From October 7-9, the Institut Français will hold the first of its annual BD & Comics Passion Festival at the Commonwealth Institute in South Kensington, London

The organisers say that the event celebrates the growth of the graphic novel as an art form and will explore accepted ideas about the genre. On the bill are authors and artists such as Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), China Miéville (Kraken), Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler?s Wife), Bryan Talbot (Grandville), Yves Sente and André Juillard (Blake and Mortimer), Jean-Claude Mézières (Valérian and Laureline), Benoît Sokal (Canardo), Catel&Bocquet (Kiki), and Bastien Vivès (The Taste of Chlorine).

The BD & Comics Passion Festival features a drawing duel between Jean-Claude Mézières and Dave Gibbons. Talks include Bryan Talbot on the tradition of animals in comic books, Paul Gravett on the history of the genre, China Miéville on his love for comics, and Audrey Niffenegger on her passion for Aubrey Beardsley. There's also a masterclass by Alan Moore collaborator Oscar Zárate (on A Small Killing) on making a four-page comics about London, and a conversation with Yves Sente and André Juillard about the making-of of the popular series Blake and Mortimer.

Also at the festival is a drawing session by rising star of French graphic novels, Bastien Vivès; a translation workshop given by the translator of Astérix, Anthea Bell; and live drawing events with Sokal and Catel&Bocquet. There's also a costume party.