High Impact Writer Spotlight: Judith Vanistendael

Judith Vanistendael (1974) is a ground-breaking Brussels-based illustrator and graphic novelist, a Belgian ‘Posy Simmonds’.

Judith was born and raised in Flanders, daughter of the famous writer Geert Van Istendael.

Judith Vanistendael (photo Daphne Titeca)

She went to art school in Ghent, studied at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, and followed the Illustration & Comics course at the talent hothouse, Sint-Lukas Academy in Brussels. She began her career illustrating Dutch children’s books for numerous publishers.

Her first graphic novel, Dance By the Light of the Moon, is a moving love story inspired by the author’s relationship with a political refugee from Togo. She wrote it in response to an autobiographical story on the same subject written by her father. Her second graphic novel, When David Lost His Voice, is a moving study of the effects of cancer on close family members.

Both of her graphic novels were nominated for the Grand Prix Angoulême at the French comics festival.

Praise for Judith Vanistendael & When David Lost His Voice

‘The final moments are big, bleak, brilliant and stark.’ Rosie Blau, the Economist

‘This is an amazing book, one of the best published by SelfMadeHero so far.’ The Observer


When David Lost His Voice (trs. Nora Mahony; SelfMadeHero, 2012)

Dance By the Light of the Moon (trs. Ina Rilke; SelfMadeHero, 2010)