Visiting Writers Series: Lynda Barry
Lynda Barry is the Chazen Family Distinguished Chair in Art at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. In 1979 while pursuing a career as a painter, she began drawing a weekly comic strip that incorporated stories considered to be incompatible with comics at the time: stories, as Barry puts it, “that had a lot of trouble in them.” Widely credited with expanding the literary, thematic, and emotional range of American comics, Barry’s ground-breaking weekly strip, Ernie Pook's Comeek, ran for 30 years. Her graphic novel, What It Is, won the 2009 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work, and in 2016 she was inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame.
Barry has authored seventeen books, worked as a commentator for NPR, and had a regular monthly feature in Esquire, Mother Jones Magazine, and Mademoiselle, and on Salon.com. She created an album-length spoken word collection of stories called, The Lynda Barry Experience, and was a frequent guest on the Late Show with David Letterman.
She also adapted her novel The Good Times Are Killing Me into a long-running off-Broadway play. In 2008, her book One! Hundred! Demons! was required reading for all incoming freshmen at Stanford University. Her novel Cruddy has been translated into French, Italian, German, Catalan, and Hebrew. She is currently at work on an illustrated novel called Mr. Birdis and a documentary in comic book form about industrial scale wind farms in Wisconsin.