Graphic Novel Project

HAN GNP Banner Final © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

The Graphic Novel Project is a collaboration between the Institut Français and the Goethe-Institut Hanoi to promote the creation of graphic novels by Vietnamese artists.

The Institut Français and the Goethe-Institut, with the support of the Franco-German Cultural Fund, have launched a workshop for creating graphic novels. This European initiative is intended to encourage participating artists to try out new artistic practices for the graphic novel genre and develop them for the Vietnamese book market. The publishing grant for the project will be given to Nha Nam Culture and Communication Joint Stock Company (referred to as Nha Nam). Nha Nam provides each artist with eight to ten pages to publicize their story. The workshop will be accompanied for three months by graphic novel artists Robert Deutsch and Nicholas Sauge. UNESCO is supporting the project because it promotes the development of Hanoi's status as a City of Design.

The Graphic Novel Project 2022/23

Graphic novels belong to the literary genre of comics, but their more complex and comprehensive narratives make them comparable to novels. Unlike comics, graphic novels are usually based on autonomous stories and are detached from serial forms of publication. But just like novels, they can consist of several volumes...

The market for graphic novels is booming in both Europe and Southeast Asia. But there are differences between the markets. The Vietnamese market for graphic novels is similar to the trend in Japan and South Korea, based on the aesthetic form of manga. The European-influenced graphic novel has the potential for growth in Vietnam. The graphic novel is based on historical and biographical narratives and therefore focuses on non-fiction. In addition, the genre of graphic non-fiction may form another branch in the Vietnamese book market in the future.

With this background, the Institut Français and the Goethe-Institut invited applications to participate in a graphic novel workshop. From three dozen applications, 12 participants were selected. The featured speakers were Robert Deutsch from Germany and Nicolas Sauge from France. They shared their expertise and practical experience with the Vietnamese artists.

In cooperation with the Nhã Nam Culture and Communication Joint Stock Company (Nhã Nam), it quickly became clear that the planned publications should tell authentic stories. Considering the partnership with UNESCO, it was obvious that Vietnamese traditional cultural heritage would be the common thread of all the stories. The artists revived folk songs, myths, and legends in visual form and integrate these valuable narratives into the world of today's Vietnam.

In "Paper Realm" Tran Thu Ngan illustrates the importance of traditional Vietnamese handicrafts in the present and the past. Duong Huong Ly's graphic novel "Kitchen & Living Room" deals with the social obligations of a traditional Vietnamese wife, shedding light on the tension between implicitness and appreciation. Nguyen Thi Le addresses the contemporary conflict of pursuing traditions by using the example of the folk belief "Dao Mau". The artists use the genre of the graphic novel to make complex cultural content tangible in the form of graphic representations, creating a different approach to Vietnamese norms, values, and history.

Robert Deutsch is convinced that the artists "have a very prosperous future ahead of them." One participant lauds, "The workshop is a great asset to my view of the Vietnamese comics industry, and I'm especially grateful for the cross-cultural experience I've gained."

The artists and the two European cultural institutes are receptive to the continuation of such workshops. These workshops promote artistic exchange between Europe and Vietnam and enhance Hanoi's position as a City of Design.

Nhã Nam Publishing releases the anthology of completed works from the graphic novel workshop next year (2023).

Further information on the graphic novel project, biographies of the participants, interviews with the artists, and a selection of recommended graphic novels can be found on our website.


Robert Deutsch Photo: Yvonne Most

Robert Deutsch (*1981)

Robert Deutsch studied illustration and communication design in Halle and has been working as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer since 2012. His works have been exhibited in Porto, Berlin, Leipzig, and Los Angeles and published in several magazines. In 2014 he was awarded the GiebichenStein Design Award in the category Best Communication. He lives and works in Leipzig. His debut Turing was released in March 2017.

Interview with Robert Deutsch

Nicolas Sauge © Private

Nicolas Sauge (*1975)

Nicolas Sauge gained his first professional experience in various artistic fields, from illustration to advertising and animation. In 2011, he co-wrote the book "Samourawaii Legends: Neron" with the publisher Indeez. Since then, he has illustrated and co-written a three-volume series titled "Golam" published by le Lombard, illustrated a two-volume series named "a l'Année Prochaine", and self-published a book titled "2 chemins". Sauge lives and works in Paris where he is a comic book artist, comic book teacher, and illustrator.

Interview with Nicolas Sauge



  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

  • HAN GNP Workshop © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

Graphic Novel Recommendations

Previous events

HAN GNP Zum Lachen und zum Nachdenken © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

For laughter and reflection


Franco-German Cultural Fund © Franco-German Cultural Fund
Goethe-Institut © Goethe-Institut
 institut-francais-logo © Institut Français
Nhã Nam © Nhã Nam