Lez Liberty Lit: A Cute Panopticon


Hey there and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit!

At the Nation, Larissa Pham writes about the limits of the viral book review and self-awareness, and notes:

“Whether in fiction or nonfiction, self-awareness, as a literary tic, doesn’t arise out of thin air. Publishing one’s writing demands that one admit to wanting and needing readers; all this genuflecting occurs for some kind of audience. Authors become self-aware in response to something, so what is that thing? To understand this, it behooves us to look at the ways authors have become more annoyingly self-conscious, because not every type of revelation begets a piteous apology. As a recent wave of literary criticism seems to demonstrate, this self-awareness falls neatly along political lines: Even within their texts, authors find themselves in the position of navigating their privilege, some of which very well might have helped land them the book deal.”

The Oxford Dictionary has updated the definition of “woman” to be more inclusive.

Can you care for others without destroying yourself?

Kima Jones just sold her memoir Butch!!

What if the panopticon were cute?

Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” Showed Me How Race and Gender Are Intertwined.”

New. Samantha. Irby.

Watch Jenny Offill and Jia Tolentino on being the doomers at the dinner party.

How do you live like an artist?

“So much of the woman I am today is because of the woman Diane Di Prima once was,” writes Amber Tamblyn at the New Yorker.

Put these seven literary translators on your radar.

Check out the secret life of trees.

A Tiny New Publisher Is Making Food Books to Raise Money for Restaurants.”

Why do we like books about cannibals?

At Electric Literature, check out these essays about radicalism and resistance and these essays and stories about comforting things.

Read these mysteries and thrillers by Black authors. Read these books about Indigenous peoples. Read these seven essential works of punk rock literature. Read these seven books about families in exile. Read these eight books about feminist folklore. Read these four fantasy books about gender shapeshifters. Read these books when you want to think about survival. Check out this lesbian erotica.

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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. Wow that living like an artist article was pretentious and had some very weird ideas about what an artist actually is. My tips would be something more like: probably don’t be an artist because it’s a very competitive and difficult career, reconcile yourself to the idea of being very poor, recognise that you’re only going to be selling your work to your friends and your girlfriend’s mum for a few years, get really good at grant applications, forget everything you’ve been taught about talent and genius and just practice your technical skills for a few hours every day, shop exclusively at cheap fresh food markets and get everything else secondhand at op shops and hard rubbish, try to be related or married to someone rich, and get comfortable promoting yourself shamelessly and endlessly, academic jobs are really nice but hard to get and will make your art bad.

    • That was a long comment, sorry! I guess I get a bit peeved off when people see being an artist as a mystical dreamy mindscape and not as an actual real-world job.

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