in its new edition
The most widely reported Festival events will doubtless be, as always, the two festival prize announcements. On Thursday, January 22, in an evening ceremony at the Théâtre d'Angoulême, Thévenet and Jules-Édouard Moustic will award prizes to books in nominated categories; this year's Grand Prix winner will be proclaimed on Saturday, January 24. Continuing the theme, this year's festival awards have undergone several changes and have, themselves, been the subject of a public rift.
Since 1989, the Festival prizes have been called the "Alph-Art" awards, named after Hergé's last Tintin story, "Tintin et l'Alph-Art." The famously unfinished album was recently re-published in a new edition by Casterman. In November, Thévenet announced that the Angoulême Festival awards would henceforth simply be known as the "Prix d'Angoulême" awards, asserting that the new name would be more understandable to the general public. Thévenet also announced the removal of the "Best Dialogue" award, the addition of a "Best Series" award and the creation of the "Prix du Patrimoine de la Bande Dessinée" (roughly speaking, a "best historical reprint" award), intended to promote the republication of important historical works.
Thévenet further announced that only official festival prizes — and prizes from official festival partners — would be given at the event, declaring an end to "interference" from other prizes not directly affiliated from the Festival. This was a break from previous years, when other established national comics prizes were announced along with the Alph-Arts. Prominent among the now-excluded awards was the "Prix de la Critique," annually given by the Association des Critiques et Journalistes de Bandes Dessinées (ACBD), France's professional association of comics critics. (Previous winners of the ACBD prize include French editions of "Stuck Rubber Baby," "Understanding Comics," and "Jimmy Corrigan.") The ACBD publicly criticized the Festival's decision and resolved to independently name nominees and an eventual prize winner, but was admittedly uncertain at the time when and under what circumstances the prize would actually be given to the winning cartoonist (the ACBD has since named "La Grippe Coloniale" Vol. 1 by Appollo and Huo-Chao-Si as this year's honored book). Also excluded from the festival: the "Prix France Info" award, given annually to a graphic novel by a panel of nine journalists. The Festival maintains its association with the "Prix Public du Meilleur Album," given by a 12-person panel composed of nine selected readers of three French magazines (two of which are listed as "media partners" on the Festival's website) and three individuals chosen by the Festival. The Festival also retains the "Décoincer la Bulle" prize for young cartoonists, sponsored by Centres E. Leclerc, among other awards.