Lez Liberty Lit Is Toxic


Hi and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit! My laptop no longer has a functional “y” or “d” key so if you see either of those letters in this post, know that they were copied and pasted just for you.

The word of the year for 2018 is “toxic.”

A Chinese novelist has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for writing gay sex scenes.

Check out this roundtable on writing women’s pain at LitHub.

“There is no such thing as a feminist retelling of a novel written by a woman. The very existence of the novel is a feminist act,” writes Lisa Gabriele at Electric Literature on feminist retellings of “dude” books.

The Second Shelf is fighting literary sexism.

Reading fiction boosts social-cognitive performance, according to a new study.

“There is now, Warner argues convincingly, a ‘curiosity crisis in schools.’ The common complaint students will voice if you ask them — that they love learning but hate school — is not empty, entitled whining. It is a real cry of pain: ‘The popular image of college students partying because college is a time without care is out of date. It’s more likely students are seeking anesthesia against a world filled with worries,’” writes Ryan Boyd on the recent Why They Can’t Write, an examination of pedagogical issues in contemporary US education.

A new exhibit at the British Library in London displays the four original manuscripts of Old English poetry side by side. At the New Republic, Josephine Livingstone writes about the magic of these books together and what they say about us:

“So why are these four books so special? It has to do, I think, with the concept of the original—a concept we have almost entirely lost touch with. The Beowulf Manuscript is not just composed of words that serve as the basis for every translation of the epic poem. It’s foremost an object, the only one of its kind. It is not merely a representation of a story; it is the story. In this respect, the manuscript resembles the Crown Jewels more than any document written in today’s world, any word that moves through the crazy fractal of the internet. The manuscripts confront us with a former version of our literary selves; identities that we barely recognize, and which estrange us from ourselves.”

If you’re in the UK, gal-dem’s new pop-up will only stock books by women and non-binary people of color. It opens November 23 at 2 Bury Place for one week only.

Writing is about impulse.”

“Although art critics consistently insisted that O’Keeffe’s depictions of flowers were her commentary on women’s sexuality, the artist herself resolutely denied these interpretations. For her, they were her commentary on seeing — a magnifying lens for the attention. Painting these close-ups was a way of learning to look, a way of removing the blinders with which we gallop through the world, slowing down, shedding our notions and concepts of things, and taking things in as they really are,” writes Maria Popova on Georgia O’Keefe and the art of seeing.

Read trans sci fi and fantasy. Here are 12 books that could be said to represent America, maybe. Read these British books that celebrate weird women. Read Native literature. Read debut fiction by women over 40.

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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. Carolyn! I am writing this comment on a laptop that no longer has a functional z, x, s, w or 2, so I feel your pain. I’ve been using this online keyboard where you can enter characters both by typing and by clicking from the screen, which I’m finding much easier than copying & pasting. Maybe it can help you too!

    Also fantastic roundup of links as always <3

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