I hadn’t heard of the Benelux Beeldverhalen Prijs, but apparantly it’s a competition sponsored by Dutch newspaper NRC Next, the Dutch Fund voor Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds voor Beeldende Kunsten, Vormgeving en Bouwkunst (FBKVB)) who also sponsor the Marten Toonder Award and comics publisher De Vliegende Hollander (at least, they did so last year; couldn’t see if they were involved this year). The five best entries are published in NRC Next this week, with the top three also winning cash prizes of 1,000, 500 and 250 euros respectively. This year there were some 84 entries, down from the 112 last year. The top fifty entries will be exhibited in Art Gallery 37PK in Haarlem.
I found out about this award through a small newsitem on the FBKVB website, which sadly does not list the winners. It’s strange how little I could find online about this year’s award, when the winners are already being serialised, even at NRC Next‘s own site. A missed opportunity.
Compare this with the Jan Hanloprijs, a biannual literary award founded in 1999 in memory of poet and prolific letter writer Jan Hanlo on the thirtieth anniversary of his death, to honour essay writers. This year the Hanloprijs added a media essay category to its two existing ones (for best original essay and best essay collection) “to promote the idea that the qualities of a good essay are not limited to prose” and chose comics as the inaugural medium, thanks to the support of the FBKVB.
According to Michael Minneboo ( Dutch) fortytwo cartoonists entered a comic essay for the award on the theme of “senses”, based around a Jan Hanloo quote stressing the importance of senses other than sight. An anthology of the ten entries the jury liked the best was published in a print run of 500 copies. Which sadly is not available commercially, a shame, as the list of participating creators is quite strong: Bas Köhler, Gerrie Hondius, Albo Helm, Jeroen de Leijer, Sam Peeters, Wouter Gresnigt & Kasper Peters, Milan Hulsing and Margreet de Heer, with the winner being Jeroen Funke (one part of the Lamelos collective), who got 1500 euros for his troubles. He won with his strip “Spruitjes, Bier, Leverworst”.
While both the Benelux Beeldverhalenprijs and the Jan Hanloprijs handed out awards this week, only the latter had the nous to actually announce who the winners were. Or at least to do so in a way that I could easily find out who they were….