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Cartoonist, author Alison Bechdel to visit West campus

Alison Bechdel
September 05, 2013

Alison Bechdel, whose groundbreaking graphic memoir “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” was named Best Book of 2006 by Time Magazine, will speak at ASU’s West campus on Sept. 17. The 7 p.m. event in the La Sala Ballroom is free and open to the public; visitor parking on campus at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road costs $2 per hour.

After speaking, Bechdel will take questions from the audience and sign copies of her books.

Bechdel also is the author of “Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama” and the comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For.”

“Dykes” was described as “one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period,” by Ms. Magazine. It ran regularly in more than 50 LGBT publications in North America and the United Kingdom. Many award-winning collections of “Dykes” were published in book form by an independent feminist press, and were translated into several languages.

Bechdel gained wider recognition for her work with the publication in 2006 of “Fun Home.” It was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in addition to its recognition by Time Magazine. Time called the tightly architected investigation into her closeted bisexual father’s suicide “a masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other.”

After setting aside “Dykes to Watch Out For” in 2008, Bechdel began devoting herself full-time to autobiographical work. Her second graphic memoir, “Are You My Mother,” was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2012.

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.

Bechdel also is the recipient of a 2012-13 Guggenheim Fellowship.

“Alison is extremely engaging both as a writer and a speaker, and we are pleased to offer Valley residents the opportunity to meet her in person,” said Jeff Kennedy, artistic director for ASU’s West campus and a faculty member in the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, the core college on the West campus.

Details about this and other upcoming events at ASU’s West campus may be found online at, on Facebook @ asuwestevents or by calling the Arts Information line at (602) 543-2787.

Bechdel’s visit also is part of Project Humanities “Humor…Seriously!” Fall 2013 Kickoff Week, with events being held on all four Phoenix-area campuses of ASU. The schedule of events may be found at Project Humanities’ Facebook page is @ projecthumanities.