Author-Illustrator Alison Bechdel To Deliver Paumanok Lecture at LIU

January 26, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Alison Bechdel, internationally acclaimed lesbian cartoonist and New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, will deliver LIU’s annual “Starting from Paumanok” lecture on American literature and culture at the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts on the LIU Brooklyn campus. The event will be held Thursday, Feb. 23, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

At the age of 10, Alison Bechdel began keeping a journal, and has been assiduously archiving her own life and times with words and pictures ever since. For a quarter-century, she wrote and drew the comic strip, “Dykes to Watch Out For,” a generational chronicle considered “one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period,” by Ms. Magazine.

She is also the author of a graphic novel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, published by Houghton Mifflin in 2006. Fun Home spent two weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list. Time Magazine named it Book of the Year, calling the memoir about Bechdel’s father, “A masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other.”

In 2008, Bechdel retired her self-syndicated comic strip, “Dykes to Watch Out For,” to write and draw a second memoir that will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2012. This spring, Bechdel will be a Mellon Fellow at the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at the University of Chicago.

“Alison Bechdel is one of the most acclaimed, fearless, innovative and exciting graphic memoirists working today,” said LIU Brooklyn English Professor Jessica Hagedorn. “She will have a lot to say to our students about the power of storytelling.”

The lecture takes its name from a Walt Whitman poem that first appeared in the 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass. Its title invokes the Native American word for Long Island and acknowledges the university’s geographic and cultural connection to one of Brooklyn’s (and Long Island’s) foremost literary figures.

Since its inauguration in 1983, the “Starting from Paumanok” lecture has featured scholars, playwrights and literary luminaries, including Lynn Nottage, Walter Mosley, Colson Whitehead, Ed Bullins, Edward Said and Elizabeth Hardwick.

This year’s event is funded by the John McGrath Fund and the Mellon Fund and is co-sponsored by the LIU Brooklyn English Department’s MFA Program in Creative Writing, the Voices of the Rainbow reading series (English Department), the LIU Brooklyn Gender Studies program and Greenlight Bookstore.


LIU Brooklyn is located at Flatbush and DeKalb avenues in Downtown Brooklyn. For more information, call (718) 488-1015.

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