Comics artist Rhea Ewing takes a loving look at the multifaceted nature of gender.
On this week’s episode, Rhea Ewing discusses Fine: A Comic About Gender (Liveright, April 5), which our review calls “a vital, richly textured resource for anyone seeking a better understanding of gender identity.” Ewing, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BFA in drawing and printmaking, began interviewing others about gender for a small summer project over a decade ago. That project became their 336-page nonfiction debut, representing more than 50 Midwesterners’ experiences with and thoughts on gender, rendered in images and words.
“In 2012, graphic artist Ewing, then a recent college graduate, joined a transgender support group to ‘speak honestly about this mixed-up thing called gender, to exist without a sense that I was failing at my part in life,’” Kirkus writes in a starred review. “After finding online resources too impersonal, the author began interviewing friends about gender and reaching out to LGBTQ+ centers for assistance. The intent was to understand their own gender ambivalence through the perspectives of others and figure out ‘why I am cut out of some spaces and invited into others.’”
Ewing and host Megan Labrise talk about how the book began as “a short comic capturing the essence of what gender is, how it works, and my place in it”; the many meaning of the word fine; why the first panels we see in the book feature landscapes, not people; the many joyful moments depicted in Fine; why Ewing chose to dedicate the book “to everyone who wonders if they are enough”; and much more.
But first, in a sponsored interview, Megan talks with young readers’ author Leslie Bulion, who’s known for bringing science to life in poetry and in prose. Her latest is Serengeti: Plains of Grass, which our reviewer calls a “charmingly illustrated and beautifully written” picture book, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander, is out now from Peachtree Books.
Then editors Laura Simeon, Mahnaz Dar, Eric Liebetrau, and Laurie Muchnick share their top picks in books for the week.
Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf (Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster)
Gibberish by Young Vo (Levine Querido)
Lessons From the Edge by Marie Yovanovitch (Mariner Books)
The Marquess Makes His Move by Diana Quincy (Avon/HarperCollins)
Also mentioned on this episode:
Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
The Day Saida Arrived by Susana Gómez Redondo and Sonja Wimmer, trans. by Lawrence Schimel (Blue Dot Kids Press)
Grey Bees by Andrey Kurkov, trans. by Boris Dralyuk (Deep Vellum)
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole (Avon/HarperCollins)
Fully Booked is produced by Cabel Adkins Audio and Megan Labrise.