Lez Talk Books Radio

About: Join Stephanie and Lauren as we discuss Black lesbian and QWOC writing and talk to authors about their work.

As always, we are dedicated to amplifying the work of Black women! If you are interested in being a guest on our show, or would like to suggest a topic, please contact us at info@blacklesbianliterarycollective.org.


[Non-fiction, Essay, Memoir]

Nicole Shawan Junior was bred in the bass-heavy beat and scratch of Brooklyn, where the cool of beautiful inner-city life barely survived cripplings caused by crack cocaine. She is a black, Queer and poverty-born counter-storyteller, felon, and former police prosecutor. Stephanie and Lauren chat with Nicole about her recent writing, non-fiction workshops, and forthcoming memoir.


[Short Stories, Horror]

Kivel Carson is an emerging writer concerned with social justice, Black liberation, and representation through art and storytelling, particularly in the genres of literary fiction and Afrofuturism. In this episode, she chats about “Night Has No Eyes,” a sharp zombie story in Black From the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Writing.


[Short Stories, Steampunk]

La Toya Hankins returns to Lez Talk Books Radio to dish about her new steampunk story, featured in Black From the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Writing.

You can find more of her short works in Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction and at JMS Books. LaToya also penned the novels SBF Seeking… and K-RHO: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood.


[Short Stories, Creative Nonfiction]

Almah LaVon Rice has been published in various anthologies, including the revised edition of does your mama know?: Black Lesbian Coming Out Stories. Her journalism has garnered a National Ethnic Media Award from New America Media and recognition on Utne Reader’s “Great Writing” blog. In this episode, Almah chats about her latest short story, found in Black From the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Writing.


[Short Stories, Novel, Creative Writing]

M Shelly Conner uses her experiences as a dapperqueer Black woman to produce multi-genre works that examine intersections of race, gender, and sexuality. Her collection of writing spans multiple media and a range of publications, including Black From the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Fiction.

As a whole, Shelly’s writing makes queer interventions in a tradition of storytelling about Black life and families from Jim Crow South to south side Chicago.


[Short Stories]

Penny Micklelbury is a pioneering newspaper, radio, and television journalist, and an award-winning writer of stage plays. She is the recipient of the Audre Lorde Estate Grant and was a resident writer at the Hedgebrook Women Writers Retreat.

Her new collection of stories, God’s Will and Other Lies, joins her catalog of eleven published mystery novels in three successful series: The Mimi Patterson/Gianna Maglione Mysteries (two-time Lambda Literary Award finalists); the Carole Ann Gibson Mysteries (winner of a Gold Pen Award by the Black Writers Alliance); and the Phil Rodriquez Mysteries; and the novel of historical fiction, Belle City.


[Serendipity, Writing Retreat, Submissions, Writing Community]

Lauren and Stephanie share updates about the 2nd annual writing retreat (Black Women Writing in the South), Serendipity, Sinister Wisdom, and more.


[Poetry, Activism, Writing Community]

J.P. Howard’s debut poetry collection SAY/MIRROR was a 2016 Lambda Literary finalist. She is also the author of bury your love poems here (Belladonna*). JP was a 2017 Split this Rock Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism finalist and is featured in the 2017 Lesbian Poet Trading Card Series from Headmistress Press. She was the recipient of a 2016 Lambda Literary Judith A. Markowitz Emerging Writer Award and has received fellowships and grants from Cave Canem, VONA, Lambda, Astraea, and Brooklyn Arts Council. JP curates Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon, a NY-based forum offering women writers a monthly venue to collaborate. Her poetry and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Apogee Journal, The Feminist Wire, Split this Rock, Muzzle Magazine, and The Best American Poetry Blog. She holds a BA from Barnard College and an MFA in Creative Writing from The City College of New York.


[Art: Installation/Performance, Poetry]

“Black Lesbians” contributor Indira Allegra dives into her art, process, and journey. Indira works with tension as creative material through sculpture and performance. She has been honored with the Jackson Literary Award, Lambda Literary Fellowship and Windgate Craft Fellowship. Her work has been featured on BBC Radio 4 and Surface Design Magazine. Allegra’s writing has been widely anthologized, and her commissions include works for SFMOMA, de Young Museum, The Wattis Institute, City of Oakland, SFJAZZ Poetry Festival and the National Queer Arts Festival. Indira is a KQED ‘Woman to Watch’ and 2018 Art + Process + Ideas Visiting Artist at Mills College.


[Poetry]

Arisa White continues the conversation with “Black Lesbians” contributors. Arisa is a Cave Canem fellow and MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of the poetry chapbooks Disposition for Shininess, Post Pardon, Black Pearl, Perfect on Accident (forthcoming), and “Fish Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife. Her debut full-length collection, Hurrah’s Nest, was a finalist for the 2013 Wheatley Book Awards, 82nd California Book Awards, and nominated for a 44th NAACP Image Awards. Her newest full-length collection, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, was nominated for the 29th Lambda Literary Awards. Arisa is currently co-authoring a middle-grade biography on the midwife and philanthropist Bridget “Biddy” Mason– slated for publication in 2019.


[Poetry, Feminist Studies]

In January 2018, Sinister Wisdom releasedBlack Lesbians—We Are the Revolution” (Issue 107) to lift up the voices of African-American lesbians for all to hear, see, and know. This episode is the first in a series of conversations with the contributors.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a queer black troublemaker, a black feminist love evangelist, independent scholar, and activist. She is the author of Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity and the forthcoming book, M Archive: After the End of the World;  co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines; and the founder and director of Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind, an educational program based in Durham, North Carolina.


[Young Adult, Fiction]

Leona Beasly writes about the eccentric, often queer and funny characters from her Southern youth. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, she is a graduate of the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia; Mills College in Oakland, California; and the New School University in New York City. Among the many things, she has taught art to the very young and to elders, wrote arts columns, been an educational consultant, and worked in children’s television. In this episode, we discuss her debut novel, Something Better Than Home.


[Creative Nonfiction, Journalism]

Almah LaVon Rice has been published in various anthologies, including the revised edition of does your mama know?: Black Lesbian Coming Out Stories. Her journalism has garnered a National Ethnic Media Award from New America Media and recognition on Utne Reader’s “Great Writing” blog.


On June 21st, we started a new series, Topics in Black Lesbian Publishing, that aims to address Black lesbian writing from a publisher’s perspective.


[Fiction, Romance]

Renée Cronin began writing in earnest in 2005, when the characters in her head became so loud she was forced to tell their stories or risk getting swept away into the abyss of her imagination. Renée describes herself as “a reader who loves to write. A romantic at heart who loves a good twist. A realist with extreme imagination.” In this episode, she chats about her most recent novel, Fistful of Love.


[Middle-Grade, Novella, Fiction]

V. Nikki Jones is a licensed mental health practitioner whose experiences with youth in foster care inspired her to write a middle-grade novella, Lyric & Blake. The story features the adventures of two Black queer girls as they navigate screaming teachers, popularity polls, and fashion wars at Alcorn Junior High.


[Fiction, Novel]

A Milwaukee, Wisconsin native, Sheree L. Greer hosts Oral Fixation, the only LGBTQ Open Mic series in Tampa Bay, teaches writing and literature at St. Petersburg College, and started The Kitchen Table Literary Arts Center to showcase and support the work of ancestor, elder, and contemporary women writers of color. In this episode, Sheree discusses her second novel, A Return to Arms.


[Fiction, Romance, Short Stories]

LaToya Hankins is the author of SBF Seeking… and K-RHO: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood. She has been featured in The Ask Rayceen Show and Ladies of Literature at the 2014 Atlanta Black Pride. She recently penned the story short “Challah and Callaloo.” Additional short stories appear in Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction


[Speculative Fiction, Short Stories]

A North Carolina native, Krystal A. Smith first received recognition for her poems In the [Rearview] and A Woman’s Day.  Recent stories and poems have appeared in Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction and Ladylit Publishing’s Summer Love. She’s also the author of several lesbian short stories, including Get At Me and Gina’s Do-Over.


[Fiction, Short Stories, Romance]

Stephanie and Lauren chat with writer and video blogger Claudia Moss about her upcoming work. This episodes starts the first in a series of conversations with the contributors of Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Fiction.


[Fiction, Short Stories, Novel]

A Milwaukee, Wisconsin native, Sheree L. Greer hosts Oral Fixation, the only LGBTQ Open Mic series in Tampa Bay, teaches writing and literature at St. Petersburg College, and started The Kitchen Table Literary Arts Center to showcase and support the work of ancestor, elder, and contemporary women writers of color. In this episode, Sheree discusses her debut novel, Let the Lover Be, and short stories collection Once and Future Lovers.


[Fiction, Novel]

A native of Philadelphia, Renée Bess taught Spanish and French to students in the city’s public school system before embarking upon a writing career. Her short story, “At the Beauty Parlor,” won first place in a literary contest sponsored by Labyrinth Newspaper. Leave of Absence, Renée’s first novel, was published in 2005. Her subsequent four novels (Breaking Jaie, RE:Building Sasha, The Butterfly Moments, and The Rules) were released between 2007 and 2014. Renée remains committed to writing artistic prose about vibrant multi-ethnic characters, timely social themes, and relationships that involve intrigue and sometimes mystery. Always grateful for her readers’ interest and loyalty, Renée appreciates receiving feedback regarding her fiction.


[Fiction, Romance]

Renée Cronin began writing in earnest in 2005, when the characters in her head became so loud she was forced to tell their stories or risk getting swept away into the abyss of her imagination. Renée describes herself as “a reader who loves to write. A romantic at heart who loves a good twist. A realist with extreme imagination.” In this episode, she chats about her debut novel, Tastes Like Cherry.


[Fiction, Erotica, Romance, Novel]

Stephanie and Lauren chat with the prolific Black lesbian erotica writer, Fiona Zedde. Her 2005 novel, Bliss, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for debut lesbian fiction. She is also the author of several novels and novellas of lesbian love and desire, including Dangerous Pleasures, Broken in Soft Places, and Desire at Dawn. Born in Jamaica, she currently lives and writers in Atlanta, Georgia.


[Fiction, Short Stories, Poetry]

Claudia Moss is the author of two novels, Dolly: The Memoirs of a High School Graduate and If You Love Me, Come, and a short story series about the feisty character, Wanda B. Wonders. Claudia’s premiere poetry collection is Soft Tsunami. Her short fiction has appeared in a host of anthologies, including Longing, Lust, and Love: Black Lesbian Stories, Purple Panties, and Bombshells and Bois and Gaslight. Claudia is a 2014 Lambda Literary Fellow of the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices.


[Fiction, Independent Publishing]

Our co-director, Lauren Cherelle, discusses the challenges and rewards of independent publishing.


[Fiction, Romance]

LaToya Hankins is the author of SBF Seeking… and K-RHO: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood. She has been featured in the Ladies of Literature at the 2014 Atlanta Black Pride and The Ask Rayceen Show. She’s an active supporter of LGBTQ issues and health disparities that affect her community. Her literary influences include Zora Neale Hurston, Walter Mosley, Anne Rice, and Pearl Cleage. Her motto, borrowed from Hurston, is: “I do not weep at the world, I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.”


[Dark Fiction, Short Stories]

In our debut episode, Paula D. Ashe chats about her recent short story, featured in the anthology Four Ghosts. She has published a number of short stories and a novella in publications such as Deviant Minds, Nexus Literary Magazine, and Indiana Science Fiction Anthology 2011. She teaches creative writing, freshman composition, argument, and world literature at a community college, and lives in the Midwest with her wife.