Posy Simmonds is a British cartoonist and graphic novelist, whose work is characterized by literary references and typical British subjects like the battle of the classes and repressed feelings. Born Rosemary Elizabeth Simmonds in Berkshire, she studied Fine Arts at the Sorbonne in Paris and graphic design at the Central School of Art & Design in London. She began her first daily cartoon feature 'Bear' in The Sun in 1969, while also contributing cartoons and illustrations to The Times, Cosmopolitan and Black Dwarf magazine. She became an illustrator with The Guardian in 1972.
The Silent Three
In 1977, she recalled one of her childhood favorites, 'The Silent Three' by Evelyn Flinders, to a weekly comic strip called 'The Silent Three of St Botolph's'. Although initially mainly a parody on contemporary life, the strip eventually dealt with three 1950s schoolfriends in their later lives. It appeared in The Guardian until the late 1980s and has been collected in the books 'Mrs Weber's Diary', 'Pick of Posy', 'Very Posy' and 'Pure Posy'. In 1981 Simmonds produced the original graphic novel 'True Love', that featured the same characters.
Besides making short satirical strips, she also made cartoons for both The Guardian and The Spectator, that were collected in the book 'Mustn't Grumble' in 1992. By 1987 she also tried her hand on writing and illustrating children's books. These include 'Lulu and the Flying Babies', 'The Chocolate Wedding', 'Lavender' and 'Fred', whose film adaptation 'Famous Fred' was nominated for an Oscar.
She returned to comics in the late 1990s with her free and satirical interpretation of the the Flaubert novel 'Madame Bovary' for The Guardian, called 'Gemma Bovery'. Her cartoon series 'Literary Life' was published in The Guardian's Review section on Saturdays from November 2002 until December 2004. In 2005 she made another reworking of a 19th century novel, this time 'Tamara Drewe', that was based on the Thomas Hardy book 'Far from the Madding Crowd'. In 2010 the story was adapted as a feature film.
Posy Simmonds has also made drawings for broadcasts by the BBC, and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2002 for her services to the newspaper industry. Although typically British, her work has also been translated to French, German and Dutch, among other languages. The Belgian Comics Centre in Brussels devoted a large retrospective exhibition to her work in 2012.