Women in Comics - panel discussion

Illustration of two comics panels with a large sea creature in water talking to a person on the beach.
Image by Kaisa Leka, Time after Time (2014).


Panel discussion organised as part of a EUNIC collaboration for Fête de la BD - Brussels Comic Strip Festival 2020. The panel is organised a webinar and is a free event for an international audience. Registration required.


What do women do for comics? 

How do European women work with comics, and how are their voices brought forth in European comics? What are the challenges they face and roles they take on, and what are the rewards?

Join us for an on-line conversation on women in European comics! Hear from comics professionals and storytellers, and get to know works produced by women from around Europe. Listen to their journeys into publishing, production, distribution and meet professionals from the Basque Country Region, the Czech Republic, Finland, and Israel.

The panel will take place in a Zoom webinar on Thursday 10.9.2020 at 17.00 CEST as part of this year’s Fete de la BD in Brussels, and is open to an international audience.

The panel will also be streamed on the EUNIC Brussels social media - follow us on @eunic.brussels for more info!

A video version of the panel discussion can be seen here.


Maite Gurrutxaga  (Basque Country Region)
Štěpánka Jislová (Czech Republic)
Kaisa Leka (Finland)
Rachel Shalev (Israel)

Moderator: Maryse Dubuc (Canada / Belgium)

Language: English

Register here: https://forms.gle/giaZaeA2fctfwhHr8

For the Facebook event, click here.

For the full EUNIC programme at Fête de la BD - TBA

Speaker biographies:


Maite Gurrutxaga Otamendi

A Graduate of Fine Art, she studied illustration at the Escola de la Dona in Barcelona. She started working in book illustration in 2008 and has since illustrated books by many writers. In addition to books, her work has embraced all kinds of format: posters, letters, records, diaries, etc.

In 2009, she received the Etxepare award together with Mikel Gurrutxaga, for his book Mi amigo Álex. In 2014, she received the Euskadi Prize for literature, in the literary work illustration section, for the comic Nidos, with a script by Dejabu Panpin Laborategia. In 2015, she received the Lazarillo Award for Illustrated Album, along with Alaine Agirre, for her illustrated album Martín.

Other examples of her recent work are: Leo sabanako errege (Mikel Gurrutxaga, author; published by Elkar, 2019), Cascanueces y el rey ratón, by E.T.A. Hoffman (Nórdica, 2018) and Tigre batekin bizi (Harkaitz Cano, author; Elkar, 2017).

Štěpánka Jislová 

Štěpánka Jislová is a Czech illustrator and comics artist with a degree from Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art in Pilsen. She authored, among others, graphic dystopian novel The Holy Heart Abbey; How Beneš yielded to Hitler on WWII and lately also a story about Czechoslovak prominent member of resistance and female activist Milada Horáková. Štěpánka illustrated several books for young readers, she’s a co-founder of the Czech branch of Laydeez do comics, an international organization that promotes female comics artists and their work. She is currently working on an autobiographic graphic novel on alopecia.

Kaisa Leka

Kaisa Leka is a Finnish comic artist, who publishes autobiographical about the nature of being together with her partner Christoffer Leka. When she’s not drawing she’s usually exploring the world on a bike, but the two aren’t mutually exclusive. To date Leka has published over 10 books, of which several have been widely recognised and awarded, and many have been widely translated. Among these, Imperfect (2017) was awarded the prestigious Comic Book Finlandia Prize, and was selected as the most beautiful book of the year in Finland and Expedition no. 3 (2012) was awarded the Gold Prize in Grafia’s annual graphic design competition - and was equally rated among the most beautiful books of the year in Finland.

In addition Leka has been awarded the Finnish Comics Society’s prestigious Puupäähattu prize for the Comic book artist of the year 2012, as well as the Vimma Prize 2017, and together with her husband Christoffer Leka the Finland prize in 2010 . She also regularly contributes comics to several different Finnish magazines, covering topics such as feminism, disability and animal rights.


Maryse Dubuc was born on October 21st, 1977 in Sherbrooke, Quebec. She studied French literature before applying to the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in communications. Maryse first published children’s books and novels, including a Quebec best seller, with multiple quebecer editors (Bayard Canada, Pierre Tisseyre, Vents d'Ouest). She then tackled writing the comic book Les Nombrils, published by Dupuis, in Belgium. Released in 2006, the first album was an instant success - a precursor to the series’ eve growing popularity.

For her work on Les Nombrils, Maryse Dubuc received the Outstanding Writer award from the Joe Shuster Awards’ 6th edition in June 2010. The Delaf-Dubuc duo also won numerous honors, including the Communication Jeunesse award (Favorite Book, readers aged 13-17). Les Nombrils is translated into a dozen languages including Dutch, Spanish, Czech and Slovak.

Join us for a fascinating insight into women working in comics today!