Celebrate #28DaysOfBlackGirlsInComics with comic book writer Marguerite Abouet.
It’s day seventeen of #28DaysOfBlackGirlsInComics and it’s exciting to see people thrilled to see this type of content. Let’s get right into it!
Support Black girls in comics: Marguerite Abouet
It never ceases to excite me to see Black girls in comics from across the diaspora! Marguerite Abouet was born on the Ivory Coast, before moving to France, where she lives now with her husband and their son. Through her work, Abouet gives us a fresh take on African characters and storytelling. Aya is both Abouet’s first published work and graphic novel but is the first collaborative project with her husband, illustrator Clément Oubrerie. Aya is also Oubrerie’s first published illustrated work for a graphic novel. Abouet had previously attempted to write novels for young people but gave that up in frustration due to the constraints publishers of those genres put upon her. When writing Aya she also wanted to show a side of Africa that did not center on war and famine, as is much of the case in media portraying it.
Aya is about a nineteen-year-old girl living in Yop City with two easygoing friends, meddling neighbors, and the simple pleasures and private troubles within the city. The title character is a studious girl who navigates this story which features a funny and breezy tone. This story is not pretentious. It is optimistic, tough, and vibrant as Aya seeks joy and freedom in her surroundings.
Praise for Aya
“Based on Abouet’s remembrance of her childhood in Abidjan…the story, along with French illustrator Oubrerie’s artwork, brings to life an Ivory Coast not seen before, a place overflowing with vibrant, rich textiles, new words, music, food, and lively characters filled with humor, love, and the hope for a better life.” – Library Journal
Aya has definitely been considered a success, especially for a first work to be published by a writer. It won the Angoulême International Comics Festival Prize for First Comic Book in 2006. (Side note, you can follow the Wikipedia link to the source website, but it’s in French, hence the Wikipedia link.)
Abouet also published her two follow-up graphic novels to Aya: Aya of Yop City and Aya: The Secrets Come Out. Make sure to purchase all of Abouet’s graphic novels online, try your local bookstores first.