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Alison Bechdel

Drawing Lessons: The Comics of Everyday Life

An illustration of a person sitting on the floor, sketching in a sketch book.

Thursday, October 7, 2021
8:00 pm


Virtual Event


Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Watch Video
Open to the public
Free of charge

Author of Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama, Fun Home: A Fam­ily Tragi­comic and the comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For, graphic nov­el­ist Ali­son Bechdel is pre­oc­cu­pied with the over­lap of the polit­i­cal and the per­sonal spheres.

Her 2012 mem­oir Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama delved into not just her rela­tion­ship with her own mother, but the the­o­ries of the 20th cen­tury British psy­cho­an­a­lyst Don­ald Winnicott.

In 2006 she pub­lished Fun Home: A Fam­ily Tragi­comic. Time mag­a­zine named it the Best Book of 2006. It was adapted into a musi­cal and it opened on Broad­way at the Cir­cle in the Square The­ater on April 19, 2015, and won five Tony Awards, includ­ing Best Musical.”

While Dykes to Watch Out For was an explic­itly com­­mu­nity-based and polit­i­cally engaged project, her deeply inti­mate mem­oirs about her father’s life before gay rights and her mother’s life before the women’s move­ment turn a micro­scopic lens on the inter­nal mech­a­nisms of oppres­sion and liberation.

Her most recent book, The Secret to Super­hu­man Strength (May 2021), con­tin­ues her inves­ti­ga­tion of the rela­tion­ship between inside and out­side, in this case the out­side where she skis, bikes, hikes, and wan­ders in pur­suit of fit­ness and, inci­den­tally, self-transcendence.

The recip­i­ent of a Guggen­heim Fel­low­ship, Bechdel has drawn comics for Slate, McSweeney’s, The New York Times Book Review, and Granta.

This event is a spe­cial lim­ited archival release of con­tent never before shared online. 

How to Watch

This Penny Stamps Speaker Series event will pre­mière on Octo­ber 7, 2021 and can be viewed on this page, at dptv​.org, or on the Penny Stamps Series Face­book page. This talk will be avail­able for a lim­ited period, from Thurs­day, Octo­ber 7‑Thursday, Octo­ber 28, 2021 (three weeks).

Pre­sented in part­ner­ship with the Insti­tute for the Human­i­ties. Our Fall 2021 Series is brought to you with the sup­port of our part­ners, Detroit Pub­lic Tele­vi­sion and PBS Books.