Sarah Isom Center highlights LGBT literature in Southern history discussion

Posted on Apr 25 2017 - 8:00am by Anna Hodges

The Sarah Isom Center is hosting a discussion entitled “Queer Underground Publishing”at Square Books as a part of the month-long series of talks called “The Radical South.”

The event, presented by authors Julie Enszer and Greg Herron, plans to illustrate the history of queer literature in the South and how the past has influenced today’s LGBTQ+ literary community.

“The Radical South” is a series of lectures and presentations throughout the month of April hosted by the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, as well as multiple organizations in the Oxford-Lafayette community and the University of Mississippi.

The series was created in response to Gov. Phil Bryant’s declaration of the month of April as being “Confederate History Month” last year.

Bryant’s reasoning for creating Confederate History Month was for Mississippi to appreciate its Southern heritage. This series focuses questioning that Confederate heritage and what it means to live in a place where the wish to preserve the past is very much prevalent.

The series seeks to shed light on the southern identity and issues faced by the modern Southerner regarding racial and economic justice, gender and sexual equality in a place where many of these issues are often pushed to the side or ignored.

“The Radical South” is the Oxford community’s opportunity to dive deep into the Southern social structure and look into the many issues that are often discussed in a negative light.

Sponsored by the University of Mississippi Pride Network, the Sarah Isom Center for Gender Studies, and the MFA program of the English department, the event focuses on gender and sexual equality. The main discussions and topic points of the evening will be presented by Julie Enszer, editor of “Sinister Wisdom,” and Greg Herren, a crime writer from New Orleans.

Enszer, a poet and scholar, earned her Ph.D. in women’s studies from the University of Maryland and has since authored multiple poetry collections, and served as editor for many different publications.

Her work covers the history of lesbian feminist culture. She works as the curator for the Lesbian Poetry Archive, which serves as a preservation of lesbian poetry.  Most notable is her editing of “Sinister Wisdom,” a multicultural lesbian journal. Some of her works include “Avowed” and “Lilith’s Demons.”

Herren’s work focuses on the different lives of gay men living in New Orleans, illustrating the diverse culture of the LGBT community.

Herren also writes books for young adults, writing on the issues many young members of the LGBT community face in their adolescence. Themes of feminism, family and peer relationships and tolerance are only a few of the relatable themes Herren features in his books.

Herren currently serves as the president of the Southwest Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Herren’s works include “Sleeping Angel,” the Scotty Bradley series, and the Chanse MacLeod series.

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Square Books. Event goers are encouraged to arrive a bit early to ensure good seating.