20 Questions... Henny Beaumont

To mark 20 years of Hay Festival Winter Weekend, we are asking speakers and performers to answer our 20 questions. Here's how Hay Festival Artist in Residence 2019 Henny Beaumont responded...


1. If you could put one question to anyone on the planet, who would you choose and what would it be?

I’d ask Trump to reconsider pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, might have to be a demand rather than a question.

2. What was the last graphic novel you looked at and loved?

Wolf by Rachel Ball.

3. What are you most proud of?

My children.

4. What was the best question you were ever asked in an event and how did you answer it?

I like it when a child asks - Were you always good at drawing? I get the opportunity to preach about the benefits of hard work, practice and determination against talent.

5. What one piece of advice do you wish you could give your 16-year-old self?

Never have sex because you’re too embarrassed to say no.

6. What's the most famous picture you’ve never seen?

Mona Lisa. Too many tourists standing in front of it.

7. What in your view is the most underrated graphic novel?

Here by richard Mcguire. It’s a beautiful book. The idea is very simple and perhaps doesn’t convey the enormous complexity and richness of the book. It’s set in one corner of a room over a huge time span. We simultaneously travel backwards and forwards in time through snap shots of this one corner. It’s a surprisingly moving read.

8. Which novels today will still be read 100 years from now?

Maus by Art Speigleman. Here by richard Mcguire. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.

9. Favourite colour?

Blue black.

10. Least favourite colour?

Apricot 11.

11. What is the first thing you drew?

A rhinoceros.

12. What one thing should each painter know before they begin?

What they have in their hand.

13. Where's your favourite place to paint?

My garden studio or Wales on the hill side in Brecon.

14. Pen and paper, or photoshop?

Paper and pen.

15. Favourite graphic novels of 2019?

Wolf of Baghdad by Carol Isaacs (The Surreal Mccoy), Gender Swapped Fairy Tales by Karrie Fransman, Glass Town by Isabel Greenberg, Biscuits by Jenny Georges, WINGS by Wallis Eates, and Shame Pudding by Danny Noble.

16. Favourite picture book to read at Christmas?

The Making Of by Brecht Evens.

17. What is the best book you've ever been gifted, and who gave it to you?

Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. It was the first Graphic novel I ever read, given to me by my friend Juju.

18. What exhibitions are you most excited about see in 2020?

Lynette Yiadom- Boakye

19. Best Hay Festival memory?

Last summer drawing the Kingdom choir and singing along to Lovely Day.

20. What are you working on right now?

A new Graphic novel funded by the arts council about poetry.


Henny Beaumont is a cartoonist for the Guardian and the creator of the acclaimed graphic story Hole in the Heart. She will talk about her new book, Equal to Everything, alongside journalist Afua Hirsch at Hay Festival Winter Weekend on 1 December - buy tickets here. Explore her work in depth here.