AMHERST, Mass – Four outstanding Jewish women graphic novelists are coming to the University of Massachusetts to present talks on their work, and to offer four days of workshops on writing and drawing comics and graphic novels. Leela Corman (Unterzakhin), Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less), Liana Finck (A Bintel Brief, Love and Longing in Old New York), and Israeli cartoonist and comics historian Keren Katz will present talks on their work and a panel on Jewish women graphic novelists on four consecutive days at 7 PM at four venues, from Monday, June 16th through Thursday, June 19th.
In addition, the artists will offer four days of workshops on writing and drawing comics and graphic novels, free and open to high school and college and graduate students and recent graduates who would like to learn more about creating their own comics. The workshops will be from 10 AM to 2 PM, from Monday, June 16th to Thursday, June 19th.
Leela Corman’s most recent graphic novel, Unterzakhn, the story of two sisters in the Jewish immigrant world of New York’s Lower East Side in the 1910s, has been called “haunting and often heartbreaking” (Austin Statesman) and “subtly feminist and thoroughly fascinating” (Sacramento News & Review). Corman’s senior thesis at the Massachusetts College of Art won a Xeric Grant and was published as her first graphic novel. She is a successful illustrator whose work has appeared in books on urban gardening, the New York Times, Bust Magazine, and Tablet. She is also a Middle Eastern dancer.
Sarah Glidden is a graphic novelist, illustrator, and cartoon journalist whose acclaimed book, How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, recounting her Birthright trip to the Middle East, is an “intrepid if relentless quest for cultural understanding” (L.A. Times) with “bright, delicate watercolors that belie our heroine's unresolved struggle with history and heritage” (Publishers Weekly). A graduate of Boston University, Glidden traveled to Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria with the journalism collective the Seattle Globalist. Rolling Blackouts, a graphic novel which recounts the story of the journalists and their work reporting on the fallout of the War on Terror, will be published by Drawn & Quarterly in 2015.
Liana Finck’s first graphic novel, A Bintel Brief, Love and Longing in Old New York, based on the advice to Jewish immigrants column in the Yiddish newspaper Forverts, was exhibited last year at the Yiddish Book Center. The New York Times said it’s “like Lost in Translation set to klezmer… an invaluable sooty window onto life on the Lower East Side.” A graduate of New York’s Cooper Union, Finck began cartooning during a year-long Fulbright scholarship in Belgium, won a Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists, and has published cartoons and illustrations in the New Yorker, Tablet, the Forward, and has created book covers for several publishers.
Keren Katz is an Israeli cartoonist, poet, and comic historian who has spoken on the history of Israeli comics at a variety of colleges and universities and is currently assisting Richard McGuire on the graphic novel Here. She is a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Tel Aviv, where she studied with Rutu Modan, and the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program at the School of Visual Arts. Her illustrations have been published by the New York Times, Brooklyn Rail, Einayim Magazine for Children, Achbar Ha-Ir, Carrier Pigeon, and Seven Stories Press.
A panel discussion on Jewish women and the graphic novel, moderated by Keren Katz, will be held on Wednesday, June 18th in the Cape Cod Lounge, in the Student Union Building on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The panel will include both artists and scholars specializing in Jewish women’s studies and graphic novels. The participating artists will sign copies of their graphic novels at the event.
The four artists will offer four days of workshops on writing and drawing comics and graphic novels open to high school, college and graduate students and recent graduates. The workshops will be from 10 AM to 2 PM, from Monday, June 16th to Thursday, June 19th, and all will be held at the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, 758 N Pleasant St. at Governors Dr., in Amherst, (413) 835-0221, www.umass.edu/ihgms. Art supplies will be provided, and no previous experience in comics is required. Any student who is interested in this artistic medium is welcome, and students may attend any or all of the workshops. To register, email the chair of the organizing committee for the event @ nccouch@gmailcom.
As a prelude to the Jewish Women’s Graphic Novel Seminar and Workshop Series, the Yiddish Book Center will host an opening lecture by N. C. Christopher Couch, Visiting Posen Professor of Jewish Secular Culture, Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst on Sunday evening, June 15th, at 7 PM entitled “The Jewish Tradition in American Comic Art.”
These events, sponsored by the Posen Foundation for the Study of Jewish Secularism; the Department of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies; the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies; the Department of Art, Architecture, and Art History; the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; and the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are free, open to the public and wheelchair accessible. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 347-206-8974.