See Charlton-based author Andrew Donkin’s work in The Big Issue

Andrew Donkin's Big Issue strip

There’s always a good reason to buy The Big Issue, but there’s a particularly good one this week as local author Andrew Donkin has helped produce a comic strip telling the story of one of the magazine’s vendors.

With Eoin Colfer and Giovanni Rigano, Andrew created the award-winning graphic novel, Illegal, about a boy’s epic journey to Europe.

Now the trio have produced a special strip for The Big Issue. Andrew says: “I often buy The Big Issue and living in London unless you walk around with your eyes wide shut, you can’t help but notice the huge increase in people sleeping rough in the last few years. It’s gone right back to the bad old days of long ago.

“We had a piece of comics journalism at the back of Illegal and we wanted to do more. Comics are such a brilliant medium and they are, in my view, underused in this genre. We were delighted that The Big Issue features editor, Steven, invited us to tell one of their vendor’s stories as a comic. When I say ‘invited’, I mean we twisted his arm. With the strip we wanted to put a human face on a vendor and help Rae tell her own story. We wanted to show how The Big Issue really does help people and Rae is a brilliant example of that.

“One of the biggest challenges in dealing with real world stuff is of course taking care to be as sensitive as you can with the material. Our five page strip, Rae’s Story, tells the story of a real person who’s going to read the issue – as are her friends and family. It was great to speak to Rae as we wrote the strip and she was very supportive and very helpful.”

The Big Issue is available now for £2.50 – often outside Charlton Sainsbury’s and Blackheath M&S.


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