Lez Liberty Lit: Madness, Witches, and Burned Queer Books


Hi and welcome to this week’s Lez Liberty Lit!

Read these black folklore books.

Check out this fiction by Anne Carson at the New Yorker.

Buying books isn’t all it will take to save independent bookstores, according to independent bookseller Erin Bartnett at Electric Literature.

Read more witches.

These 10 books defined the 1960s.

If you missed it, Anna Burns won the Man Booker Prize.

“I call myself a feminist because I do not think it would suit me to wear a sweatshirt that had “please kick me up the ass, the patriarchy” on it, and I don’t have time for that to happen either.” At Ms., Caitlin Moran discussed feminism, her work, snack-based self-care and more.

the cover of the book <em>Weekend</em>, with the title in a white box floating over a topographic map that looks like a body or maybe vulva


“Women’s silence is learned. Since childhood I’ve been taught that working-class women—women like my grandmothers, my mother, me—need to be tough and resilient. There is no time, no space for weakness, for emotion, for the indulgence of madness,” writes Sarah Fawn Montgomery in an excerpt on the literature of women’s madness:

“When I look at my mother, I see her age, her strain, and her worry written in the lines on her face. My mother does not go to the doctor for illness or prevention. Like many working-class families, we’ve never had much for health insurance. The only prescription I’ve known her to take is Celexa, which she has taken in secret each day for years. Silence, like madness, runs rampant in our family.

This is the legacy of women I come from—a legacy tied to gender, to class, to male violence and the threat thereof, poor women with too many children and not enough food and too much hurting and hating, women too afraid to say anything of their pain or their terror. Women so worried, so afraid, their bodies and minds react. Women bound by silence not to speak of the things that dart around their brains late at night, instead letting them settle in dark corners, where they lurk for a lifetime.”

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian reviewed Jane Eaton Hamilton’s Weekend, and notes:

“When was the last time you read a queer novel about people in middle age, let alone a novel that has extended sex scenes featuring queer people in their 40s and 50s? Older queers getting it on feels revolutionary in and of itself, but Hamilton also features a character who is disabled and black (Ajax has a heart condition and grew up in the Bahamas), a trans masculine character who uses they pronouns (Logan), a masculine-presenting polyamorous character who uses she pronouns (Elliot), and a kinky couple (Logan and Ajax). None of this feels forced or for the sake of diversity itself, but simply a portrayal of some real people with various intersecting identities.”

Read new poetry by indigenous women. Read these books about midwestern women. Read Palestinian prose. Read these goth novels. Read these short story collections about race and culture. Read these burned queer books.

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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. The article on women’s madness in lit was so good and I somehow missed it even though I’m obsessed with LitHub so thank you for that.

    I keep seeing Weekend in my queer lit threads – honestly the cover art alone makes me want to buy it.

  2. I requested the Jane Eaton Hamilton book from the library, I’m excited to read about older queer people!

  3. Some folks I know got a group together to replace and add to the Orange City library’s collection. It’s the best email thread because everyone on there is excited to support that community and make sure they have all the QUILTBAG fictional representation they can take! :D

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