ACCLAIMED GRAPHIC NOVELIST ALISON BECHDEL AND SHAKESPEARE EXPERT JAMES SHAPIRO HEADLINERS AT PURCHASE COLLEGE LECTURE SERIES OCTOBER 17 AND 24
(Purchase, NY, September 19, 2012) …. Controversy comes in different shapes and sizes, and this fall it will appear in the form of two thought-provoking lectures at Purchase College, SUNY, when authors Alison Bechdel and James Shapiro discuss their latest books as part of the Royal and Shirley Durst Distinguished Lecture and the Burt Sachs Memorial Lecture programs respectively in October. Both lectures are free and open to the public.
Bechdel is a best-selling graphic novelist and author of the cartoon strip Dykes to Watch Out For. Her graphic memoirs delve into her complex family relationships. Shapiro is a Shakespeare scholar who debunks authorship myths surrounding the Bard's canon of work. Both are certain to raise a few eyebrows.
Bechdel is the author of Fun Home, TIME magazine’s Number One Book of the Year, and the newly released Are You My Mother?, which is the subject of her Royal and Shirley Durst Distinguished Lecture on October 17th at 4:30 pm in Purchase College’s Performing Arts Center. Are You My Mother? addresses the complicated relationship the author has with her mother, who one critic described as having an “exacting, prickly, intelligent, vulnerable voice…every bit as strong as the author’s.” Bechdel’s illustrations animate the narrative, which reveals her family’s dark side, from what could have been a lengthy, analytic narrative into bite-sized, comic book anecdotes. As reviewer Margot Harrison said: “This is not a book one can or should race through: it is a book that intertwines itself with the reader’s own thoughts, struggles and dreams.”
The following week, James Shapiro, author of the 2010 Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare?,” will be the speaker for the second annual Burt Sachs Memorial Lecture at Purchase College. A prominent Shakespearean expert and Larry Miller Professor of English at Columbia University, Shapiro will speak about Contested Will, which is “the first full-length discussion of the big authorship question by a Shakespeare pro in 100 years, and maybe the first ever. Well worth the wait,” wrote Ward Elliot in The LA Times, who added that “Shapiro is a powerful, engaging writer with a gift for connecting great generalities and illustrating them with telling examples.” In this lecture, titled ‘Unraveling Shakespeare’s Lives,’ Shapiro debunks the notion that Shakespeare’s canon was written by others. The lecture will be held in the Red Room at the Student Services Building, Purchase College, on October 24 at 4:30 p.m.
“We are truly thrilled to have Alison Bechdel and James Shapiro discuss their works,” said Louise Yelin, chair of the School of Humanities and a literature professor at Purchase College. “They speak with clarity and humor, and are endlessly fascinating – a real treat for all who will attend. Because of the caliber of speakers we’ve attracted, these lecture series have become a tradition that complements our programs in creative writing, dramatic writing, journalism, and literature, along with our Writers Center.”
Purchase College, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) network of 64 universities and colleges, was founded in 1967 by Governor Nelson Rockefeller. His aspirations for Purchase were to combine on one campus conservatory training in the visual and performing arts with programs in the liberal arts and sciences. Today, Purchase College, SUNY is a community of students, faculty, and friends where open-minded engagement with the creative process leads to a lifetime of intellectual growth and professional opportunity. For more information about the College, visit www.purchase.edu.