Happy Friday to all y’all, and OMG lookit this AWESOME in the house with us today!
I’m super-stoked because we have writer, scholar, and BLF Press founder S. Andrea Allen with us today to tell us about the forthcoming release of the anthology Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction which she co-edited with Lauren Cherelle.
Lez Talk is a collection of writing that embraces and celebrates the Black lesbian experience across a variety of fiction genres, including romance, spec fic, and humor. Authors included in the anthology are Sheree L. Greer, Claudia Moss, LaToya Hankins, Lauren Cherelle, K.A. Smith, S. Andrea Allen, Faith Mosley, and Eternity Philops.
How much awesome is this? SO much.
And to celebrate this awesome, S. Andrea is giving away ONE ebook copy and ONE print copy (U.S. only; if only we could beam print books around the world Star Trek-style) of Lez Talk. To get in on this goodness, leave a comment below. Please include your email address in the comment fill-out form, but NOT in the comment body (since we’re trying to save you from roving gangs of evil spam-bots). The drawing closes MONDAY, 28 MARCH at 9 PM EST U.S. So go on and get in on this!
And now, let’s go sit down with S. Andrea Allen.
Serendipity and the Evolution of an Anthology
Serendipity, or a series of fortunate events; this is what always comes to mind when I think about the evolution of my first anthology, Lez Talk, A Collection of Black Lesbian Fiction. The project had been stewing inside of me for several months, possibly years, but I had not yet been able to bring it to fruition. In 2014, I had already founded BLF Press to publish this as-yet unwritten title, but the manuscript itself remained elusive. At the time, I was working on my doctorate in American Studies, so all of my energies were spent on academic writing and teaching; there was time for little else.
I was elated then, and a bit surprised, when Lauren Cherelle reached out on my Sista Outsider blog to say that yes, she would be interested in listening to a podcast on Black lesbian writing. Months earlier I had asked my readers if they’d be interested in such a thing, and hadn’t gotten much of a response. As a matter of fact, I had found Lauren’s email in my spam folder. Not only was she interested in listening to the podcast, she was also open to co-hosting. That I found her email at all was a stroke of luck, and the fact that the email has evolved into collaboration on a podcast that we decided to call Lez Talk Books Radio, and an edited collection of Black lesbian writing, is indeed serendipitous. We are also now commencing work on our second collaboration, Solace: Writing, Refuge, and LGBTQ Women of Color.
While it may seem that the writing fairies dropped these opportunities into our laps, I believe that Lauren and I had already created the spaces that would allow these seemingly random acts of good fortune to occur. In 2010, I had started the Sista Outsider blog as a bit of an outlet for my non-academic writing, and as I mentioned earlier, I had already created the small press with which to publish the work. Lauren was already a writer and indie publisher. We both believed in the spirit of collaboration, so after several hours-long phone conversations, we both realized that we were the ones we had been looking for. We had similar ideas about what constituted Black lesbian literature, as well as ideas about how we might expand the playing field for Black lesbian writers who needed publishers and editors who would truly support their work. We decided to parlay some of these ideas into an anthology, and Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction was born.
The back cover describes the collection this way:
A necessary and relevant addition to the Black LGBTQ literary canon, which oftentimes over looks Black lesbian writing, Lez Talk is a collection of short stories that embraces the fullness of Black lesbian experiences. The contributors operate under the assumption that “lesbian” is not a dirty word, and have written stories that amplify the diversity of Black lesbian lives. At once provocative, emotional, adventurous, and celebratory, Lez Talk crosses a range of fictional genres, including romance, speculative, and humor. The writers explore new subjects and aspects of their experiences, and affirm their gifts as writers and lesbian women.
I believe that Lez Talk delivers on its promise to embrace the fullness of Black lesbian experiences, and the stories in this collection reveal an array of talented writers who are contributing to the Black lesbian literary canon in a variety of ways. For example, Sheree L. Greer’s “I Can’t Turn it Off” is a salient reminder of our socio-political moment, that Black Lives Matter, and that as Black women writers, our work must accurately represent the myriad intersections of our lives. K. A. Smith’s contributions build upon and expand the canon of Black speculative fiction, of course with a lesbian twist. My stories focus on self-empowerment and the notion that Black women must learn to put their own mental and emotional well being ahead of their romantic relationships. Lauren Cherelle’s “Missing” reminds us that love between Black women is nothing new, and neither are the often violent and tragic reactions to it.
I am excited about the release of Lez Talk and I hope that you enjoy reading the stories as much as Lauren and I enjoyed co-editing it.
Bio: S. (Stephanie) Andrea Allen, Ph.D., is a native Southerner and out Black lesbian writer, scholar, and educator. Her works in progress include A Failure to Communicate, a collection of short fiction, and a collection of creative nonfiction and essays. She also blogs at sistaoutsider.com. In 2014, she founded BLF Press, and she also co-hosts the bi-weekly radio show, Lez Talk Books Radio, which focuses on the writing of lesbian women of color.
Happy Friday, everybody!