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Crooked Letter i: Coming Out in the South

Connie Griffin, editor

NewSouth Books
$25.95 paperback with French flaps
5.5 x 8.5
208 pages
Dorothy Allison, foreword
September 2015

Crooked Letter i offers a collection of first-person nonfiction narratives that reflect the distinct 'coming out' experiences of a complex cross-section of gay, lesbian, and transgendered Southerners from all walks of life and at different stages in their lives.

There is the Appalachian widower who, following the death of his wife, decides it's time to tell his church community. There is the young man who left his hometown as a girl, returning hesitant but hopeful for his grandmother's love. There is the adolescent girl who refuses to surrender her soul to Jesus because she is not yet certain of her own beliefs. There is the well-mannered Southern gentleman who hopes his blueberries and biscuits will help ease the awkwardness of coming out to his elderly neighbor. There are the ones who survived the frequent bar raids, arrests, and beatings. But, there is also the first kiss, and the first love.

The experiences represented here pivot around a central theme -- finally finding language to understand one's identity, and then discovering we were never the only ones. Revealing a vibrant cross-section of Southerners, the writers of these narratives have in common the experience of being Southern and different, but determined against all odds."


"In this remarkable collection of essays, these writers not only claim their rightful place in the landscape of letters but also the geography of juleps and cheese grits and our fundamentalist families.” -- Kevin Sessums, Mississippi Sissy
"Moving and engrossing . . . The mosaic of voices assembled for this stimulating collection offer insight, hope, and affirmation while illuminating the uniquely Southern aspects of the coming-out process.” -- Bennett Singer, editor, Growing Up Gay/Growing Up Lesbian, co-director of Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin