Ah, Leeds. Not only the original location for Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival, but also the place I spent four wonderful years studying at its historical red brick University. Indeed, many would say it’s God’s County, and if you’ve ever been there you can see why. And, its also a huge inspiration for The Great British Bake-Off 2018 finalist, Kim-Joy’s debut graphic novel, illustrated by Alti Firmansyah, Turtle Bread, available now on comiXology.
“Yan is looking for a place to belong. She struggles with social anxiety and low self-esteem, making it hard to maintain a job or relationships. When the chance comes along to step out of her comfort zone, Yan joins Baking Club, hoping to share her passion with people who love pastries and cakes as much as she does.
At first, Yan is intimidated by the other members, but as she gets to know them better, she comes to love Baking Club. In fact, Yan realizes that she’s not alone in trying to hide her mental health struggles from her friends. The members of the Club come together to support each other and to bake their way through any problem!
From celebrity baker, cookbook author, mental health advocate, and Great British Baking Show star Kim-Joy, and fan-favorite artist Alti Firmansyah (Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde), TURTLE BREAD is a touching story about community, healing, finding yourself, and–of course–baking!”
And we have been given access to some of the real life locales that inspired by the book. So, why not join me on a trip down Memory Lane and a look at some of these locales before reading the graphic novel, words courtesy of Kim-Joy herself:
“The whole story is set in Leeds, West Yorkshire. This is also where I live, and not just that – it’s the first place I’ve ever felt at home. Prior to living in Leeds and meeting my partner Nabil, I’d happily move around and start a new job anywhere in the country. But now I want to stay here.”
A typical Victorian terrace house in Leeds
“At the beginning of the story, Yan is catching a bus to Armley (also in Leeds) – and I picked Armley because I used to live there when I worked at an inpatient unit for people with learning disabilities.”
Another Victorian terrace house on one of Leeds sloping streets
“Betty’s is a Yorkshire establishment since 1919. You can get afternoon tea there and all sorts of cakes, savoury food, and their signature Fat Rascals! Me and Nabil technically had our first ‘date’ there, and it also happened to be my birthday (17th May). So it’s a place with amazing memories. I sent this reference to Alti alongside the OWT reference (also Leeds based!) and just trusted her amazing skills in choosing elements from different bits.”
Betty’s Cafe and Tea Rooms, Harrogate
“Alti based a lot of the Baking Club interior on mine and Nabil’s old kitchen (this was our kitchen before we moved house, and before we started renovating the new house!). It was actually Alti’s brilliant idea to base it off of my old kitchen, and all I asked for was to make it feel lived in, homey and for there to be some sort of table where they could all sit at together.”
“OWT is a lovely cafe run by friends of ours, and they used to be based in Leeds Market but are now based in the Corn Exchange. We loved going to the market and they’d have different delicious meals each week, and cake! I love the interiors of their Corn Exchange cafe – the colours, the shapes… all of it. Beautiful!”
Ah, Leeds. Not only the original location for Thought Bubble Comic Art Festival, but also the place I spent fourCOMICONRead More