A staff cartoonist for The New Yorker and author of When Do They Serve the Wine? The Folly, Fun and Flexibility of Being a Woman (Chronicle), Liza Donnelly was one of only three female cartoonists at The New Yorker when she began drawing for the magazine approximately 30 years ago. Her personal journey to success in a field dominated by men fuels her passion for the under-examined but crucial issue of freedom of creativity.
The personal is political for Liza, and she believes the struggle for human rights can be traced to the individual’s struggle for expression of self. Liza’s work exposes cultural stereotypes in all forms, not just in women’s rights, and she works with international cartoonists, curating exhibits and is editor of World Ink, a site dedicated to political cartoons from around the world.
In her interactive, multimedia lecture, Liza draws on her three decades as a cartoonist for The New Yorker, Liza speaks about the (sometimes joyful) struggle of finding one’s voice as an artist, framing it in terms of the need for creative space, “a room of one’s own,” free from cultural pressures. Using slides of her own work, Liza delivers a talk that is at once humorous and serious, discussing issues of sexism and the stereotypes women face as they search inside themselves for their own expression and for the freedom to be what they want to be and not what our culture expects.
Having taught Women’s Studies at Vassar College, Liza’s understanding of the issues is deep, and, combined with her personal story, her lecture provides a rich experience wherein the seriousness of the difficulties women face is delivered with humor. Liza is forever trying to dispel the notion that women do not have a sense of humor, and that through laughter, difficult issues can not only be addressed, but changed for the better.
As a world traveler passionate about political cartoons, Liza is uniquely positioned to lends her skills as a cartoonist, editor and writer to help audiences understand the power cartoons wield in to making sense of world events.
In her lecture/slide program, Liza speaks to the way this art form can communicate across borders with amazing power. Cartoons can visually distill global events in an instant, and particularly when drawn by women, they often enlighten in ways not heard of before. A member of Cartooning for Peace, and editor and creator of World Ink, a website devoted to international cartoons, Liza works with cartoonists from around the world. Given the role of women as tradition holders in each society, they have unique perspectives to bring to the table of political cartoons.
New Yorker Cartoons
Everyone loves New Yorker cartoons. As a contributor to The New Yorker for thirty years, Liza has a personal understanding of the art of the magazine, as well as friendships with many of the artists and editors. Author of “Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons” (Prometheus), which required years of research at The New Yorker and The New Yorker Archives, Liza has a deep understanding of the cartoons and cartoonists of the magazine, both as pieces of art but also in context of their time. An overview of the art form can reflect cultural trends, political events and social norms in a way that is unique. Liza speaks to the impact of cartoons on us as individuals, and of the manner in which they reflect on us as a society. With slides, she contrasts current cartoons with past ones, analyzing the changes in mores, styles and humor.
Author of numerous books, including Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons, Sex and Sensibility: Ten Women Examine the Lunacy of Modern Love…in 200 Cartoons, among others, Liza’s written work has also appeared in The Daily Beast, CNN.com, The New Yorker and elsewhere. Liza has spoken at TED, has been profiled on CBS Sunday morning, and has appeared on numerous radio shows . Liza recently curated a show of global political cartoons for TED, and online for CNN.com, and has taught “The Cultural History of Cartoons”, “Women and Humor” and Women’s Studies at Vassar College.