Lez Liberty Lit #68: Read While You Still Can

Feature image by Lisa Davies.


Toni Morrison talked to NEA about creative failure, starting projects, getting up early, writing what you don’t know and continuing to experiment:

“Stumbles loom rather large, the more I write. You know this is the wrong route but sometimes you choose it anyway, and then when you go over it, you just carry it out and scratch it out and do something else. But they’re very important. It’s like hitting the wrong note. You have to do something else. In a musical score, if you’re singing or you’re playing an instrument onstage in public, and you hit a wrong note, you can’t say “Oops” and leave the stage. You have to make something out of that error, do a really powerfully creative thing. You may go down a different road. If it’s public, you have to have that ability, that gift to make a mistake look creative. With writing, you can always scratch out the knowledge. You write and erase and do it over.”

Morrison also recently won a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Critics Circle and Rita Dove paid her a beautiful homage.

Five queer women of color you should read include Ryka Aoki, Dane Figueroa Edidi, Hiromi Goto, Achy Obejas and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. There are also 12 badass women you should read.

Sometimes it’s good to be bored.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talked to Vogue UK about feminism, Beyoncé, fashion, racism, her writing and more.

Remember Laura Ingalls Wilder?

Terry Pratchett died so consider the comments your open thread about his novels and works. If you are unsure if you might already be in one of his novels, here is how to double check.

Some self-published Kindle books have appalling covers.

Sappho was more of a singer-songwriter than a poet, which is why classists have tried to reconstruct what her words might have sounded like in performance.

Fanfiction is getting more legit.

Bust has a list of books to empower little girls.

Mey wrote about Bitch Planet. Ali wrote about books you can read in a weekend.

Laura talked about YA lit in last Friday’s open thread. Mey wrote about upcoming comic titles she’s excited about.

Book Things To Do In Person

20 March, New York: Tiphanie Yanique is opening Girls Write Now’s 2015 Chapters Reading Series at the Scholastic Auditorium (557 Broadway), 6 to 8 p.m.

29 March, Dallas: A live interview with Edyka Chilomé followed by an all-women’s poetry reading will be held at Wit’s End (2724 Elm St.), 6 to 9 p.m.

Now to 31 March, everywhere: The NYRB winter sale is on and some titles are 50% off and there are so many good ones why are you still reading.

9 April, Minneapolis: Stories & Queer and Lambda Literary present: S&Q 2 Reading at AWP (in Barnes and Noble, 801 Nicollet Mall), 7 to 9 p.m. There are tons of other queer events at AWP and Lambda Literary has them all.

18–19 April, Los Angeles: The LA Times Festival of Books is happening and it looks amazing.

1 May, everywhere: The deadline for Biyuti Publishing’s fundraiser is 1 May so if you want to support a press run by a trans woman of color, do it now.

May 19, New York: Roxane Gay is reading as part of Girls Write Now’s 2015 Chapters Reading Series at the Scholastic Auditorium (557 Broadway), 6 to 8 p.m.

To 30 May, lots of places: Poet Andrea Gibson is on tour! And is going to a lot of places across the US and Canada, and to a few places in the UK. Maybe somewhere near you?

19 June, New York: Quiara Alegría Hudes is reading as part of Girls Write Now’s 2015 Chapters Reading Series at the Scholastic Auditorium (557 Broadway), 6 to 8 p.m.

1 December: Submissions for Topside’s short speculative fiction anthology by trans writers are due.

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

What We’re Reading:

Carolyn: I read the California Prose Directory 2014: New Writing from the Golden State, which I loved content-wise but could barely get through because it was aggressively poorly proofed. Normally I notice errors in books because what’s up copy-editing brain but in this one there were extra line breaks on what felt like every other page and weird punctuation happening and it was really disappointing. I also read The First Bad Man, Miranda July’s first novel, which was at moments really stressful to read but also a great time.

Riese: I also read The First Bad Man and I liked it a whole bunch, because Miranda July is a fucking weirdo full of surprises. I love Miranda July! Or, more specifically, I loved No One Belongs Here More Than You, and also this weirdo novel. Prior to reading The First Bad Man, I read Alice & Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis, about a lesbian relationship that ended in murder in 1892, which I talked about here.

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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. RIP TERRY PRATCHETT. So many of my formative book heroines were Pratchett characters and I’m definitely the better for it (I started to list off my favorites but stopped myself before I listed almost every character who appears more than once. and also the entire cast of Monstrous Regiment.)

    • It is so hard to choose favourites! (Monstrous Regiment was definitely my post-Good-Omens all-Pratchett gateway drug though, no question, and after I finished it I had to read it again immediately because I was so enchanted.)

    • I love the Tiffany Aching books and also the witches and also Death and also Carrot and also the wizards. I really just love Discworld….

  2. It’s hard to have Terry Pratchett favorites, but Esme Weatherwax is so phenomenal, so smart, and what’s not to love with Nanny Ogg’s raunchiness, or Tiffany Aching’s tenacity, or Sam Vimes’ commitment to democracy?

    The more I think of Discworld, the more characters start jostling for attention. What a legacy, what an incredible legacy.

    • When I heard I had to leave work early because I was so devastated. I have a What’s App group with my two best friends (fittingly called “Witches Abroad”) and it turned into a self help group of sorts. It really helped so much to know that other people were going through the same thing.
      Fortunately my wife had already heard so when I got home I got insta-hugged and pampered.

      I still feel weird about how much I am mourning. Then again, as my friend Susi said, the man gave us worlds. Whole worlds. Of course we mourn. (Maybe reading her piece on him will help you like it did me.)

      The man really could do no wrong. As fas as I’m concerned, he aten’t dead.

      Rest in peace, Sir Terry. In the words of William the Bloody: “You were my sire, man. My Yoda!”

  3. Just before I saw this post, I finally got around to crying/writing about Terry Pratchett on my book blog. It’s in Swedish, unfortunately, but if anyone happens to know Swedish, here it is: https://teochbok.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/you-dreamed-you-could-invade-my-world-with-a-frying-pan/


    Pratchett has taught me so much about the world and how to live, while being SO DARN FUNNY at the same time. I can’t imagine there not being any more books (similarly to when Diana Wynne Jones died, which was also heart-breaking). His books have been with me for more than half my life, and in some ways I feel like they’ve grown up with me.

    Angua was one of my first crushes. I mean, she was so cool! And a werewolf! And so cool! And really had to go through the whole “how do I live my life as myself, with everything that is me”. Which was relatable, in some ways. Pratchett was just sooo good at tackling identity, and humanity, and morals, and psychology (or headology as Esme would say). I can go on and on, but I’ll stop now or I’ll just make myself cry again.

    • After I heard I had to go about the rest of my day, but I was crying within 3 minutes of walking into the door of my apartment. Terry Pratchett just understands people so so well sometimes.

  4. I saw the announcement on facebook, and was sad but reading all the fans’ notes about him, writing his eulogy in his own words entirely, not theirs, was the most amazing and wonderful and emotional thing.

  5. No One Belongs Here More Than You <3 <3 <3 that book changed so many things. And it's strange, because it's so simple and beautiful and just…mmm.
    Also, seeing the write-up about Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi made me look more into her and watch some of her videos, and that woman is powerful. I bookmarked it to order a copy of Yemaya's Daughters once my bank account corrects itself in a couple of days.

    • I’m glad that people are reading about the authors I recommended! Yay! I also love No One Belongs Here More Than You so much. Excited about her next book!

  6. I only ever read one Terry Pratchett book, but many of my friends were into them. I loved that there were strong female leads. What I was so surprised and sorta disappointed by this death was that Terry was a man. I thought he was a female writer!

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