Alison Bechdel

photo credit Elena-Seibert

Alison Bechdel

Past Event: Thursday, October 22, 2015

At Town Hall Seattle

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Women You Need to Know

Seattle Arts & Lectures and Hedgebrook Present WYNK. Sponsored by Women's Funding Alliance. Event Sponsor: The Pride Foundation.

Alison Bechdel is an internationally beloved cartoonist whose darkly humorous graphic memoirs, astute writing and evocative drawings have forged an unlikely intimacy with a wide and disparate range of readers.

For twenty-five years, from 1983 to 2008 Alison self-syndicated Dykes to Watch Out For. The award-winning generational chronicle has been called “one of the pre-eminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period” by Ms. Magazine.

In 2006 she published Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. Time magazine named it the Best Book of the year, describing 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.” Fun Home was a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award and was adapted into an award winning musical that opened Off-Broadway in 2013. The Broadway opening was April 19th at the Circle in the Square Theater. The play won a 2015 Tony for Best Musical. Critic Ben Brantley from the New York Times glowingly wrote, “I can’t think of a recent musical — or play, for that matter — that has done a better job at finding theatrical expression for the wayward dynamics of remembering.”

Alison is preoccupied with the overlap of the political and the personal spheres, the relationship of the self to the world outside. 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. According to the New York Times, “there’s a lucidity to Bechdel’s work that in certain ways … bears more resemblance to poetry than to the dense, wordy introspection of most prose memoirs.”

Alison’s comics have appeared in numerous publications including; The New Yorker, SlateMcSweeney’s, The New York Times Book Review, and Granta. Her work is widely translated and she was the recipient of a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship.

In 2014 she received a MacArthur “Genius” Grant. In their citation the MacArthur Foundation noted that Alison “is changing our notions of the contemporary memoir and expanding the expressive potential of the graphic form.”

Alison lives in Vermont, where she is a Marsh Professor at Large at the University of Vermont.


Selected Works

Graphic Novels
Are You My Mother? (2012) – Winner of the 2013 Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction
The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For (2008) – Winner of the 2008 Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction
Fun Home (2006) – Winner of multiple awards including the 2006 Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award, a Lamdba Book Award, and the Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Nonfiction Award from the American Library Association’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table.

Stage Production
Fun Home – 2015 Tony Award for Best Musical, 2013 Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the winner of multiple awards including the Off Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Musical, New York Drama’s Circle Award for Best Musical, multiple Lucille Lortel Awards, and Obie Award for Musical Theater

The New York Times Magazine: Alison Bechdel Misses Feeling Special
Dykes to Watch Out For
Lesbian Desire, a Father’s Suicide and 12 Tony Noms: Alison Bechdel on ‘Fun Home’
The New York Times: Review: ‘Fun Home’ at the Circle in the Square Theater
Exclusive: Alison Bechdel on the Bechdel Test and the new “Fun Home” musical
The New York Times: Artist, Draw Thyself (and Your Mother and Therapist)

Event Details

Town Hall Seattle

1119 8th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.


Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing losses, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. To make a request for open captioning, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10. Please note: for events at Town Hall Seattle, we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure captioning services.

Assisted Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Town Hall Seattle has a hearing loop system, so you can switch your T-coil hearing aid to telecoil to have the stage’s microphones transmitted directly to your hearing aids. To pick up a headset, check in with any Town Hall usher when you arrive.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals. To make a request for ASL interpretation, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation.

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at Town Hall Seattle, which is fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Guide and service dogs are also welcome. Town Hall Seattle recommends that visitors use the 8th Avenue Entrance for events in the Great Hall, and elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. The venue has 18 all-gender restrooms, as well as ADA-accessible restrooms on the lobby and Forum level. For more details on accessibility features, click here.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at, or Monday-Thursday from 10:00am – 5:00pm, and Fridays from 10:00am – 1:00pm, at 206.621.2230×10.