Lynda Barry calls herself "an accidental professor," but she began her career as an accidental cartoonist in the 1970's, when Evergreen State College classmate Matt Groening published her comics in the school paper without her knowledge. Barry's weekly strip Ernie Pook's Comeek went on to enjoy a thirty-year run in alternative newspapers and led to a series of illustrated novels, including The Good Times Are Killing Me which Barry adapted for the stage in 1990.
Lynda Barry became a mentor to young (and not-so-young) creatives, with her how-to books What It Is, Picture This, Syllabus, and the recent Making Comics. Meanwhile, her Writing the Unthinkable workshops have become popular throughout the U.S. and Canada. She now makes her home near Madison, Wisconsin, where she is Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Creativity at the University of Wisconsin. In 2019, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" fellowship for extraordinary originality and dedication to the arts.