US: Alison Bechdel receives MacArthur ‘genius’ award

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Openly-gay graphic memoirist, Alison Bechdel, was awarded the MacArthur Foundation “genius” Grant this week.

Bechdel, best known for her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, joins Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defender’s Mary Bonauto as one of 21 recipients of the $625,000 (£381,000) MacArthur Foundation Award prize.

The news came to Bechdel while in Umbria, Italy on an artist’s residency.

In a tweet she said she was shocked and honored to be part of the 2014 roster of MacArthur Winners.

She wrote: “Proud and flabbergasted to be named a 2014 #MacFellow. Congrats to the full class.”

Recently, Bechdel’s third graphic memoir, The Secret to Superhuman Strength was acquired by Houghton Mifflin for a 2017 release.

In a statement regarding the acquisition of the new memoir, senior executive at Houghton Mifflin, Deanne Urmy said that Bechdel’s writing has helped to change the world.

She said: “Alison Bechdel’s sheer talent — now I guess we can say ‘genius’ — built on her once-strange pursuit of cartooning about lesbian subculture has changed the world just a little bit.”

Earlier this year a musical version of Bechdel’s graphic memoir Fun Home was staged at the Public Theatre in New York City starring Michael Cerveris and Judy Kuhn. The musical written by Jeanine Tesori and Lisa Kron will arrive on Broadway in the spring of 2015.