Jessica Kingsley Publishers will release a graphic novel about sexual harrassment under its Singing Dragon imprint tomorrow (21st November).
Take it as a Compliment (£14.99) has been written and illustrated by graphic designer Maria Stoian, who began collecting and illustrating stories about harrassment for her Masters degree at Edinburgh College of Art. She approached Jessica Kingsley after the publisher put out a call for submissions for the launch of Singing Dragon, which will focus on comics and graphic novels.
The book collates 20 voices of men and women of all ages. Some of the contributions were collected through face-to-face interviews but Stoian also accepted stories by email and anonymously via Tumblr.
Jane Evans, part of the editorial team working on the book, said: “Maria found that given an invitation to talk about personal experience of sexual violence, people appreciated an opportunity to vocalise their experiences.”
As well as sharing people’s stories, Stoian and Singing Dragon see the book as a call to action. Evans explained: “It was important to us that the book included a section on how each individual can do something to help. The end of the book really is a call to action: to know the signs of uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations and how to intervene, as well as how to listen and support those who have been affected by sexual violence.”
Of the graphic novel format, Evans said: “It can express complex emotions in just a few pages. [Stoian’s] artwork makes each experience feel far more real than words alone could. The stories stick with you.”