Graham Rawle
1990 …2019

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Personal profile

Research interests

Working across illustration, graphic design, literature and film, Graham Rawle brings new conceptions in sequential design to commercial and cultural sectors, exploring, exposing and reconfiguring the codes and conventions of visual narrative and the participant role of the audience. He has received international critical acclaim for his experimental works with collage and the cut-up narrative, his process provoking critical analysis in the national and international press and in academic circles. He now brings these insights and strategies to film-making.

Underpinning this research is Rawle’s ongoing exploration into the practice and theory of narrative, continuity, montage and sequence. Rawle’s experimental literature uses innovative techniques involving the interplay between text and image as a way to carry a narrative subtext that is neither written nor illustrated but, emerges through the combined reading of both text and image to form a new language.

A parallel AHRC Network, (with Rawle as Co-Investigator) focuses on the making of his collage film, Woman’s World, as a case study to explore pastiche in film making and its ‘fair dealing’ potential within shifting copyright laws, aiming to clarify the lawful transformative use of copyrighted content in visual arts practice.

Scholarly biography

Graham Rawle lectures in visual communication. He is a writer and collage artist whose visual work incorporates illustration, design, photography and installation. His weekly 'Lost Consonants' first appeared in the weekend Guardian in 1990 and ran for 15 years. He has produced other regular series for The ObserverThe Sunday Telegraph Magazine and The Times.

Among his published books are The CardThe Wonder Book of FunLying Doggo, and Diary of an Amateur Photographer. His collaged novel Woman's World, created entirely from fragments of found text clipped from vintage women’s magazines won wide critical acclaim, described by The Times as ‘a work of genius…the most wildly original novel produced in this country in the past decade.’ His reinterpretation of The Wizard of Oz won the Best Illustrated Trade Book Award as well as 2009 Book of the Year at the British Book Design Awards. The Card, was shortlisted for the 2013 Writers' Guild Award for fiction. His latest novel, Overland, was published in March 2018.

Rawle's work is exhibited internationally and he regularly gives lectures about his work at both academic and public events. He teaches on the MA Sequential Design/Illustration and MA Arts and Design by Independent Project courses at Brighton. He is Visiting Professor of Illustration at Falmouth University and Norwich University of the Arts where in 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate for Services to Design.

Knowledge exchange

In his 2018 novel, Overland, the themes of heaven and hell are reflected in the book’s innovative layout. Designed to be read horizontally, its parallel narratives run above and below the book’s spine, orientating the reader spatially within the narrative. As in his previous books, Diary of an Amateur Photographer, Woman’s World and The Card the unexpected format and narrative delivery challenges our expectations of how literary fiction should be read.

The Woman’s World is widely regarded as one of the most innovative examples of multimodal literature. It is studied as a set text on the curricula of numerous graduate and postgraduate design and literature courses around the world. Its relevance is widely evidenced through press coverage (over 40 major international press reviews and features) and the range and depth of key scholarly texts that cite and analyse the work (Keskinen, 2016, Maziarczyk, 2013, Bray, Gibbons, McHale, 2012, Sadokierski, 2006; Gibbons 2010; Wolf, 2011; Brillenburg Wurth, 2013,) and through coverage in surveys of graphic design (including Poyner, 2003; Heller, 2005; Zeegan, 2013; Kick, 2013, Triggs, 2015).

The film version of Woman’s World furthers these narrative experiments, using a unique collage layering process whereby live action film is digitally cut and pasted both spatially and sequentially to create an articulate adaptation of the book. No film has ever been created in quite this way before.

External positions

Visiting Professor, Falmouth University

2015 → …

Visiting Professor, Norwich University of the Arts

2012 → …


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  • 13 March 1911

    Rawle, G., 2019, 13 March 1911. Morris, S. (ed.). York, England: information as material, 1 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

  • Layers of Creativity

    Rawle, G. & Ekiz, O., 29 Apr 2019, In: Art/Law Network.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • “Who cares if it takes twenty years?”

    Rawle, G., 28 Jan 2019, Tuli & Savu. Kilpiö, J-P. (ed.). 95 ed. Helsinki, Finland: Runoyhdistys Nihil Interit ry, p. 25-36 12 p. 95

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

    Open Access
  • Overland

    Rawle, G., 22 Mar 2018, London: Chatto & Windus. 366 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored

  • Overland

    Rawle, G., 22 Mar 2018, Experimental multimodal literary fiction.

    Research output: Other contribution