The Washington Post

OVERSEAS PRESS CLUB: Sun/Economist cartoonist Kevin ‘KAL’ Kallaugher accepts Thomas Nast Award as ‘a particular honor’



AS A YOUNG MAN discovering the true power of political cartoons, Kevin Kallaugher found the form enchanting in its ability to distill the news of the day down to a point as sharp as a pen.

Now, four decades later, the Overseas Press Club has awarded Kallaugher its Thomas Nast Award for cartooning on international affairs. In announcing the honor, the club lauded Kallaugher’s own graceful clarity of thought and point.


“In a strong year for political cartoons, Kevin Kallaugher’s work stood out for its clarity, visual élan and mordant humor,” the contest judges wrote. “From the war in Syria to the power struggle in Egypt to the Obama Administration’s use of unmanned drones, Kallaugher’s finely wrought sketches offered consistently provocative and often surprising takes on the year’s biggest international stories.”

The awards were presented in a ceremony Thursday night in Manhattan, at which the Associated Press, National Public Radio and the New York Times received multiple prizes.

Kallaugher previously won the Nast Award in 2002 and 2004.

“When I was back at university in the mid ’70s, I learned the power that cartoons had to educate, illuminate and inform readers about the important issues of the day,” Kallaugher tells The Post’s Comic Riffs on Thursday. “Watergate was in the headlines. The front pages were overflowing with stories on the subject.

“But it was overwhelming,” continues Kallaugher, who draws for both the Economist and the Baltimore Sun. “I had a hard time unraveling the who’s, what’s and where’s of the news stories. That was until … I looked at the editorial cartoons. The cartoons distilled the gray mass down to black and white. Accessible. Irresistible.”

Since becoming an Economist cartoonist more than 35 years ago, Kallaugher — who goes by the nom-de-toon “KAL” in his work — has applied those powers of distillation to global issues.

“Since being a professional in this honorable craft, I have aspired to fulfill our educational promise,” Kallaugher tells us. “Especially when it comes to dealing with International affairs. The world is a crazy and complex place and it is hard to keep up with what’s going on in our neighborhood, nonetheless what’s happening in Tadjekistan.

“So it has been my long-term professional goal to tackle these complex but important global events with gusto and make them accessible to American audiences,” says Kallaugher, who last year published a career retrospective, “Daggers Drawn.” “Learning that I had won the Thomas Nast Award from the Overseas Press Club was a particular honor as it suggests that perhaps I have had some success toward reaching that goal.”

[Q&A WITH KAL: The Economist/Baltimore Sun satirist reflects on 35 years of skewering politicians through cartoons]



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.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read
Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
What can babies teach students?
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
A veteran finds healing on a dog sled
Play Videos
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
Is fencing the answer to brain health?
Scenes from Brazil's Carajás Railway
Play Videos
How a hacker group came to Washington
The woman behind the Nats’ presidents ‘Star Wars’ makeover
How hackers can control your car from miles away
Play Videos
Philadelphia's real signature sandwich
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Europe's migrant crisis, explained
Next Story
Michael Cavna · April 20, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.