The Washington Post

THIS JUST IN: Jen Sorensen becomes first woman to win the Herblock Prize

THE HERBLOCK PRIZE continues to make history.

On Tuesday, the Herb Block Foundation announced that Jen Sorensen has become the first woman to win the award, which celebrates excellence in editorial cartooning.

“Winning the Herblock is one of the finest moments in a political cartoonist’s life,” Sorensen tells The Post. “Being the first woman to win the prize makes it an extra-special thrill.”

Sorensen, a former Charlottesville alt-weekly cartoonist who now draws for the Austin Chronicle, was a Herblock finalist in 2012. That year, she told Comic Riffs: “It’s so nice to see our genre of political cartooning acknowledged after so many years in the wilderness.”

In 2012, Matt Bors became the first alt-weekly cartoonist to win the award. By following 2013 Herblock winner Dan Perkins (aka Tom Tomorrow) — who was a judge this year — Sorensen is the third consecutive alt-cartoonist to receive the prize.


“Jen Sorensen’s strong portfolio addresses issues that were important to Herblock, such as gun control, racism, income inequality, healthcare, and sexism. Her style allows her to incorporate information which backs up the arguments she presents. Her art is engaging and her humor is sharp and on target,” said the three judges (Perkins, political cartoonist/first Herblock Prize winner Tony Auth and Library of Congress curator Sara Duke).

“I’m so grateful that this generous award exists for our profession,” Sorensen tells us. The honor comes with a tax-free $15,000 cash prize.

As the creator of “Slowpoke” comics, Sorensen won the RFK Journalism Award in 2013, and her work has appeared in The Nation and Ms. magazine and on Daily Kos and, as well as in The Washington Post. She’s on the AAEC board and the advisory board of Ohio State’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum.

The Herb Block Foundation created the prize in 2004, it says, “to encourage editorial cartooning as an essential tool for preserving the rights of the American people through freedom of speech and the right of expression.”

In 2011, Sorensen said to The Post about the cartooning legend who funded the foundation: “What I admire most about Herblock is that he cartooned from a definite moral perspective — and a good one, at that. Too many daily editorial cartoonists go for the easy-breezy sight gag or contemporary movie reference without actually saying much. Herblock took the job seriously.”

The Herblock Prize judges also named Clay Bennett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press as this year’s finalist.

The prizes and Herblock Lecture will be presented April 29 at the Library of Congress. The lecture will be delivered by The Post’s Bob Woodward.

To see Sorensen’s Herblock-winning portfolio, you can CLICK HERE.




Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.
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