Alison Bechdel, Fall 2009
Alison Bechdel was born in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania to a Roman Catholic family. Both of her parents were teachers and also owned and operated a funeral home. In 1981 Bechdel graduated from Oberlin College and moved to New York City. According to The Indelible Alison Bechdel, she began Dykes to Watch Out For as a single drawing labeled "Marianne, dissatisfied with the morning brew: Dykes to Watch Out For, plate no. 27." An acquaintance recommended she send her work to Womannews, which began to publish the strip regularly beginning with the July-August 1983 issue.
Dykes to Watch Out For is syndicated in dozens of newspapers and has been translated into several languages and collected in a series of award-winning books. Utne magazine has listed DTWOF as “one of the greatest hits of the twentieth century.” And Comics Journal says, “Bechdel’s art distills the pleasures of Friends and The Nation; we recognize our world in it, with its sorrows and ironies.”Bechdel has also done exclusive work for a vast array of publications including Ms., Slate, and the Advocate.
In 2006, Houghton Mifflin published her graphic memoir, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. This autobiographical graphic novel chronicles Bechdel’s childhood and the years before and after her father’s death. This bestselling coming-of-age story has been called a “mesmerizing feat of familial resurrection” and a “rare, prime example of why graphic novels have taken over the conversation about American literature.” Fun Home has received widespread mainstream attention, with reviews in Entertainment Weekly, People and several features in the New York Times. Fun Home spent two weeks on the New York Times' Hardcover Nonfiction bestseller list. Fun Home has been hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by numerous sources, including The New York Times, amazon.com, the Times of London, Publishers Weekly, Salon.com, New York magazine, and Entertainment Weekly.
Fun Home was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award, in the memoir/autobiography category. It also won the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work. Fun Home was also nominated for the Best Graphic Album award, and Bechdel was nominated for Best Writer/Artist.
Bechdel currently lives near Burlington, Vermont.