Live Stream: Deesha Philyaw presents The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, in conversation with Nafissa Thompson-Spires

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About The Secret Lives of Church Ladies: 

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church's double standards and their own needs and passions.

There is fourteen-year-old Jael, who has a crush on the preacher's wife. At forty-two, Lyra realizes that her discomfort with her own body stands between her and a new love. As Y2K looms, Caroletta's "same time next year" arrangement with her childhood best friend is tenuous. A serial mistress lays down the ground rules for her married lovers. In the dark shadows of a hospice parking lot, grieving strangers find comfort in each other.

With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.

Deesha Philyaw's writing on race, parenting, gender, and culture has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington PostMcSweeney's, the RumpusBrevityTueNight, and elsewhere. Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, she currently lives in Pittsburgh with her daughters. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies was recently longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award. 

Nafissa Thompson-Spires is the author of the award-winning story collection Heads of the Colored People. She earned a doctorate in English from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. Her work has appeared in Story Quarterly, Lunch Ticket, and The Feminist Wire, among other publications. She was a 2016 fellow of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. For more information, visit http://www.nafissathompsonspires.com/.

 

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The Secret Lives of Church Ladies Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781949199734
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: West Virginia University Press - September 1st, 2020

Heads of the Colored People: Stories Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501168000
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: 37 Ink - January 22nd, 2019