Lez Liberty Lit #57: Defining A Golden Age


At Dissent, Roxane Gay discusses what makes a novel a feminist novel:

“Feminism concerns the equality of women. When I say equality, I mean that women should be able to move through the world with the same ease as men. Women should be able to live in a society where their bodies are not legislated. They should be able to live their lives free from the threat of sexual violence. And when we consider the needs of women, it is imperative to also consider the other identities a woman inhabits. Feminism cannot merely be about gender; it must also be about equality in the fields of race and ethnicity, ability, sexuality, spirituality, class, and the many other markers of who we are.

A feminist novel, however, is not only about who we are; it must also be about how we live. It is a novel where the concerns of women and womanhood are the alpha and the omega of the narrative but it also deals explicitly with stories, with the lives of women.”

Cheryl Strayed and Benjamin Moser discuss whether we’re in a golden age for women essayists. Strayed writes: “I’m of the opinion that as long as we still have reason to wedge “women” as a qualifier before “essayist,” the age is not exactly golden. And yet it’s hard to deny there’s something afoot. Essayists who happen to be women are having a banner year.”

Kaya Thomas, the founder of We Read Too, an app that showcases literature for and by people of color, was interviewed at innov8tiv.

Many people don’t read women’s writing, as you will notice if you spend three years only reading women’s writing and receiving perplexed feedback about this that statistics confirm.

where we’re going we don’t need roads is an awesome newish zine of trans and queer writing.

“Hunger is the beginning of every story.”

Certain drinks pair really well with certain books.

Alice + Freda Together: A Murder in Memphis features lesbians in the 1890s, love, murder, mystery, and looks generally great.

I am still obsessed with Women in Clothes and will link to interviews about it forever.

The silly grammar mistakes you are correcting are not actually mistakes. Please proceed to boldly split infinitives. Language is fluid.

The Airship has a list of the best of recent Project Gutenberg.

English slang is weird.

Not all libraries involve books.

At the Toast, Mallory recommended some thematically appropriate Halloween reading in order of how easily scared you are.

There is something called The Penguin Book Of Witches and it shows that research on witch trials shows more about the era in which the research is conducted than the trials themselves.

If you want to be accused of being a witch in the modern era check out Bitch‘s preview of Science… For Her!.

Rebecca Solnit has some lovely things to say about reading and writing.

Reading difficult novels is really great and everyone should do it more.

I am fascinated by the Awl‘s ongoing coverage of content on the Internet and What Is Up With It, which some of you may argue is not literature, and others may argue is the only literature left.

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian wrote about why she hates Canadian nature poetry, and to her deep credit the answer is more complex than the simple truth, which is because it is the worst.

At Lambda Literary, Sarah Burghauser reviewed Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour. In an interview, Sarah Waters discussed The Paying Guests, moral complexity, the modern era and more. Anna Furtado reviewed The War Within by Yolanda Wallace.

At the Lesbrary, Casey reviewed Bi by Shiri Eisner. Nicole reviewed Afterworld by Lois Walden. Kalyanii reviewed How Still My Love by Diane Marina. Ellinor reviewed Little Black Dress by Linda Palund. Ashley reviewed The House You Pass On The Way by Jacqueline Woodson. July Westhale reviewed Blue Hanuman by Joan Larkin.

Recently on Autostraddle: Mey gave you comics-based costume ideas and wrote aboutGotham Central. She also discussed Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives.

Events To Watch Out For:

San Francisco, October 19: Diane di Prima is launching her new full-length poetry collection, The Poetry Deal, at Bird & Beckett (653 Chenery St.), 2 p.m.

Santa Fe, October 25: The 1st Annual Lambda Literary Authors Series will host a conversation between Ana Castillo, Andrew Holleran, and Justin Torres (The Armory for The Arts Theater, 1050 Old Pecos Trail), 7 p.m.

Know of a queer event with literary merit? Send it to us! The Liberty Lit is bi-weekly.

What We’re Reading:

Carolyn: I have been reading Women in Clothes forever, here and there, and it feels like I will continue to read it forever. But I also read Deborah A. Miranda’s The Zen of La Llorona, which made me cry in many places and which I heartily recommend.

Rachel: I am reading James Baldwin’s Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone, which I can’t believe I haven’t read before, and waiting to receive Topside Press’s zine where we’re going we don’t need roads, which features Dane Edidi, Imogen Binnie, Ryka Aoki, merritt kopas, Bahar Akyurtlu, Jeanne Thornton, Emma Caterine and Red Durkin.

Riese: Well, I finally finished The Empathy Exams and I feel very proud of myself so you should too. Also… I read Gone Girl and as expected was totally sucked in and now I want to see the movie. I also didn’t realize where the “Cool Girl” thing had come from but yup, that pretty much summed up my years as a hetero! It’s sort of unfortunate how quickly I plow through popular fiction but how much longer it takes me to read a book I really love in a literary way but oh well! Reading is the best.

Books! They are really great. You just won’t believe how great they are. You may think that the Internet’s great, but that’s just peanuts compared to books. In Lez Liberty Lit, we talk about literary shit that’s happening that you should probably care about.

The name “Liberty Lit” was inspired by the short-lived literary journal produced by Angela Chase at Liberty High School in 1994.

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Ryan Yates

Ryan Yates was the NSFW Editor (2013–2018) and Literary Editor for Autostraddle.com, with bylines in Nylon, Refinery29, The Toast, Bitch, The Daily Beast, Jezebel, and elsewhere. They live in Los Angeles and also on twitter and instagram.

Ryan has written 1142 articles for us.


  1. Joan Larkin is Joan Jett’s birth name. Does anyone know if that’s her? I’ve wondered about that ever since Dorothy Allison plugged her in Skin: Talking About Sex, Class, and Literature.

  2. This is great, especially the “what we’re reading section”. I am requesting some of these from my library asap.

  3. Wow, there are so many good links in here this week!!
    And thanks for the shout-out for my post on Canadian nature poetry… it’s true it is the worst. (:

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