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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
Open to the public
Free of charge
Watch Video

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.


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Content Notice

In accordance with the University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guidelines on Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series does not censor our speakers or their content. The content provided is intended for adult audiences and does not reflect the views of the University of Michigan or Detroit Public Television.