Posy Simmonds: Drawing Literature

Posted by Speakeasy News > Friday 01 December 2023 > What's On

© Bpi / Posy Simmonds 2023

Posy Simmonds is a British cartoonist and writer. She is best known for her work in the field of comics and graphic novels, particularly her contributions to The Guardian newspaper. She is currently being celebrated at the Bibliothèque Publique d’Information (BPI) at the Centre Pompidou (Paris) in a retrospective exhibition until April 1st, 2024.

© Claire Mineur / Bpi

The exhibition, titled "Dessiner la littérature", has been curated in close collaboration with Simmonds herself. This retrospective pays tribute to the richness and diversity of her career, from editorial cartoons to graphic novels and children's books. Simmonds has a distinctive style that combines sharp wit, social commentary, and detailed artwork.

Bringing together nearly a hundred and thirty original pieces, unpublished drawings, sketches and drafts, notebooks, and film excerpts, the exhibition provides a broad overview of her work: from her beginnings, childhood drawings, and student works, to her literary influences.

The exhibition shows her work as a cartoonist for The Guardian, where Posy Simmonds humorously depicts cultured English society through archetypal figures, some of whom will become the heroines of her future graphic novels.

Cassandra Darke, 2018 © Posy Simmonds / Denoël Graphic, 2019

At the heart of the exhibition, there are: Gemma Bovery (1999) inspired by Gustave Flaubert's classic novel Madame Bovary; Tamara Drewe (2007)  which is a modern reworking of Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd; and Cassandra Darke (2018) loosely based on Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol .

Cassandra © Hervé Véronèse
© Claire Mineur / Bpi
Gemma © Hervé Véronèse

The public can also discover her modern and cheeky tales for young readers and finally, an epilogue dedicated to her drawings about the literary world and publishing, her more recent works, and drawings related to France.

Matilda, 1990 © Posy Simmonds

In her works, visitors can rediscover Posy Simmonds' gift for observation, attention to detail, her caustic view of manners and the contemporary world, and her love for literature.

In an interview, Simmonds reflected on her career and noted that she still enjoys doing what she loved as a 9-year-old: creating comics.


Posy Simmonds:
Drawing Literature

Bibliothèque publique d'information (Bpi)

  • Until  April 1, 2024

Monday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday:
12 pm - 10 pm

Saturday, Sunday:
10 am - 8 pm


Posy Simmonds has created a wide range of works throughout her career.

Here are some of her notable works:

  • Gemma Bovery (2000): A graphic novel that was originally published as a serial in The Guardian.
  • Tamara Drewe (2005-06): Another graphic novel series that was also published in The Guardian and adapted into a 2010 Stephen Frears film.
  • Cassandra Darke (2018): This is one of her more recent graphic novels.
  • True Love (1981): Think Bridget Jones Diary as a graphic novel. Young Janice thinks she's in love with the office lothario.
  • Very Posy (1985): A collection of her cartoons.
  • Lulu and the Flying Babies (1988): A children’s book about a little girl who uses her imagination to cheer up a visit to a museum when she wants to be playing in the snow..
  • Hilaire Belloc, Cautionary tales (1998): An illustrated version of Hilaire Belloc’s famous cautionary tales.
  • Lavender (2003): One of her children’s books about "the bravest rabbit in the world".
  • Gemma Bovery, 1999 © Posy Simmonds / Éditions Denoël, 2000

    Cassandra Darke, 2018 © Posy Simmonds / Denoël Graphic, 2019