Trans Women's Lit
July 6, 2014 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Trans women writers Jeanne Thornton, Imogen Binnie, Red Durkin and Casey Plett read from their recent works for Talks at Google.

The works and writers featured are, in order of appearance:

Jeanne Thornton, The Dream of Doctor Bantam (short excerpt available at that link)

Jeanne Thornton’s debut novel is a love story unlike any other, featuring Julie Thatch, a tough-as-nails, chainsmoking, wise-cracking 17-year-old Texan. Her idol, her older sister, jogs headlong into the lights of an approaching car, and dies. And Julie falls in love with a girl who both is and isn’t an echo of her older sister, a long-limbed Francophone named Patrice—who is also a devotee of the Institute of Temporal Illusions, a Church of Scientology-like cult.

Jeanne Thornton's site, and her writing Tumblr, full of fragments of fiction and works-in-progress and a few updates from all four featured writers' recent tour.
Bookslut interview with Jeanne Thornton.
Jeanne is also co-publisher of ROCKSALT, a comics paper in Austin featuring a whole bunch of fantastic artists and writers, many queer and trans.

Imogen Binnie, Nevada (preview of the first three chapters readable online here)

Nevada is the darkly comedic story of Maria Griffiths, a young trans woman living in New York City and trying to stay true to her punk values while working retail. When she finds out her girlfriend has lied to her, the world she thought she’d carefully built for herself begins to unravel, and Maria sets out on a journey that will most certainly change her forever.

A conversation with Imogen Binnie, at The Rejectionist
"She needs to stop explaining and start doing": Imogen Binnie talks to Dan Fishback about Nevada
Imogen talks about Nevada on a bed, in a kitchen, in Mississippi.

Red Durkin, A Roman Incident from The Collection: Short Fiction From The Transgender Vanguard (preview here)

A dynamic composite of rising stars, The Collection represents the depth and range of tomorrow’s finest writers chronicling transgender narratives. 28 authors from North America converge in a single volume to showcase the future of trans literature and the next great movements in queer art.

An interview with various members of Topside Press, on starting a publishing house dedicated to "authentic transgender narratives", beginning with The Collection.
Another interview about the book, parts one and two, with Casey Plett, Red Durkin, and Imogen Binnie.
Red's site, with links to her comedy on YouTube and her activism work.

Casey Plett, A Safe Girl To Love

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.
These stories, shiny with whiskey and prairie sunsets, rattling subways and neglected cats, show growing up as a trans girl can be charming, funny, frustrating, or sad, but never will it be predictable.

An interview with Casey Plett and fellow Canadian trans woman author Trish Salah on trans women's lit.
Another interview with Casey Plett, by the Winnipeg Free Press.
Casey also wrote a series of columns for McSweeney's from 2010 to 2011, about her first year of transition. (Previously)

Bonus links: Joining the four writers featured in the video on tour this summer was Sybil Lamb, writer of the newly-released I've Got A Time Bomb and maker of PROFESSHONAL ARTS.

Also here's Ryka Aoki, Imogen Binnie, Red Durkin, and the late Donna Ostrowsky speaking at Staking Our Claim: Trans Women's Literature in the 21st Century at the Barnard Centre for Research on Women in 2012.

Finally, trans guy Riley MacLeod reports on the Writing Trans Genres conference held at the University of Winnipeg earlier this year, which almost everyone featured in this post and about a million more incredible trans writers and thinkers attended.
posted by emmtee (11 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
I really liked most of Nevada, until the narration changes at the end and it got kind of confusing for me. And I'm friends with a bunch of other names here. Thanks so much for posting it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:09 PM on July 6, 2014

(Also, it should be noted that Riley is a trans man.)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:14 PM on July 6, 2014

Yeah, that could be clearer, thanks for noticing - I've messaged the mods for a quick edit.
posted by emmtee at 7:19 PM on July 6, 2014

Mod note: Edited quickly, carry on.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:30 PM on July 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ooh, lots to read here. Thanks for posting all of this.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:46 PM on July 6, 2014

Topside Press is wonderful. I found Nevada incredibly hard to get through because of how haunting it is for me. I own and have started but haven't managed to get through The Collection because each story has been reducing me to tears very quickly and it's tough to put aside time specifically for those kinds of feelings. But I'm glad they exist, and I hope cis people read them and get something out of them.

Thanks for this. I'll check out the talks when I get back home from SF. Also: good on Google, it seems?
posted by Corinth at 9:53 PM on July 6, 2014

Is this your first post, because if so, wow! that's some good work emmtee. (I am not stalker-y enough to check people's profiles for stuff like that as it never bothers me!) If not, its still another excellent JulyByWomen post.
posted by marienbad at 3:26 AM on July 7, 2014

Corinth: "I found Nevada incredibly hard to get through because of how haunting it is for me. I own and have started but haven't managed to get through The Collection because each story has been reducing me to tears very quickly and it's tough to put aside time specifically for those kinds of feelings."

Yeah, I can certainly relate to that - I think with Nevada, in a lot of ways it's the most relatable work I've read in my life, but I have enough of a degree of distance from it in terms of place and culture that I'm kind of insulated from it digging up any really bad stuff. I just straight-up adored every page. I found The Collection harder going, but it's turned me on to so many amazing writers that I'm glad I persevered.

And thankyou, marienbad! It's my ninth, although if I don't count the ones I kind of half-arsed I've made four and a half.
posted by emmtee at 6:47 AM on July 7, 2014

Corinth, you're in SF?
posted by gingerbeer at 7:06 AM on July 7, 2014

I've been internet friends with Imogen for years so when I heard about Nevada I snatched up a copy as soon as I could. I was ... uh, whatever the direct opposite of disappointed is. Fantastic stuff, and one passage unexpectedly forced me to reexamine how I am (was?) dealing with some issues in my life, and gave me some great perspective for changing them. I loaned my copy to several people before recently giving it to a friend who shared with me the news that they are transitioning. This means I need to buy another copy soon, because I know I'll want to re-read it and loan it out to even more people.
posted by komara at 8:32 AM on July 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

I finally got a chance to listen to the readings, and they were wonderful. I also want to change my "good on Google?" question to a "good on Google" statement. It's really cool that they're highlighting these writers!
posted by Corinth at 7:57 PM on July 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

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