Hillary Chute, Expert on Graphic Novels and Memoirs

Hillary Chute, author of the book Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics, and associate editor of MetaMaus, with Art Spielgelman, will give a series of talks and workshops at University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa from October 23rd to October 26, 2013. Individual details are listed below. These events are co-sponsored by the Center for Biographical Research, UHM, and Pacific New Media, with generous support of the Sidney Stern Foundation.


I. Public Lecture—7:00 p.m. Wed., October 23rd, Art Auditorium


“Hiroshima and Auschwitz: the Post-War Comics Field and Documentary Form”


In this evening event, Chute will describe how cartoonists—especially survivor or second-generation survivor cartoonists—framed their lives in the 1970s which established comics globally as an urgent form of visual witness and changed the landscape of visual and popular culture. These hand-drawn visual traditions created the conditions for the emergence of contemporary comics with its legacies of urgent visual witnessing. A reception will follow.


II. Brownbag Biography Talk—12:00 p.m. Thurs., October 24th, Kuykendall 410


“Archiving Maus: MetaMaus as collaborative process”


In this noontime program, Chute will talk about her collaboration with Art Spiegelman, Pulitizer-Prize winning creator of Maus, on MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, a collection of oral histories, archival recordings, preparatory sketches, and critical materials that provide the most comprehensive archive of materials related to the creation of the world’s best-known graphic novel, and one of the most famous and compelling accounts of the Holocaust.


III. Outreach College Workshop 9:00-12:00, Sat. October 26th, UH Krauss Hall, Registration $50



“Making the Graphic Novel”


Based on her deep experience with cartoonists, “Making the Graphic Novel” will focus on how today’s most noted artists go about producing comics—and how their different approaches, practices, and attitudes matter to the meaning of their comics. It will also explain some of the recent trends in the field—and how comics are emerging in all sorts of spaces, from the classroom to the museum wall to the covers of magazines such as The New Yorker.


Hillary Chute Biography


Writer, professor, and editor Hillary Chute has worked extensively with today’s most famous graphic novelists. She is associate editor of Art Spiegelman’s award-winning MetaMaus: A Look Inside a Modern Classic, Maus (Pantheon, 2011), for which she collaborated closely with Spiegelman—arguably the world’s most acclaimed cartoonist—over a period of 6 years. In 2011, she and graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel (Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic; Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama) won a Mellon Award to teach a class together on comics and autobiography at the University of Chicago. Her book Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics (Columbia 2010) examines the graphic narrative work of five authors, including Alison Bechdel and Marjane Satrapi, arguing that the medium of comics has opened up new spaces for nonfiction narrative—particularly for expressing certain kinds of stories typically relegated to the realm of the private. Chute’s book Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists is set to appear in 2014; it includes her interviews with figures such as Lynda Barry, Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, Charles Burns, and Joe Sacco.


Her current book project, “Disaster is My Muse: Visual Witnessing, Comics, and Documentary Form,” deals with comics as documentary, and looks at the post-World War II environment in which Art Spiegelman in America and Keiji Nakazawa in Japan concurrently developed comics as a form for addressing the fallout of war, as well as exploring current graphic reportage by figures such as Joe Sacco on the Balkans and the Middle East. The Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in English at the University of Chicago, she has written for such publications as The Village Voice, The Believer, and Poetry.