From prize-winning author Selby Wynn Schwartz comes her triumphal debut novel AFTER SAPPHO, an odyssey of the lives of sung and unsung queer women from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. An optimistic, resilient, irrepressible novel, it leaves little to wonder why we chose this vivacious title as our July Book of the Month. Celebrating past female trailblazers who burst free from a society who tried to repress them, Schwartz warns of issues still relevant to our present whilst shining a hopeful light on the future.
Seventeen-year-old Rina Pierangeli Faccio gives birth to the child of her abusive husband. Battling with her trauma, she seizes control of her own identity in changing her name and her future.
An almost destitute artist climbs aboard a ferry for Capri, intensely resolute she can make her artist’s career as Romaine Brooks on an island that is distant from her past hardships.
Writing pioneer Virginia Woolf articulates the absurdity of women’s societal restrictions and uses her ink as ammunition to advocate freedom for female intellectuals and creatives.
In a series of determined and astute narratives, Schwartz compellingly reimagines the lives of feminists, queer women, writers and artists such as Eleanora Duse, Sarah Bernhard, Josephine Baker, Colette and Virginia Woolf, amongst many others. Witty yet raging, poetic yet fierce, this novel tells the story of a war for equality, visibility and justice.
Selby Wynn Schwartz is a critically acclaimed and accomplished writer, having won the 2021 Reflex Press Novella prize and having been a 2020 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in LGBTQ nonfiction for The Bodies of Others: Drag Dances and their Afterlives. She has also appeared in Speculative Nonfiction, Lammergeier and Passages North. AFTER SAPPHO is another sensational piece of discourse from Schwartz that is integral for modern reformers and creatives of today in its powerfully radiant portrayal of tenacious women.
Praise for After Sappho:
‘Glorious, magnificent, truly liberating… After Sappho is a testimony to those on the margins, the outsiders; to those women who don’t fit in and don’t want to. It is about anyone who has fought, and continues to do so. As a gay man I found myself in its pages. I was another Sappho, too.’Vivek Tejuja, reviewer and culture editor, Verve Magazine
‘An absolute marvel.’Stephen Sparks, bookseller and editor, lithub.com
‘This book is splendid: impish, irate, deep, courageous, moving, funny… and truly significant, I think.’Lucy Ellmann, author of Ducks, Newburyport
After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz is published on 15/07/2022
(Galley Beggar Press, 9781913111243, p/b, £9.99)