10 Works of Black Lesbian Short Fiction

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Recently, I was asked about short story collections by women of Color, and what a timely thing, too, since I’m planning on reading more short fiction this year. Collections are always a bit complicated for me: on the one hand I want to take my time and savor each story, treat it as a complete work by itself (as should be, unless it’s interconnected stories), but on the other I usually fail and pressure myself to read the whole collection quickly. So this year, I will again start an extra page in my menu for short stories I’ve read. I used to do this a few years ago, but have sadly let it slide. That way I hope to concentrate on a variety of stories,  giving each the same attention I would give a novel.

Now, short story collections by women of Color, that covers a lot of ground! So I’m starting with this list of Black lesbian short fiction:

1.Does Your Mama Know?: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Coming Out Stories by Lisa C. Moore, ed. gr-pic

does-your-mama-know

This important 1998 collection showcases Black lesbian coming out experiences. Many of the contributions are short stories but you can also find poems, interviews and essays. Edited by Lisa C. Moore who is also the founder and editor of the amazing RedBone Press, which publishes Black lesbian and gay literature. Note: There is now a second edition that comes with 17 new stories!

2.Speaking in Whispers: African-American Lesbian Erotica by Kathleen E. Morris gr-pic

speaking-in-whispers

A 1996 collection of erotic short fiction, celebrating Black lesbian sexuality and sensuality, also available from RedBone Press! Kathleen E. Morris identifies herself as a militant total femme dyke.

3.Afrekete: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing by Catherine E. McKinley, L. Joyce DeLaney, eds. gr-pic

afrekete

First published in 1995, the Afrekete anthology also includes poetry and nonfiction. It features works by Audre Lorde, Jewelle Gómez, Jacqueline Woodson, Alexis De Veaux and more and was nominated for the Lambda award in 1996.

4.Don’t Explain by Jewelle Gómez gr-pic

dont-explain-gomez

In her short story collection, American writer and cultural worker Jewelle Gómez (of The Gilda Stories fame) presents Black lesbian speculative fiction set in 1960s Boston and other futures.

5.Longing, Lust, and Love: Black Lesbian Stories by Shonia Brown, ed. gr-pic

longing-love-and-lust

A 2006 collection of erotic short fiction about Black lesbian love at different stages., edited by Shonia Brown, author of a novel and independent book publisher.

6.Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction by S. Andrea Allen, Lauren Cherelle, eds. gr-pic

lez-talk

A recent addition, this collection presents stories about the range of Black lesbian experiences in such genres as romance and SFF. Editor S. Andrea Allen is also the founder and publisher of Black feminist press BLF Press, take a look!

7.Two Moons: Stories by Krystal A. Smith gr-pic

two-moons

This collection isn’t out yet, but will be released June 20, 2017 ( also by BLF Press)! Krystal A. Smith is a “Black lesbian writer of poetry and speculative fiction.”

8.Callaloo & Other Lesbian Love Tales by LaShonda K. Barnett gr-pic

callaloo

LaShonda Barnett is an author, radio host and scholar, and also the author of the novel Jam! On the Vine. Her short story collection from 1999 presents tales of Black lesbian women from different walks of life.

9.Black Girl Love by Anondra “Kat” Williams gr-pic

black-girl-love

Anondra “Kat” Williams is a writer and poet as well as a radio host and the author of another collection, SistaGirl. Black Girl Love collects more than 25 short stories and poems about Black lesbians on love, life and sex.

10.Once and Future Lovers: A Collection of Short Fiction by Sheree L. Greer gr-pic

once-and-future-lovers

Sheree L. Greer is an author and the host of Oral Fixation, an LGBTQ Open Mic series. Her 2012 book is a short collection about the courage, joy, pain and pleasure of love and relationships.

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How do you read short story collections? And have you read any of the works above? 

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Further reading:

For all the Black lesbian lit recommendations, visit Rena’s excellent blog Sistahs on the Shelf.

For more generally diverse short story collections, see for example Naz’ wonderful list “Give Short Fiction A Chance” here.

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41 thoughts on “10 Works of Black Lesbian Short Fiction

  1. Fantastic list as always Bina! More to add to my TBR. I am loving short story collection now-a-days. Although i feel similarly about pace and paying attention to ever single story in a collection.

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    1. Thank you! Heh glad I’m not the only one with these problems, and collections and anthologies are too amazing not to get a move on. Definitely going for it this year 🙂

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  2. Thank you, this is awesome! It can be super hard to find older stuff, especially anthologies. I come across things on GR all the time that are kind of forgotten and probably very undeservedly so. I had NO IDEA Jewelle Gómez had a short story collection!

    Your lists need a button of “Add everything to my TBR all at once” 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yes we need that button! 🙂 Yes who knew? I need to binge Gómez’ works this year and your event sounds awesome. Also your GR list is dangerous, I basically fell into it, will I ever make it out again? 😀

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  3. I don’t believe I’ve ever read a collection of short stories before, but it is definitely something I want to try! I’ve never heard of any of these collections, except I think I remember Naz reading and reviewing Lez Talk? Maybe? Anyways that one jogged a memory. Does Your Momma Know? also sounds fascinating!

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    1. Yes Naz reviewed Lez Talk, I’ve been itching to get my hands on a copy ever since! 🙂 Definitely give it a try, so many amazing collections out there! I’m hoping to read short stories before bed time this year.

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    1. Aww thank you! I’ve read from many but not all of these, but Does Your Mama Know has some amazing stories, also there are even more in the new, second edition, which I only just found out! Also I so need Lez Talk, wasn’t available here for Xmas, still haven’t gotten over that!

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      1. Ooh awesome! I had Lez Talk on my TBR but will be adding Does Your Mama Know as well 🙂
        I want to say that you recommended me This Bridge Called my Back, as well?? Just picked it up from my library – highly excited to read it 🙂

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  4. This list is what dreams are made of. I know I’ve been seeing Lez Talk around a lot and was thinking of picking that up, but it looks like now I have quite the book dilemma on my hands (the good kind, at least). Short story anthologies are a bit of an unchartered territory for me, and I have no clue how to explain why. Hopefully, though, I can break myself out of it this year because I need ALL OF THESE BOOKS IN MY LIFE RN.

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    1. Yay glad you love the list! 🙂 Yes Lez Talk! Naz got me onto it! ❤ Best start with one and then get them all, but Lez Talk is probably a great way to start off 😀 Yeah I'm trying to do better with short stories this year too. They are just too amazing, I cannot miss out. And I love getting to know so many different authors' work that way 🙂

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  5. I’m bookmarking this pots!! Thanks so much. Lez Talk was such an interesting and diverse collection of stories. By now, I’ve read a few books of Black lesbian fiction, much better than at the beginning of 2016. But must read more!!! 🙂
    The Two Moons collection especially has my eye because of a story in Lez Talk by the same name was one of my faves. ❤

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    1. Yay thank you! And I’ve been drooling over Lez Talk since you reviewed it! ❤ I'm trying to do better with LGBTQIA+ lit and short stories this year. Ooh was it by the same author? The whole collection sounds really great, so on my tbr for his year 🙂

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  6. So….what a way to make an argument that I should add some black lesbian to my TBR if I want to consider myself “well-read”! I have read LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s Jam On The Vine- which I adored. On another note, I believe that I met Sheree L. Greer years ago when she was doing her MFA in writing at Columbia College Chicago (hope its the same person) so I’m pleased to learn about her collection, even if I’m 5 years late! Good work as usual, Bina.

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    1. Thank you ❤ Haha yes, everyone needs to read these books! 🙂 I'm working through them, too, one story at a time. Oooh Jam On the Vine is on my list for this, so wonderful to hear you loved it, Leslie! 🙂
      Also, awww so happy you two found each other again on my blog!!!

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