A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home
Dirty River is a transformative memoir by a queer disabled woman of colour and abuse survivor by Lambda Literary Award and Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction finalist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.
In 1996, carrying only two backpacks, Leah caught a Greyhound bus in America and ran away to Canada. She ended up in Toronto, where she was welcomed by a community of queer punks of colour offering promises of love and revolution, yet she remained haunted by the reasons she left home in the first place.
Passionate, and more than just surviving, Dirty River is a much needed story.
Dirty River is a passionate, riveting memoir is a mixtape of dreams and nightmares, of immigration court lineups and queer South Asian dance nights; it is an intensely personal road map and an intersectional, tragicomic tale that reveals how a disabled queer woman of colour and abuse survivor navigates the dirty river of the not-so-distant past and, as the subtitle suggests, “dreams her way home. ”
“The LGBTIQ community should lift its ears to receive Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Her vision stands to rearrange the ways we approach community, creating art, and loving. Every time I’ve heard her read, I’ve come away new. ”
About the Author
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (she/they) is a queer disabled nonbinary femme writer, educator and disability/transformative justice worker of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. They are the author or co-editor of nine books, including most recently, co-edited with Ejeris Dixon, Beyond Survival, Stories and Strategies from the Transformative Justice Movement, Tonguebreaker, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home (ALA Above the Rainbow List, short-listed for the Lambda and Publishing Triangle Awards), Bodymap (short-listed for the Publishing Triangle Award), Love Cake (Lambda Literary Award winner), and Consensual Genocide, with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani, she co-edited The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities.
They are the 2020 recipient of the Lambda Foundation’s Jeanne Cørdova Prize in Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction, recognizing “a lifetime of work documenting the complexity of queer experience” and are also the recipient of the groundbreaking 2020 US Artists Disability Futures Fellowship. Proud to be raised in Worcester, MA, they have called Brooklyn, Oakland and most of all Toronto home, but have been living in South Seattle, Duwamish territories for the last five years.
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