The IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute Lecture Series and The Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series present:
February 28, 2013; Dean and Barbara White Auditorium, Indiana State Museum; 7:00 pm
Tickets: free to the public; available here
Sponsored by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, The Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series, Office for Women, Office of Housing and Residence Life, Office of Student Involvement, IUPUI Women’s Studies Program, IUPUI Department of English, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI
Alison Bechdel is the creator of the long running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. Judith Levine in Ms. Magazine called Bechdel’s work, “one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period.” In 2008, Dwight Garner of the New York Times reported that the weekly comic strip, published for over 20 years, “has been as important to new generations of lesbians as landmark novels like Rita Mae Brown’s “Rubyfruit Jungle” (1973) and Lisa Alther’s “Kinflicks” (1976) were to an earlier one.”
In 2006, Bechdel published the graphic memoir Fun Home, hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by numerous sources, including The New York Times, amazon.com, The Times of London, Publishers Weekly, salon.com, New York magazine, and Entertainment Weekly. Time named it the best book of 2006, calling it “a stunning memoir about a girl growing up in a small town with her cryptic, perfectionist dad and slowly realizing that a) she is gay and b) he is too. … Bechdel’s breathtakingly smart commentary duets with eloquent line drawings. Forget genre and sexual orientation: this is a masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other.” Fun Home was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award in the memoir/autobiography category.
Bechdel released her second graphic memoir, Are You My Mother?, in May 2012. Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated called the book “a work of the most humane kind of genius, bravely going right to the heart of things: why we are who we are. It’s also incredibly funny. And visually stunning. And page-turningly addictive. And heartbreaking.”
In her work, Bechdel is preoccupied with the overlap of the political and the personal spheres. Dykes to Watch Out For was an explicitly community-based and politically engaged project. But in her deeply intimate memoirs about her father’s life before the gay rights movement and her mother’s life before the women’s movement, she turns a microscopic lens on the internal mechanisms of oppression and liberation.
Bechdel edited Best American Comics 2011. She has drawn comics for Slate, McSweeney’s, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Book Review, and Granta. Her work is widely anthologized and translated.
In the spring of 2012, Bechdel was a Mellon Residential Fellow for Arts and Practice at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center at the University of Chicago. She is also the recipient of a 2012-13 Guggenheim Fellowship.
The IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute was founded in 2012. Its mission is two-fold. First, it serves as a liaison between IUPUI and the greater Indianapolis community, supporting collaborations and running public programs such as lectures and performances. Secondly, it fosters interdisciplinary faculty research and creative activity in the arts and humanities at IUPUI.
The Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series is presented by the Department of English in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. It was founded in 1997 in honor of former English Department chair Rufus Reiberg and his wife, Louise. The Series annually brings national and regional writers to the IUPUI campus to present their work.