Charis welcomes three of the most exciting queer and trans writers working today for a conversation about bodies, girlhood, dysphoria, trauma, and so much more.
Megan Milks is the author of Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body which reimagines nineties adolescence--mashing up girl group series, choose-your-own-adventures, and chronicles of anorexia--in a queer and trans-coming-of-age tale like no other. An interrogation of girlhood and nostalgia, dysmorphia and dysphoria, this debut novel puzzles through the weird, ever-evasive questions of growing up. Meet Margaret. At age twelve, she was head detective of the mystery club Girls Can Solve Anything. Margaret and her three best friends led exciting lives solving crimes, having adventures, and laughing a lot. But now that she's entered high school, the club has disbanded, and Margaret is unmoored--she doesn't want to grow up, and she wishes her friends wouldn't either. Instead, she opts out, developing an eating disorder that quickly takes over her life. When she lands in a treatment center, Margaret finds her path to recovery twisting sideways as she pursues a string of new mysteries involving a ghost, a hidden passage, disturbing desires, and her own vexed relationship with herself. Megan Milks is the author of Margaret and the Mystery of the Missing Body and Remember the Internet, Volume 2: Tori Amos Bootleg Webring. With Marisa Crawford, they are coeditor of We Are the Baby-Sitters Club: Essays and Artwork from Grown-Up Readers. Born in Virginia, they currently live in Brooklyn.
In How to Wrestle a Girl, Venita Blackburn’s characters bully and suffer, spit and tease, mope and blame. They’re hyperaware of their bodies and fiercely observant, fending off the failures and advances of adults with indifferent ease. In “Biology Class,” they torment a teacher to the point of near insanity, while in “Bear Bear Harvest™,” they prepare to sell their excess fat and skin for food processing. Stark and sharp, hilarious and ominous, these pieces are scabbed, bruised, and prone to scarring. Many of the stories, set in Southern California, follow a teenage girl in the aftermath of her beloved father’s death and capture her sister’s and mother’s encounters with men of all ages, as well as the girl’s budding attraction to her best friend, Esperanza. In and out of school, participating in wrestling and softball, attending church with her hysterically complicated family, and dominating boys in arm wrestling, she grapples with her burgeoning queerness and her emerging body, becoming wary of clarity rather than hoping for it.
Works by Venita Blackburn have appeared or are forthcoming in The newyorker.com, Harpers, Ploughshares, McSweeney’s, the Paris Review and others. She received the Prairie Schooner book prize in fiction for her collected stories, Black Jesus and Other Superheroes in 2017. She is founder of the literary nonprofit Live, Write (livewriteworkshop.com), which provides free creative writing workshops for communities of color. Blackburn’s second collection of stories, How to Wrestle a Girl, will be published fall of 2021. She is an Assistant Professor of creative writing at California State University, Fresno.
Award-winning novelist Casey Plett (Little Fish) returns with a poignant suite of stories (A Dream of a Woman) that center transgender women. Casey Plett's 2018 novel Little Fish won a Lambda Literary Award, the Firecracker Award for Fiction, and the Amazon First Novel Award. Her latest work, A Dream of a Woman, is her first book of short stories since her seminal 2014 collection A Safe Girl to Love. Centering transgender women seeking stable, adult lives, A Dream of a Woman finds quiet truths in prairie high-rises and New York warehouses, in freezing Canadian winters and drizzly Oregon days. An ethereal meditation on partnership, sex, addiction, romance, groundedness, and love, the stories in A Dream of a Woman buzz with quiet intensity and the intimate complexities of being human. Plett is also the co-editor of Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy From Transgender Writers which won the ALA Stonewall Barbara Gittings Literature Award, and has written for The New York Times, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Maclean's, and them, among other publications.
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"A delightfully weird and very queer reimagining of 90s YA nostalgia." --Autostraddle
"Queer dynamite." --Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things
“We Are the Baby-Sitters Club is the ultimate companion guide for a generation of devout superfans. This book revisits the beloved series through grown-up eyes—but never loses the magic we all felt the moment we cracked open a fresh new book.
"Carefully considered, successful instances of experimental fiction" disrupt gender, genre, and identity in this deranged, otherworldly collection (Literary Hub).
A Paris Review Staff Pick and an Amazon Editors' Pick.
"Bold, witty, ominous and vulnerable . . . How to Wrestle a Girl shines in its propensity to magnify small moments, challenge our presumptions and dissect the beauty, danger and wonder of girlhood." --The New York Times Book Review
2018 PEN America Literary Award Winner–Los Angeles
Winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction, Black Jesus and Other Superheroes chronicles ordinary people achieving vivid extrasensory perception while under extreme pain. The stories tumble into a universe of the jaded and the hopeful, in which men and women burdened with unwieldy an
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WINNER, Lambda Literary Award; Firecracker Award for Fiction; $60,000 Amazon Canada First Novel Award
Eleven unique short stories that stretch from a rural Canadian Mennonite town to a hipster gay bar in Brooklyn, featuring young trans women stumbling through loss, sex, harassment, and love.