Blog Tour Featuring S. Andrea Allen

Posted by on Oct 15, 2014 in Community | 0 comments

Blog Tour Featuring S. Andrea Allen

saa_picS. Andrea Allen’s works in progress include A Failure to Communicate, a collection of short fiction, and a collection of creative non-fiction, Black Lesbian Feminist: Essays. She is also co-editor of Voices de Queer Femmes, an upcoming anthology of femme writing. She has written for Elixher Magazine and has been blogging for several years.

Stephanie is also on the advisory board of the upcoming film A Persistent Desire, which documents the experiences of butch/femme relationships in lesbian communities and serves as a consultant on the Bay Area Lesbian History Archive Project. She has previously served as a board member of Pride Lafayette, a non-profit LGBT community center in Indiana, and volunteered at Odyssey Youth Center, a non-profit for LGBT youth in Spokane, Washington. She presently serves on the LGBT Studies advisory committee at Purdue University.

Tell us about A Failure to Communicate.

It’s always hard to describe your work in a few words, but all of the stories in the collection focus on the ways in which communication, or the lack thereof, impacts our lives and experiences. Of course there are stories about failed communications in relationships, but I’ve also included a little story about a bake-off, where it’s clear that one of the characters didn’t get the message about the rules of the contest and doesn’t understand why she didn’t win. It’s a little tongue in cheek, but it was really fun to write. Another theme in the collection is that all of the stories have Black lesbian protagonists. All of the women are very different and at various stages of their lives. What’s interesting about them is the manner in which their ability to communicate (or not) has either left them broken or set them free.

When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun?

Fun? What’s that? : ) Right now I’m working full time, trying to finish my dissertation, working on three manuscripts, hosting a radio show, and starting a micro-press! I have very little time for anything but working, but when I need to take a break, I get in my car and drive. I love road trips, and I’ve taken quite a few really long drives alone. Driving relaxes me, and I’m able to just enjoy the moment I’m in. I do love the life I’m living right now, so I think that I’m having fun even with all of the chaos.

Read More of Stephanie's Q&A

What cultural value do you see in writing A Failure to Communicate?

One of the things I hope that my work accomplishes is to uncover the myriad experiences of Black women, Black lesbians in particular. I’ve been a student and teacher of literature for several years, and I’m drawn to literary fiction. I like to think of my own work as Black lesbian literary fiction, and only time and the critics will tell if that’s actually the case. : ) I believe I’m writing the types of books that I’ve always wanted to read, books that have cultural and social value to Black women who look for themselves in the pages of contemporary literary fiction and continue to find themselves wanting. Barbara Smith wrote about this need for Black lesbian fiction back in 1977 and even though we’ve come a long way since then, there’s just so much about our lives that remains hidden, even from ourselves. Part of what I hope to do is remind us that even though we may have much to lament in our lives, we also have much to celebrate.

Are there underrepresented groups or ideas featured in A Failure to Communicate?

Of course! All of my work focuses on Black lesbians.

What kinds of books do you like to read?

I read a little of everything. I read lots of literary fiction including Toni Morrison, Percival Everett, Jewelle Gomez, James Baldwin, Zadie Smith, and Philip Roth. I also love apocalyptic type novels like Justin Cronin’s trilogy, The Twelve. Because I’m still working on my dissertation, I’m always reading literary criticism and other scholarly texts. I love Patricia Hill Collins, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, and other Black feminist writers. Finally, I’m a sucker for creative non-fiction, and I’m actually working on a collection of essays myself. My all time favorites are my literary foremother and father: Baldwin’s Notes on a Native Son, and Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, but I also love Roxanne Gay’s Ayiti. I’ve also purchased Bad Feminist, but I haven’t had time to read it yet. Every now and then I’ll pick up something new that looks interesting. Just recently I finished Walter Mosley’s Debbie Doesn’t Do it Anymore. I was like whoa! I’ve read several of his books but this was like nothing I’ve ever read by him. It’s short, so you can read it in a day or two, but it will certainly stick with you.

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The LEZ TALK BOOKS BLOG TOUR is a collaborative effort byblack lesbian writers of fiction and nonfiction works. These writers will also be featured on LEZ TALK BOOKS RADIO.

Visit facebook.com/leztalkbooksradio for details on upcoming shows.

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