Award-winning literary couple Mary and Bryan Talbot have joined forces again.
The Red Virgin and the Vision of Utopia is the third collaboration for the husband and wife team, who live in St Bede’s Terrace in Ashbrooke.
Their first – Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes – was the first graphic novel to scoop the Costa biography prize.
The latest book tells the story of Louise Michel, a radical who fought in the defence of the Paris Commune.
Bryan had been sent a copy of academic Alex Butterworth’s book The World That Never Was, a history of the anarchist movement, and recommended it to Mary who was looking for a new subject after completing the script for the couple’s second book Sally Heathcote: Suffragette.
“I said ‘Why don’t you read this book, there’s a woman in there called Louise Michel who was just absolutely incredible?’,” he said.
Mary immediately realised she had found her next subject and set about discovering as much as she could.
“I read it, I loved it and I had to find out more about her,” she said.
“She is well-known in the French-speaking world but not the English.
“I started with her memoir, which was translated into English.
“It was a great subject, something for me to really get my teeth into.
“I was working on the research, then I started to compose it as a script, so I was probably working on it for 18 months or so altogether.”
Then it was over to Bryan: “I got the script – Mary had already storyboarded it and then I fleshed it out,” he said.
Working together is becoming second nature for the couple, as Bryan explained: “It is just like a continuation of our married life, he said.