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The Secret Lives of Church Ladies-- Deesha Philyaw in conversation with Tamara Winfrey-Harris

Event date: 
Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 7:30pm to 9:00pm

Charis welcomes Deesha Philyaw in conversation with Tamara Winfrey-Harris for a celebration of Philyaw's highly anticipated collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. This event is co-sponsored by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions.

With their secret longings, new loves, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be. These are characters as familiar as best friends, whose stories you won't soon forget. 

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices.

This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.

We will be archiving this event and adding closed captioning as soon as possible after airing so that it will be accessible to deaf and HOH people. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

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Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, THE SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES, focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church. Deesha is also the co-author of Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce, written in collaboration with her ex-husband. Her work has been listed as Notable in the Best American Essays series, and her writing on race, parenting, gender, and culture has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, Brevity, dead housekeeping, Apogee Journal, Catapult, Harvard Review, ESPN’s The Undefeated, The Baltimore Review, TueNight, Ebony and Bitch magazines, and various anthologies. Deesha is a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and a past Pushcart Prize nominee for essay writing in Full Grown People. 

Tamara Winfrey-Harris' writing on race and gender has appeared in The New York Times, The AtlanticNew York MagazineLos Angeles Times, Bitch, and other media. She is the author of the award-winning book, The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America, and the forthcoming, Dear Black Girl: Letters From Your Sisters On Stepping Into Your Power, due March 2021 and available for pre-order from Charis.

Event address: 
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies Cover Image
ISBN: 9781949199734
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: West Virginia University Press - September 1st, 2020

***2020 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction***
“Tender, fierce, proudly black and beautiful, these stories will sneak inside you and take root.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
—Publishers Weekly
“Cheeky, insightful, and irresistible.” —​​​​​​

Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce Cover Image
ISBN: 9781608824632
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: New Harbinger Publications - May 1st, 2013

A successful co-parenting relationship is as vital to your child's well-being and health as nutritious food or proper exercise. Research, anecdotal evidence, and plain common sense all point to the fact that children are happier, healthier, and better adjusted when both of their parents play an active role in their lives.

The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781626563513
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Berrett-Koehler Publishers - July 7th, 2015


What’s wrong with black women? Not a damned thing!

The Sisters Are Alright exposes anti–black-woman propaganda and shows how real black women are pushing back against distorted cartoon versions of themselves.

Dear Black Girl: Letters From Your Sisters on Stepping Into Your Power Cover Image
ISBN: 9781523092291
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Berrett-Koehler Publishers - March 9th, 2021

From the bestselling author of The Sisters Are Alright comes a book of personal letters written by black women to black girls to nurture healthy womanhood and sisterhood, covering topics like identity, self-love, parents, violence, grief, mental health, sex, and sexuality.

"Dear #DopeBlackGirl,

Event Summary: 
Charis welcomes Deesha Philyaw in conversation with Tamara Winfrey-Harris for a celebration of Philyaw's highly anticipated collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.