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Canceled - Fiction Author & Spoken Word Artist Myriam Gurba Reading & Book Signing

April 23, 2020

12:30 PM - 01:45 PM


Daniela Sow , 619-668-1743,

Per governor's order, the Grossmont College campus is closed to the public and this event has been canceled. We apologize for the inconvenience.

American queer writer, story-teller, visual artist and teacher, Myriam Gurba, reads from her award-winning hybrid memoir, Mean. Part true crime, part memoir, and part ghost story, Mean is the boldly revealing and hilarious comedy of Gurba’s own coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Gurba, with deadly seriousness, takes on the cost of small town sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia.

About meanness, Gurba explains, "We act mean to defend ourselves from boredom and from those who would cut off our breasts. We act mean to defend our clubs and institutions. We act mean because we like to laugh. Being mean to boys is fun and a second-wave feminist duty. Being mean to men who deserve it is a holy mission. Sisterhood is powerful, but being mean is more exhilarating. Being mean isn't for everybody. Being mean is best practiced by those who understand it as an art form." Jill Soloway, writer-director of the award-winning series, Transparent, extols Gurba’s Mean as "an alchemy of queer magic, feminist wildness, and intersectional explosion.” The critically acclaimed Michelle Tea, poet and author, and the originator of San Francisco’s Drag Queen Story Hour, praises Mean as casually “frank and grimly funny, the stealth power of this book mesmerizes. Mean excavates one female’s personal history with America’s rape culture, zooming through suburbia, race, friendship, desire, education, family, pop culture—essentially taking on the world—with prose both controlled and popping with singular detail.” American author, poet, and essayist, Wendy Ortiz, praises Mean as "a heartbreaking and riotously funny collection that, like Gurba, is hybrid in its form. I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book that covers the territories of class, racism, sexual assault, eating disorders, and more that made me LOL with its ferocious intellect and biting humor.… I want Myriam Gurba to translate the world.” Oprah Magazine hailed Mean as one of the "Best LGBTQ Books of All Time."

In addition to her acclaimed Mean, Myriam Gurba is also the author of the short story collection Painting Their Portraits in Winter (Manic D Press 2015), described by NBC as “edgy, thought-provoking, and funny.” (Full title: How Some Abuelitas Keep Their Chicana Granddaughters Still While Painting Their Portraits in Winter.) Her other story and novella collection, Dahlia Season (Future Tense 2007), was a winner of The Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction from Publishing Triangle and finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. Gurba’s six chapbooks including Richard (Birds of Lace 2018, River Candy (eohippus labs), Wish You Were Me (Future Tense 2011), A White Girl Named Shaquanda (self-published 2013) Menudo & Herb (self-published 2013), and Sweatsuits of the Damned (Radar Productions 2014), winner of the 2013 Eli Coppola Memorial Chapbook contest. Anthologized in collections such as Best American Erotica, Bottom's Up), Tough Girls, Ambientes, and Confidences, Gurba’s poetry and prose have also appeared in Entropy, Time, Zocalo Public Square, The Wanderer, XQsi Magazine, and many others.

About the Author

While touring with Sisterspit, a lesbian-feminist spoken-word and performance art collective, Gurba has performed at Radar, Bootleg Theater, Skylight Books, Book Show, Rhapsodomancy, The Poetic Research Bureau, Tongue & Groove, Small Press Fest at Pitzer College, Gallery 211 Booksmit, and others. Additionally, she has exhibited at the Museum of Latin American Art and the Center Long Beach. She is a contributor to LGBTQ blogs such as Lesbrain and Radar Productions.

A native of Santa Maria, California and a graduate of UC Berkeley, Gurba currently lives and teaches in Long Beach, CA.

*All Literary Arts Festival events are free and open to the public.

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