James Mellor wins best Gag Cartoon of 2023

James Mellor has won the Gag Cartoon of the Year Award 2023.  The Bedfordshire-based cartoonist was presented with his trophy as part of the Ellwood Atfield Political Cartoon of the Year Awards held in Westminster in December.  His surreal take on the children’s boardgame ‘Mousetrap’ was voted the British public’s favourite from a field filled with the UK’s top talent.

The Awards celebrate the cartooning profession and mark the important role political cartoonists play in terms of maintaining freedom of speech in the UK and around the world.  The newly introduced Gag Cartoon category is for cartoons that aim to score laughs rather than political points.

Cartoon Career

James Mellor, a freelance cartoonist from Felmersham, has been a regular contributor to Private Eye since 2019, providing the magazine with both political and non-political cartoons.  His work has also appeared in The Spectator, The Critic, Charlie Hebdo and The Sunday Telegraph.  Away from the print media, he spends much of his time providing cartoons for businesses in the City of London and beyond.

James was presented his award by Clive Goddard, the Chair of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation.  Rt Hon Suella Braverman KC MP and The Lord Ranger of Northwood were also in attendance to deliver speeches and present trophies. The event also made headlines as Suella Braverman’s heckler took to the stage, interrupting her speech, adding to the excitement on the night.

In Memoriam

In his acceptance speech, James paid tribute to the late cartoonist, Tony Husband, after whom the new award has been named.  He was also keen to highlight the importance of gags and jokes in difficult times.

James Mellor added:

“I’m delighted that this cartoon has been recognised with an award.  I remember the positive reaction when it first appeared in Private Eye and I’m really glad it’s still making people laugh all these months later.

It’s great that gag cartoons are being recognised this year.  I love drawing cartoons with a meaning and message but we’re living through some tough times so the gags that are purely for entertaining and brightening people’s days are doing a really important job.”

James hopes that the award will prove to be a springboard to exciting new projects and, after penning several books of current affairs cartoons, perhaps an indicator that there is also a market for some of his more weird and wonderful jokes.

Prints of James’ winning cartoon are available here: Mousetrap – limited edition signed cartoon print