Prominent Jewish Women Graphic Novelists to Present Lectures, Workshops

Jewish graphic novelists Leela Corman, Sarah Glidden and Liana Finck and Israeli cartoonist and comics historian Keren Katz will present talks on their work and take part in a panel discussion at several area venues from June 16-19. In addition, the artists will offer four days of workshops on writing and drawing comics and graphic novels to high school, college and graduate students and recent graduates who would like to learn more about creating their own comics.

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” by the Austin American-Statesman and “subtly feminist and thoroughly fascinating” by the 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.

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,” according to the los Angeles Times, with “bright, delicate watercolors that belie our heroine's unresolved struggle with history and heritage,” said 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 that recounts the story of the journalists and their work reporting on the fallout of the War on Terror, will be published in 2015 by Drawn & Quarterly.

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.

Katz is a 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.

The artists will appear in four consecutive evening events, all at 7 p.m. as follows:

  • Glidden will speak and sign copies of “How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less” on Tuesday, June 17 at Modern Myths, 34 Bridge St. # 4, in Northampton, For information, call 582-6973.
  • Finck will tak about her work and sign copies of A Bintel Brief” at Amherst Books, 8 Main St. For information, call 256-1547.
  • A panel discussion on Jewish women and the graphic novel, moderated by Keren Katz, will be held on Wednesday, June 18 in the Cape Cod Lounge in the Student Union. 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.

As a prelude to the Jewish Women’s Graphic Novel Seminar and Workshop Series, the Yiddish Book Center will host an opening lecture on “The Jewish Tradition in American Comic Art” by N. C. Christopher Couch, Visiting Posen Professor of Jewish Secular Culture in Judaic and Near Eastern studies.

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 a.m. to 2 p.m. from June 16-19 at the Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies. 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, e-mail the chair of the organizing committee for the event at

The 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, sexuality studies are free and open to the public and wheelchair accessible. For more information, e-mail or call (347) 206-8974.