have in your life. The shadow of Howard’s dad, and everything wrong he represented with working class fathers of that era, looms large in the protagonist’s life.
The idea of ice-cream turf wars being led by some sort of Mr Whippy Don is absolutely absurd and yet I was enraptured! Howard meandering his way through life, happy to do his crosswords, run his van on his patch and go home to his wife every day built up this really gentle, relatable character who you couldn't help but root for as his little van struggled to compete as the turf wars heated up. The supporting characters were just lovely, so humourous but with a real bond across them, and I thought this book brought Lancashire to life in such a wonderfully vivid way. When a book opens with a man standing on top of an ice cream van slowly being submerged into the sea, the man seemingly accepting his fate, you're probably not expecting a book that is so absolutely brimming with the warmth and humour that this book absolutely was.
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DOOLEY: Alongside the Cape competition, anthologies were the other thing to get me going. I need a deadline otherwise I won’t do anything, so having a date by which to submit something is a useful motivator. I’d been scratching around doing bits and pieces, not really getting anywhere, wondering if there was much point to bothering with comics. I then saw that Dirty Rotten Comics were taking submissions for a new book and took a punt sending them a silly comic about someone with a balloon for a head. They took it and that was the first of a number of comics they published in subsequent DRCs. Matthew Dooley will be awarded a jeroboam of Bollinger Special Cuvée, a case of Bollinger La Grande Année, and a complete set of the Everyman’s Library P G Wodehouse collection. The award is normally presented at the Hay Festival, which was cancelled this year owing to the coronavirus pandemic. Condition: New. Über den AutorrnrnMatthew Dooley won the Cape/Comica/Observer graphic short story prize in 2016. He works in the House of Commons.KlappentextrnrnA graphic novel of skirmish in the ice cream wars, reminiscent of Al.
For longer-term fans of his work there are a couple of in-jokes that will delight with their implication that Flake takes place in a wider shared “Dooleyverse”. Ultimately though, Flake is proof positive that Matthew Dooley’s comics are the perfect blend of absurdism and humanity. A triumphant debut for one of UK comics’ most underappreciated rising stars.
This is not to say the narrative is without sadness: it’s there both in the physical fabric of the rundown town (graffiti, stained walls, broken signs), and the touches of personal unhappiness: Howard’s memories of his father’s brutishness, and a melancholy visit to his mother in her retirement home. But the emotion remains very understated, very British. And just as the greys of the unlovely town are leavened and uplifted by the dreamy pastels of the ice cream vans, so too is the emotion leavened with humour. The trip to the retirement home, for example, is also gently hilarious – as Howard hands out his lollies to the old folks, one elderly lady asks querulously, ‘Do you have one that’s a little warmer?’ Off Life #11 – The Emerging Talents of Darren Cullen, Brigid Deacon, Alex Potts, Grace Wilson and More Get a Welcome Anthology Spotlight Matthew Dooley won the Observer Graphic Short Story Prize and his debut FLAKE, published by Cape in 2020, went on to win the Wodehouse Bollinger Prize, the first time for a graphic novel. It was also a Guardian Book of the Year.