Competition gives Shakespeare comic book twist

Competition gives Shakespeare comic book twist

Some of Shakespeare’s most famous scenes are set to be given a comic book twist following the launch of a new competition.

Word 09, the University of Aberdeen's Writers Festival, has teamed up with manga publisher SelfMadeHero to challenge young Scots to illustrate a well known scene from one of the Bard's plays.

Using a shortened version of the original text, entrants are asked to create their own manga adaptation of famed Shakespearean moments, including the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, and the first meeting of the witches in Macbeth.

The Manga Shakespeare Competition is just one aspect of Word 09's celebrations of the Japanese comic book phenomena. 

A host of workshops and events have been introduced to the festival line up for the first time to mark Japan-UK 150 – a series of UK wide events commemorating 150 years of friendship between the two countries.

Open to children from throughout Scotland between the ages of 12 – 18, the winning entrant to the manga competition will receive:

  • A place at the Manga Shakespeare workshop which takes place at Word 09 on Saturday 16 May
  • Two tickets to the screening of Japanese animated film, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time at the Belmont Picturehouse in Aberdeen on Saturday 16 May
  • Two tickets to The Rise of Manga discussion event at Word 09 on Sunday 17 May
  • A complete set of books from the award-winning Manga Shakespeare series
  • A Letraset manga drawing pack
  • Friends of Word 2010 membership
  • And the winning artwork will also be displayed at Word 09 and on the Word Festival website

Alan Spence, Artistic Director of Word said: "The Manga Shakespeare Comics Competition is a fantastic opportunity to get young people involved in this remarkable Japanese art form."

Emma Hayley, Publishing Director at SelfMadeHero added: "SelfMadeHero are delighted to be involved in Word 09.  Scotland has a strong cartooning tradition and manga has proved very popular over the last five years. We're particularly looking forward to meeting the next generation of Scottish comic book artists during the festival." 

The Manga Shakespeare Comics Competition will be judged by Professor Spence, Emma Hayley, Publishing Director SelfMadeHero, and Chie Kutsuwada, artist on Manga Shakespeare's version of As You Like It

The shortened version of the Shakespearean scenes and the competition entry forms can be downloaded by visiting

Or a printed application pack can be requested by emailing or calling 01224 273726.

The winner of the competition will be announced on Monday 4 May 2009.