Lez Liberty Lit: A Peculiar Malfunction


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

The Nobel Prize in Literature is “fun” now, writes Alex Shephard at the New Republic, and it’s a loss for global literature:

“There is enormous pressure to keep prizes contemporary and to make sure that they make a splash, year after year.

Given its pedigree, the Nobel Prize doesn’t have to keep sponsors happy, which means it doesn’t necessarily face this kind of pressure. And yet it’s also shifted its identify over the last three years, embracing a kind of populism. Obscurity is no longer a virtue, and all literary forms are welcome. But that change has also come at a cost. Despite being dismayingly Eurocentric—a black African writer has not won since 1986, for instance—the Nobel was the premier way for difficult and strange writing of high quality to get a wider audience. With the Nobel edging toward the likes of Dylan and Ishiguro, this is a loss for global literature.”

Most of the National Book Award finalists this year are women.

Read Her Body and Other Parties. Read Her Body and Other Parties. Read Her Body and Other Parties. Read Her Body and Other Parties. Read Her Body and Other Parties.

In an interview at the Millions, Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird among other works, discusses race, crime, Highway 59 and more.

Don’t get snarky about romance novels. Also, romance novels are not great at diversity.

At Lit Hub, Ottessa Moshfegh writes about how Shirley Jackson makes us lose our minds, noting, “There is a peculiar malfunction in the brain, I think, when something deeply familiar appears in a strange context. And in fiction, this malfunction can turn into a ride through a new dimension of possibility.”

Women writers were friends, too.

There’s going to be a Joan Didion documentary.

Being happy is the most subversive thing a woman can be.”

Here’s a guide to poet Rupi Kaur.

Read on public transit.

It would be cool if Sylvia Plath could appear in the author photo on her books in something besides a bikini.

Literature doesn’t really talk about illness.

Read these book recommendations from Dear Coquette. Read these spooky queer women reads. Read these nasty woman books. Read these feminist books. Read these books on contemporary politics, mostly about the UK. Read these books about being socially awkward.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

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. tbh, I appreciate being able to read the Litterature Nobel Prize. Also, after hundred of centuries of Litterature being defined as “books written by Serious Writers”, I don’t see anything bad with opening it to other form of litterature such as oral history. Although the article is quite good (but I still think that among all french writers, Modiano wasn’t the most deserving…)

  2. Loved the piece about romance novels. Some good discussion in the comments as well. One comment pointed out that, for instance, queer representation in anything but romance novels (as the main protagonists) is lacking, and indeed I know that helped fuel my love of lesbian romance novels. There’s blantant sexism at work in how the genre is derided, while publishing houses simultaneously ride that cash cow to the bank (or whatever; I’m a reader, not a writer! ;)).

  3. Am I the only one who saw the title “Her Body and Other Parties” and hoped it was by Jennifer Schecter, author of “Some of Her Parts?”

  4. I really wish I liked Kaur’s work, because I’m certainly excited about poetry being more popular and speaking to young women– I just can’t shake the feeling that she is certainly nowhere near the most interesting young female poets working today, but I have to get out of that zero sum mindset — there is room for a lot of styles and qualities, and there are certainly no shortage of mediocre male writers who have been lauded.

Comments are closed.