Coming of Age Through Bande dessinée

An Interview with Michel Kichka

in European Comic Art
Fransiska Louwagie School of Arts, University of Leicester, UK

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Simon Lambert University of Leicester, UK,

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This interview with Belgian-Israeli graphic novelist and political cartoonist Michel Kichka covers his growing up in Belgium during the Golden Age of bande dessinée. The author discusses his early readings and influences, as well as the development of his own career in teaching and drawing. The discussion focuses in particular on the creation and publication of his graphic novels Deuxième Génération [Second Generation] and Falafel sauce piquante [Falafel with Spicy Sauce], published in 2012 and 2018. These works foreground essential questions about Kichka's experience as a second-generation Holocaust survivor and about his relationship with Israel. Taking an international perspective, the interview sheds further light on the emergence of the comics medium in Israel and the transnational reception of Franco-Belgian bande dessinée. It also considers Kichka's work and engagement as a political cartoonist. Interview conducted via email, following Michel Kichka's keynote at the “Tradition and Innovation in Franco-Belgian bande dessinée” conference.

Contributor Notes

Fransiska Louwagie is Associate Professor of French Studies in the School of Arts at the University of Leicester. Her work focuses on literary Holocaust testimony, on the memory and representation of the Holocaust in contemporary Francophone fiction and bande dessinée, and on broader issues of conflict, migration, bilingualism, and self-translation. She is the author of Témoignage et littérature d'après Auschwitz (Brill, 2020) and co-editor of several volumes, including, with Manu Braganca, Ego-histories of France and the Second World War: Writing Vichy (Palgrave, 2018), and with Anny Dayan Rosenman, Un ciel de sang et de cendres: Piotr Rawicz et la solitude du témoin (Kimé, 2013).

Simon Lambert obtained an undergraduate degree in French at the University of Namur in Belgium before joining the School of Modern Languages at the University of Louvain to complete his MA. He then obtained his MAS in Philosophy at the University of Brussels, extended with a DAAD Fellowship at the University of Tübingen. He has taught French at the Universities of Trieste, Naples, Bucharest, Vitoria-Gasteiz, and, since 2015, at the University of Leicester. Since 2018 he has worked as Cultural and Academic Liaison Officer for Wallonia-Brussels International in the UK. In this capacity, and with the support of the Belgian Embassy, his role is to foster collaborations in academia and culture between the two countries. /

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