Alison Bechdel Receives MacArthur Grant; Unveils Third Memoir for 2017

No sooner was Alison Bechdel announced as one of the 21 people receiving the massively prestigious MacArthur Foundation Grant this year than the cartoonist announced her third memoir ‘The Secret to Superhero Strength’ is to be released in 2017.


Bechdel (whose name alone has become synonymous with a particular line of story critique/analysis in the form of ‘The Bechdel Test’ which examines the role played by women in any particular story) has been one of the most important figures for comics in the last decade. With ‘Dykes to Watch Out For’ and ‘Fun Home’, her work has become part of the literary canon – and essential reading for any fan of the medium. The announcement of her third memoir is therefore some of the biggest news of the year.

Also, if you’re paying attention to this sort of thing – you can say that the two biggest comic stories of the year (alongside the release of ‘Sisters’ by Raina Telgemeier) are both the release of new works from female comic makers.

‘The Secret to Superhero Strength’ will follow along with Bechdel’s life, but turns around the concept of American fitness and health – how different regimes come and go, and how Bechdel attempts to rekindle her creative side by getting involved in various exercise programmes. You can read more about it in this New York Times announcement article here.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish the book, which we can probably already assume will be the bestselling comic of 2017.

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