Alison Bechdel has been named one of this year’s MacArthur Foundation grant winners, often known as a genius grant.
Bechdel was cited for being
…a cartoonist and graphic memoirist exploring the complexities of familial relationships in multilayered works that use the interplay of word and image to weave sophisticated narratives. Bechdel’s command of sequential narrative and her aesthetic as a visual artist was established in her long-running comic strip, Dykes to Watch Out For (1983–2008), which realistically captured the lives of women in the lesbian community as they influenced and were influenced by the important cultural and political events of the day.
The grant confers not only recognition as a leading thinker, but a stipend of 625,000, paid in quarterly installments over five years. Recipients are chosen for their future potential and the grant allows is intended to “encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.”
Bechdel’s achievements in furthering the medium of the graphic novel—and her immense potential for future work—indeed makes her a worthy recipient. As if being a great cartoonist wasn’t enough, the musical adaptation of her book, Fun Home is coming to Broadway next April.
Cartoonist Ben Katchor was the first cartoonist to win a grant in 2000.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.