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Department of Writing Lecture: BFA in Writing Artist-in-Residence Michelle Tea

September 18, 2018 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Michelle Tea is the author of a dozen books of fiction, memoir and poetry. Her memoir Valencia (Seal Press) won the Lambda Book Award for Best Lesbian Fiction and has been made into a sprawling, feature-length art film with twenty-one different casts and crews. Said Publishers Weekly about her latest, the essay collection Against Memoir (The Feminist Press), “Tea’s prose is conversational, whether writing about her stint traveling the country as part of a lesbian spoken-word collective or delving into complex topics such as the harassment of young women as a product of misogynist culture. Queer counterculture beats loud and proud in Tea’s stellar collection.” Her writing can be found in places such as The Believer, Artforum, and Harper’s; she has a weekly column profiling queer artists at INTO, and will soon start a regular column at Lenny Letter, reading celebrities’ tarot cards.

Tea is the founder of the long-running queer literature institution, RADAR Productions; for thirteen years she served as its Executive Director and ran the monthly RADAR Reading Series at the San Francisco Public Library. She founded and for two decades ran the legendary Sister Spit performance tours, and for six years managed the Radar LAB, a free, queer-centric artist retreat in the Yucatan. She is the former editor of the Sister Spit/City Lights publishing imprint, and the current editor of the Amethyst Editions series at The Feminist Press. Tea is the founding editor-at-large of Mutha Magazine, an alternative parenting site. She is also the creator of the international sensation Drag Queen Story Hour. She hosts and curates the pop-up comedy event JOSH and the no-bro comedy open mic Clown Town, both in Los Angeles.

Tea is presently awaiting publication of the final book in her young adult fantasy series, Castle on the River Vistula (McSweeney’s); a stylish astrology baby book, Astro Baby (Dottir) and the Drag Queen Story Hour-inspired kids’ book, We’ve Seen a Drag Queen! (The Feminist Press), while working on developing multiple projects for film and television.

The BFA Writer-in-Residence is a distinguished visiting writer who visits classes, meets with students, and participates in the life of the department each year. Past Writers-in-Residence have included Hilton Als, Kurt Anderson, Mary Gaitskill, Jen Hofer, Jenny Offil, Francine Prose, and Layli Long Soldier.