This June, we’re celebrating queer love, friendship, and pride by delving into some of the work from Girls Write Now community members. From generation-defining TV shows and incisive memoirs to biting satire and heartfelt coming-of-age stories, there’s something for everyone to love.
Zara hossain is here
by sabina khan
Seventeen-year-old bisexual Pakistani Zara Hossain has been leading a fairly typical life in Corpus Christi, Texas, since her family moved there. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low while her family awaits their green card approval. But when the bullies at her school vandalize her house with racist graffiti, Zara must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she’s ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.
WHO’S YOUR DADDY
BY ARISA WHITE
A lyrical, genre-bending coming-of-age tale featuring a queer, Black, Guyanese American woman who, while seeking to define her own place in the world, negotiates an estranged relationship with her father.
You exist too much
by zaina arafat
Opening up the fantasies and desires of one young woman caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities, You Exist Too Much is a captivating story charting two of our most intense longings—for love, and a place to call home.
BLACK GIRL, CALL HOME
BY JASMINE MANS
Penguin Random House
An unforgettable poetry collection about race, feminism, and queer identity. With echoes of Gwendolyn Brooks and Sonia Sanchez, Mans writes to call herself—and us—home. Each poem explores what it means to be a daughter of Newark, and America—and the painful, joyous path to adulthood as a young, queer Black woman.
by Kayla kumari upadhyaya
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is a a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism who led a Creative Nonfiction workshop for Girls Write Now mentees. Her work focuses on the complexities of identity and sexuality, such as her short story published in The Rumpus, “Self Possession”. You can check out some of her fiction and essays on her website!
Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
by Forsyth Harmon
Justine, Forsyth Harmon’s illustrated debut, is an intimate and unflinching portrait of American girlhood at the edge of adulthood—one in which obsession hastens heartbreak.
by Roxane Gay
Tracing the stories of different women across age and identity, Difficult Women provides a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America. A collection of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection.
An open letter to people who call me “sir“
by Nikki Palumbo
McSweeney’s Internet Tendency
Nikki Palumbo is a writer, comedian, Girls Write Now mentor, and host of a Friday Night Salon on comedy writing. They were named one of WhoHaha’s “35 LGBTQ Creators We Love” in 2018, and their work can be found in The New Yorker and McSweeney’s, where you can find their piece, “An Open Letter to People Who Call Me ‘Sir’“.
Melissa Febos examines the narratives women are told about what it means to be female and what it takes to free oneself from them. Blending investigative reporting, memoir, and scholarship, Febos charts how she and others like her have reimagined relationships and made room for the anger, grief, power, and pleasure women have long been taught to deny.
The l word: Generation Q
featuring sepideh moafi
Check out Girls Write Now honoree and friend Sepideh Moafi as fan-favorite Gigi in Showtime’s reboot of The L Word, The L Word: Generation Q! In present-day Los Angeles, Gigi navigates life with her ex-wife, her new girlfriend, and their children.
by janet mock
Simon & Schuster
In this memoir, Janet, fueled by her dreams and an inimitable drive, makes her way through New York City intent on building a career in the highly competitive world of magazine publishing—within the unique context of being trans, a woman, and a person of color. Hers is a timely glimpse about the barriers many face—and a much-needed guide on how to make a way out of no way.
PRODUCED BY DIANA M. PHO
Diana M. Pho is a podcast producer, playwright, and Hugo Award-winning fiction editor, who led a Writing 360 Podcasting Workshop at Girls Write Now. Currently, Diana works as a story producer at Realm where she develops science fiction and fantasy stories, including Marigold Breach starring Jameela Jamil and Manny Jacinto. You can check out some of the podcasts featuring Diana on her site, or dig into some of her advice on writing #OwnVoices work in her piece for Writer’s Digest!
Diana M. Pho
Every Body Looking
by Candice Iloh
When Ada leaves home for her freshman year at a Historically Black College, it’s the first time she’s ever been so far from her family–and the first time that she’s been able to make her own choices and to seek her place in this new world. As she stumbles deeper into the world of dance and explores her sexuality, she also begins to wrestle with her past–her mother’s struggle with addiction, her Nigerian father’s attempts to make a home for her. Ultimately, Ada discovers she needs to brush off the destiny others have chosen for her and claim full ownership of her body and her future.