Saturday, May 11, 2013


“Thanks for coming to listen to me blab,” Joe Sacco says to me as he signs my copy of his graphic novel, Palestine. A throng of people stand around us, holding books to be signed, waiting to catch a moment with the man who we’ve all been lucky enough to have spent the past hour listening to.

AUB’s Hostler Center is the venue of Sacco’s sit-down on the ninth of May with animator/comics artist Lina Ghaibeh as part of the Hay Festival. His visit to Beirut has also seen him interviewed by Mazen Kerbaj the day before. As a slideshow of selections from Sacco’s work begins to play in the background, Ghaibeh makes the introductions that are oh-so-unnecessary to an audience comprised of local lovers and makers of comics, congregated on the day out of particular appreciation for the Sacco variety. 

 “My books haven’t actually been translated into fourteen languages. I just made that number up. Don’t tell my publishers,” Sacco opens up with, garnering laughs, in reference to a point from Ghaibeh’s introduction. He’s easy and elegant and the rest of the interview continues along the same engaging note. Sacco discusses things like how he began – very much as a pioneer – his comics journalism, why he chooses to tell the stories that he does, how he puts honesty ahead of objectivity and his current project revolving around Mesopotamia. Each question Ghaibeh poses to him prompts a reflective answer and their dialogue has us laughing, learning and captivated. The only downside is that we’ve only got an hour with him, but Ghaibeh’s interview makes the most of it.

There’s even a bit of time at the end to take questions from the audience and the microphone gets passed from end to end of the auditorium to cram in as many of the many askers as possible. We get to hear about a new range of topics, from Sacco’s insight on how his books might affect the people in them to why he never draws his own eyes to the influences behind his style. 

In the end, I tell Sacco that his blabbing has been an enormous pleasure. 

Article and photography: Aya Krisht


  1. Really nice , Aya!! thanks for coming to the talk, and for so very nicely writing about it! I like your intro too :)

  2. I can't believe I had the audacity to miss this :(

  3. very nice...very well spoken Ms. A :)


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