Hey there and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit!
At the Los Angeles Review of Books, Hope Wabuke writes about Afrofuturism, Africanfuturism, and the language of Black speculative literature, noting:
“The Africanfuturism written by Emecheta and Okorafor, like radical Black feminism, requires us to see fossilized systems of oppression and representation and reenvision the use of characters, narratives, themes, structures, forms, archetypes, mythos, languages, and perspective — and center Blackness in all of these ways. Just like we know it is not enough to invite one Black person into the boardroom and shut the door behind them, Africanfuturism tells us it is not just enough to plop one Black character down into a white world — or even a whole cast of Black characters — and end our work there after congratulating ourselves for embracing Afrofuturism and diversity in literature. This is tokenism, which we are past, both on and off the page.”
At LitHub, Veronica Esposito writes about the pain of passing privilege and hearing “you don’t look trans”:
“Of all the microaggressions that a transwoman has to sit with through her day-to-day life, ‘you don’t look trans’ feels especially thorny, insidious, and personal to me. It cuts to some of the deepest contradictions and misperceptions about who I am, and it also hits me in a very vulnerable spot. It’s something that makes me feel ashamed because it feels so good to hear, and it’s also something that makes me burn with anger because of the damaging assumptions that come with it.
When someone tells me ‘you don’t look trans,’ this is what I hear: I don’t think you look like a man trying to impersonate a woman, and because of that I see your womanhood as valid. This statement carries the implication that all transpeople look alike—i.e., like weird, gender nonconforming, abnormal—and it also implies that cispeople who probably know very little about transpeople are fit judge who’s trans and who’s not. It also implies that erasing my transness from view is a cause for celebration, and that I can’t be beautiful and feminine unless I conform to cisgender standards of what a woman should be. In short, it assumes I can only be valid if I erase who I really am.”
In this excerpt from Tall, Claudia Rankine explores seen and unseen privilege.
At Electric Literature, Tyrese L. Coleman interviewed Deesha Philyaw on her short-story collection The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (spoiler alert: the secret lives involve a lot of sex), sex as grounding device, Black women trying to escape homophobia and more.
Here’s what’s up with library sex.
“A Suburban mindset has taken over life in America.”
Visit these Black-owned bookstores and these radical bookstores.
Read an excerpt from Akwaeke Emezi’s The Death of Vivek Oji at Lit Hub.
“When people ask me which is my mother tongue, English or Spanish, I usually respond that when it comes to language I have two mothers. Just like my own children, I add,” writes Carolina De Robertis at LitHub.
“How can we pay for creativity in the digital age?”
“Asexual” is now in the dictionary.
Here’s Vivek Shraya on writing or not writing during the pandemic and Mary H.K. Choi on the same.
Here’s Tina Horn on not being afraid to do lots of different things.
Shakespeare was bisexual.
Octavia Butler is finally on the New York Times bestseller list.
Elena Ferrante gave a rare interview to Elle.
Here are the 2020 Kirkus finalists.
Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet won the UK’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Here are 25 women on their favorite books.
Check out these book-inspired pies.
Does the Elon Musk brain chip thing remind anyone else of Nutting’s Made for Love or just me?
Read these nine translated books by women. Read these YA books in September. Read these books this fall and also these. Read these queer sports romances. Read these comics for people with anxiety. Read these Black feminist books. Read these queer webcomics for free.
That header image! Reading a book together while holding a kitten is next level wlw flirting.