News and Reviews

Fun Home: The Musical

Dana Piccoli interviews me for Afterellen. November 12, 2013.

Nice WSJ interview with Lisa Kron, Jeanine Tesori, and Sam Gold about adapting Fun Home for the stage. 9/30/2013.

June Thomas on Slate’s LGBTQ blog: Is America Ready for a Musical About a Butch Lesbian? 10/8/2013

Hilton Als in The New Yorker on uptown vs. downtown theater. October 2013.

Are You My Mother?

A lengthy interview with Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter, December 2012.

“The Mom Problem.” Heather Love reviews Are You My Mother? on Public Books.

A conversation with Maud Newton. April 2012.

On Essay Daily, Barrie Borich claims Are You My Mother? for the essay.

“Drawn Together,” Katie Roiphe reviews my new book in the New York Times Book Review. 4/27/12.

A review of my book, Guy DeLisle’s Jerusalem and John Backderf’s creepy My Friend Dahmer, by one of my favorite editorial cartoonists, Dan Wasserman, in the Boston Globe.

A little video of me talking with Chris Farley at the Wall Street Journal.

Katherine Dunn in The Oregonian, “For an artist and her mother, a complicated kind of love.” 5/5/12.

David Hains in Toronto Xtra, 5/5/12. “A Graphic Life.”

“The mother of all memoirs: Alison Bechdel’s touching letter to a parent.” Mark Medley in Canada’s National Post, 5/4/12.

An interview in Time Out Chicago which I’m only linking here to correct the record. Contrary to what this piece says, my book Fun Home was not nominated for a National Book Award.

A nice short piece by John McMurtrie in the San Francisco Chronicle, 5/6/12.

Jim Higgins in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Author Bechdel finds story of her mother, herself in pictures. 5/4/12.

An interview with Peter Terzian on The Paris Review Daily, 5/9/12.

Tirdad Derakhshani in The Philadelphia Inquirer, “Graphic memoir an exercise in exorcism.” 5/3/12.

“Artist, Draw Thyself (and Your Mother and Therapist)” by Dwight Garner in the daily New York Times, 5/2/12.

LambdaLiterary.org interview with Sassafras Lowry, 5/6/12.

Cool little promo video that my publisher made.

Shauna Miller on TheAtlantic.com “Alison Bechdel’s Sad, Funny, Sprawling Graphic Memoir” 5/1/2012

Nicolas Mancusi on The Daily Beast, 4/30/12.

Kathryn Schultz reviews my new book and Jeanette Winterson’s memoir in New York Magazine. 4/1/2012.

Video and TV

A memorial tribute to Adrienne Rich at MIT on October 28, 2012. Here’s a YouTube video of my bit. And here are videos of the other readers. Joni Seager, Robin Becker, Eveylnn Hammonds, Adrienne’s son Pablo Conrad, Cynthia Enloe, Kate Rushin.

An interview I did for a UNESCO project called City of Literature which I don’t really understand but it includes a great series of interviews with writers called “On the Fly.” November, 2010.

A video interview with me by Eva Sollberger for her series “Stuck in Vermont” for the Seven Days newspaper website. December, 2008.

A nicely produced little segment that a German TV show did about me. They came to Vermont and everything.

A video about my drawing process that I made as part of the promotional materials for Fun Home.

Here’s a video of my presentation for The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For at the Booksmith in San Francisco, on November 10, 2008. This is on a great site called fora.tv. They videotape all kinds of public talks and speeches.

Watch AB on the local VT news, 05/2007. Part of a series on cartoonists who live in Vermont.

I explain my drawing process on MiND TV, a Philadelphia program. Some time in 2006 or 7.

A 5-minute video of my visit to Rutgers University as part of the Writers at Rutgers Reading Series. 03/2008.

The Bechdel Test

My ancient comic strip from 1985 “The Rule,” which offers a gauge to evaluate movies for gender bias, has in recent years gone a little viral. The rule itself was not my idea, but my friend Liz Wallace’s. Nothing I do seems to detach my name from the test though—in accordance with Stigler’s Law of Eponymy.

Here’s an explanatory video by Feminist Frequencies:

The blog She Said, She Said, April 2011

The Test also gets a mention in this New Yorker article by Tad Friend on Anna Farris. But you have to be a digital subscriber to read it. It’s the April 11, 2011 issue.

The Bechdel Test Movie List

Awards

Fun Home won the 2006 Publishing Triangle’s Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award, a Lambda Book Award, an Eisner award, and the Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Nonfiction Award from the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table. It was also nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award.

Time, 12/25/06, #1 Best Book of the Year
New York Times, 12/3/06, 100 Notable Books of 2006
Entertainment Weekly, 12/22/06, Best Books of the Year, #1 Nonfiction
People, 12/25/06, Top 10 Books of the Year
USA Today, 12/21/06, Best Graphic Title of 2006
Los Angeles Times, 12/10/06, Favorite Books of 2006, Fiction and Poetry
San Francisco Chronicle, 12/17/06, The Year’s Best Books
New York Magazine, 12/18/06, Best Books of the Year, #7
Time Out New York, 12/06, Favorite Books of the Year
Minneapolis Star Tribune, 11/24/06, Best Books of 2006
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 12/3/06, Best Books of 2006
The Plain Dealer, 12/10/06, Outstanding Books of 2006
Salon, 12/12/06, Best Debuts of 2006, Nonfiction
The Capital Times, 12/12/06, 2006 Favorites
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 12/15/06, Best of Year
Out, 12/2006, 100 Most Intriguing People of 2006
Amazon.com, Editor’s Choice, Top 50 Books of 2006, Top 10 Memoirs of 2006
Oregonian, 12/31/06, Best Books of 2006, #2
The Advocate, 1/07, Best Book of the Year
The Guardian (UK), 11/26/06, Pick of 2006
New York Blade, 12/29/06, Literary Stand Outs of 2006
PW Comics Week, Critic’s Poll, Best Comic Book of 2006
Publishers Weekly, Best Books of the Year 2006
Times (UK), 12/16/06, Best Books of 2006, #10
Newsday, 1/2/07, Favorite Books of 2006
The Village Voice, 25 Favorite Books of 2006

Salon names Fun Home one of ten best nonfiction books of the decade. December 9, 2009.

Fun Home is number seven on Entertainment Weekly’s Best Books of the Decade list. Dec. 3, 2009.

Fun Home makes The Onion AV Club’s best comics of the ’00s list. And here’s a long, thoughtful critique of the AV Club list from Comic Book Resources. November, 2009

Fun Home makes The London Times’ top 100 books of the decade list, clocking in at a staggering 42.

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For won the 2008 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction.

Profiles, interviews, and other stuff

AB answers a few stray questions on Paper Cuts, a New York Times blog on books by Dwight Garner, the senior editor of The Book Review. July 2007.

How I Told My Mother About My Memoir. Slate’s Memoir Week, 2007.

A piece about The Essential Dykes To Watch Out For by Cathy Resmer, who used to be my assistant, for Seven Days, Vermont’s alternative weekly paper. 12/17/08.

A piece in the NY Times about the San Diego Comic Con, “We’re all Geeks Here.” There’s a small mention of me. August 1, 2007.

A nice article in the Guardian about the UK release of Essential Dykes. By Emma Brockes, 12/1/08.

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For in Paper Cuts, the New York Times book blog, by Jennifer Balderama, November 25, 2008.

A career update interview with Comic Book Resources, April 2009.

Transatlantica, spring 2007. By Anne Cremieux.

The Village Voice, July 11, 2006. By Hillary Chute.

Seven Days, Burlington, VT. May 31, 2006. By Margot Harrison.

Q Notes, Charlotte NC. By Gregg Shapiro.

Hillgirlz, the Bay Area. By Pat Tong.

Audio Interviews and Conversations

How to pronounce my name.

The Essential DTWOF interview with Bat Segundo. Edward Champion, November 17, 2008. Check this out, if only for the first 30 seconds of his hilarious introduction.

KPFA’s Morning Show. Berkeley. Toward the end of this show, I have a long rambling interview with the very charming and erudite Andrea Lewis. July 13, 2007.

Vermont Public Radio. Neal Charnoff, July 10, 2006.

The Bat Segundo Show. Edward Champion, June 11, 2006. This guy is a trip!

“Subjects Discussed: The meaning of “tragicomic,” Nabokov, Charles Addams, on how the funeral home component of Fun Home has been overlooked, on hitting a wall with words , the advantages of “visual writing,” Michael Lesy’s Time Frames: The Meaning of Family Pictures, Fun Home as a mystery, using maps and annotations in panels to create structure and ambiguity, the presentation of Bechdel’s father, Dykes to Watch Out For, on selling Fun Home to Houghton Mifflin, the influence of graphic novels, Maus, Harvey Pekar, uncouth forms of madeleine tea, ancient computer modems, rotoscoping, Ralph Bakshi, cross-hatching, analog vs. digital illustration, typesetting, Proust, Camus, the use of ten-cent words in comics, on posing in photographs for visual reference, Six Feet Under, Jill Soloway’s Los Angeles Times review, and literary respectability for comics.”

KQED’s Forum. June 12, 2006.

A podcast interview with J. Robert Lennon, who does an interview series called Writers at Cornell. 04/2008

Weekend Edition with Liane Hansen. July 2, 2006.

Progressive Radio Show. July 7, 2006. An in-depth conversation with Progressive editor Matt Rothschild.

Academic articles

Judith Gardiner of the University of Illinois writes about Dykes To Watch Out For and Fun Home in an essay called “Queering Genre.” It’s in the Journal of Ludicrous Queer Theory…oh, no, I’m wrong it’s in the Oxford Journal of Contemporary Women’s Writing.

Blogosphere

Guttergeek, the discontinuous review of graphic narrative. Sept. 2006 review by Michael Moon.

I did this interview on the literary site Beatrice.com with Jessica Abel. We talked about my memoir Fun Home and her recent graphic novel La Perdida.

My friend, writer Susan Stinson, posted a lovely review of Fun Home in her LiveJournal. Yeah, okay, she’s my friend, but still. May 23, 2006.

The Copacetic Comics Company also did a great review.

Reviews

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For reviewed in The Times (UK). By Melissa Katsoulis, December 13, 2008.

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For gets a big splashy rave in the NY Times. Dwight Garner, Dec. 3, 2008.

The Times (London) March 4, 2007. This isn’t a review per se, but an article about the graphic novel genre which says some very nice stuff about Fun Home. By Bryan Appleyard.

I find Bechdel the best. Graphically, she is genuinely innovative. Her use of maps to show the geography of the action is quite brilliant. She is also a gifted storyteller. Fun Home is replete with the deep narrative tension of a very good novel.

The New York Times Book Review, June 18, 2006. By Sean Wilsey.

The Times (London), September 16, 2006. By Margaret Reynolds.

The Times (London), November 25, 2006. Neel Mukherjee.

THE GRAPHIC BOOK OF the Year is incontestably Alison Bechdel’s unflinching, multilayered memoir of growing up in small-town Pennsylvania, Fun Home…

Salon.com June 4, 2006. By Douglas Wolk.

“Fun Home” is a beautiful, assured piece of work, by far the best thing Bechdel has done in over two decades as a cartoonist. Her language and drawings are impressively sensitive to the details of her physical experience and to the trickier folds of her own self-consciousness; she dives over and over into the cloudy waters of her past, swimming deeper every time.

The Capital Times, Madison WI. June 30, 2006. By Rob Thomas.

Playback:stl (St. Louis) A nice review by Byron Kerman, 05/2007.

USA Today, May 30, 2006. By Deirdre Donohue. May 30, 2006.

Perhaps comic book devotees are right. The great writing of the 21st century might very well be found in graphic novels and non-fiction. Graphic in both content and style, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home is an astonishing advertisement for this emerging literary form.

The Oregonian, Portland, OR. June 11, 2006. By Steve Duin.

Such language and imagery should be encouragement alone for you to get lost in the “Fun Home,” but because this is a graphic novel, those sentiments are also captions on illustrations. In Bechdel’s hands, that relationship between narrative and illustration is complex and ever-changing, often seeming to be at cross-purposes until the novelist brings them, through creative will, into harmonious union.

The Stranger, Seattle WA. July 20, 2006. By Tom Nissley.

LA Times, June 4, 2006. By Jill Soloway (interestingly, co-executive producer and writer on Six Feet Under)

The Star-Tribune in Minneapolis ran a nice joint review of Fun Home and artbabe Jessica Abel’s graphic novel La Perdida. May 19, 2006. The link seems to be dead now. But here’s a nice quote:

This work is as forcefully felt a memoir as any yet published in comics, but, more than this, it has a strong claim to being the single most culturally sophisticated work yet produced in this genre.

A review in Between the Lines, Detroit’s LGBT newspaper. June 1, 2006.

A review by Andrew Arnold on Time.com, along with a review of Miriam Katin’s holocaust memoir, We Are On Our Own. June 1, 2006.

The Simon, August 31, 2006. By Alan Williams.

Unlinkable mentions

Ms. In the spring 2006 issue, there’s a nice short review of Fun Home:

If Vladimir Nabokov had been a lesbian feminist graphic novelist, he might have produced something like this witty, erudite memoir. The author of the cult comic strip “Dykes To Watch Out For” shows us the snub-nosed young Alison navigating her parents’ gothic mansion, her father’s secrets and her own coming out.

Bitch ran an interview with me in their Summer 2006 issue. It’s by Andi Zeisler, titled American Gothic. There’s also a great interview in there with my friend Judith Levine about her new book Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping.

Entertainment Weekly, June 2 2006 issue. Jennifer Reese reviewed the book.

Just when I thought I couldn’t take another dysfunctional childhood memoir . . . along comes Alison Bechdel’s FUN HOME, a splendid autobiography in the refreshingly tart (and svelte!) form of a comic book. . . . More than the witty art, more than the mordant prose, it is [her] openness that distinguishes Bechdel’s generous and intelligent work. Unlike so many memoirs, this one never tries to set the record straight, and while FUN HOME takes only a couple of hours to read, it has a depth and sweetness few can match at five times the length.

Time Magazine included Fun Home in a list of “5 Memoirs That Are Worth Your Time,” which also included books by Julia Child, Roger Angell, Edmund White, and Howell Raines. Dang! I don’t know how long this link will last…and you have to click through to page two to see my book. May 21, 2006.