Olivia Walch ordinarily would have seen the announcement for a cartoon contest. As an avid comics-and-crosswords reader, she misses little in the middle of the Style section. Except that in May, while The Post was announcing its contest for "America's Next Great Cartoonist," Walch happened to be sitting obliviously at Oxford, temple-deep in Waugh.Walch, a rising senior at the College of William and Mary, was completing a semester abroad. The math and biophysics double major recalls being in Oxford University's Evelyn Waugh Room, reading the great writer's works and sitting beneath an imposing painting of Waugh himself when comic inspiration struck. Her dad, back in Fairfax Station, had told her about the contest. "You should do it!" he urged.
The prize was $1,000 and the winner's strip would run for a month in Style and on the Comic Riffs blog, as well as be considered for syndication. Walch, who turns 21 this weekend, had been seriously drawing cartoons for only three years -- topical cartoons for William and Mary's campus paper, the Flat Hat -- but she decided she'd give the contest a shot.
Some 500 other aspiring cartoonists did, too. By reader poll, Walch bested the lot of 'em.