Comics journalist Joe Sacco at the 2022 Malta Book Festival

Maltese by birth, Sacco grew up in Australia and later in Los Angeles and Portland in the US. His acclaimed works include Palestine, which received the American Book Award in 1996, Footnotes in Gaza (2009), and Safe Area: Goražde

Joe Sacco
Joe Sacco

Maltese-American comic book artist and journalist Joe Sacco will be in Malta in November as a guest of the 2022 Malta Book Festival.

One of the world’s greatest cartoonists, Sacco is known for his comic journalism, featuring a compelling combination of eyewitness reportage and graphic art storytelling techniques. He is widely hailed as the creator of a new form of journalism, having reinvented himself as a graphic journalist and published his war reportage as comics.

“Having already established his reputation as the world’s leading comics journalist, Sacco is now making a serious case to be considered one of the world’s top journalists, period.” (Publishers Weekly)

Maltese by birth, Sacco grew up in Australia and later in Los Angeles and Portland in the US. After receiving a degree in journalism from the University of Oregon he chose comics as the unusual medium to practice his craft. Since then he has visited numerous crisis and war zones all over the world and turned his research into graphic journalism.

His acclaimed works include Palestine, which received the American Book Award in 1996, Footnotes in Gaza (2009), and Safe Area: Goražde, which won the Eisner Award and was named a New York Times notable book and Time magazine’s best comic book of 2000. Stories from Malta have appeared in his short-form collections Notes from a Defeatist (2003) and Journalism (2018).

His most recent publication, Paying the Land (2020), explores the impacts of resource extraction among the Dene communities of indigenous North America. Sacco’s books have been translated into fourteen languages and his comics reporting has appeared in Details, The New York Times Magazine, Time, Harper’s and The Guardian.

At the 2022 Malta Book Festival, on Thursday 24 November at 7 pm, Joe Sacco will be interviewed by James Debono, chief reporter at MaltaToday.

On Saturday 26 November at 6 pm he will be part of a panel discussion: ‘What’s an image worth: Forms of visual storytelling’. Moderated by writer and former culture editor and film critic Teodor Reljic, this session will explore how, in various forms, journalists and creative practitioners have chosen to bring their images to the fore of the storytelling process. On this panel Sacco will be joined by photographer and journalist Joanna Demarco, and award-winning creative director and illustrator Gattaldo.

Through his signature style of appealing black-and-white art, Sacco’s books are a powerful record of voices that would have otherwise gone largely unheard, born through the journalistic process of digging up dramatic individual stories that are illustrative of larger social or political problems.

“I don’t have many illusions about being able to make change now, but I feel like a lot of the people I talk to don’t really have a voice. A lot of stories are misrepresented in the media or historically, or they’re episodes that are just forgotten. You do think, ‘Well, let’s go and talk to some of these people. They’re still alive!’ It’s clear to me that it should be done, and I’ll just do my little part in doing it.” (Joe Sacco - It’s Nice That)

The full programme of events for the 2022 Malta Book Festival (23-27 November) will be published in the coming weeks.

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