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About Myriam Gurba
Myriam Gurba is a native Californian. She attended U.C. Berkeley thanks to affirmative action. She is the author of two short story collections, DAHLIA SEASON and PAINTING THEIR PORTRAITS IN WINTER. DAHLIA SEASON won the Edmund White Award, which is given to queer writers for outstanding debut fiction. The book was also shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award. Gurba is also the author of two poetry collections, WISH YOU WERE ME and SWEATSUITS OF THE DAMNED. She has toured North America twice with avant-garde literary and performance troupe Sister Spit. Gurba’s other writing can be found in places such as Entropy.com, TIME.com, and Lesfigues.com. She creates digital and photographic art that has been exhibited at galleries and museums. She works as a high school teacher.
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Books By Myriam Gurba
True crime, memoir, and ghost story, Mean is the bold and hilarious tale of Myriam Gurba’s coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Gurba takes on sexual violence, small towns, and race, turning what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy. This is a confident, intoxicating, brassy book that takes the cost of sexual assault, racism, misogyny, and homophobia deadly seriously.
We act mean to defend ourselves from boredom and from those who would chop 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 rude to men who deserve it is a holy mission. Sisterhood is powerful, but being a bitch is more exhilarating . . .
“Mean calls for a fat, fluorescent trigger warning start to finish—and I say this admiringly. Gurba likes the feel of radioactive substances on her bare hands.” —The New York Times
“Gurba uses the tragedies, both small and large, she sees around her to illuminate the realities of systemic racism and misogyny, and the ways in which we can try to escape what society would like to tell us is our fate.” —Nylon
“With its icy wit, edgy wedding of lyricism and prose, and unflinching look at personal and public demons, Gurba’s introspective memoir is brave and significant.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Mean will make you LOL and break your heart.” —The Millions
In this artfully crafted collection of new short stories by award-winning author Myriam Gurba, nothing is as it seems on the surface. A Mexican grandmother tells creepy yet fascinating ghost stories to her granddaughters as a way to make them sit still ("How Some Abuelitas Keep Their Chicana Granddaughters Still So That They Can Paint Their Portraits in Winter"). A Polish grandfather spends the night in a Mexican graveyard after a Día de Muertos celebration to discover if ghosts really do consume the food that has been left for them ("Even This Title Is a Ghost").
Unforgettable characters inhabit these cross-border tales filled with introspection and longing, as modern sensibilities weave and wind through traditional folktales creating a new kind of magical realism that offers insights into where we come from and where we may be going.
A native Californian, Myriam Gurba earned a BA with honors from UCBerkeley. Her writing has been published by Manic D Press, Future Tense, City Lights, and Seal Press. Her first book, Dahlia Season, won the Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary Award. She blogs often for the Rumpus and Radar Productions.
Chicana. Goth. Dykling. Desiree Garcia knows she’s weird and a weirdo magnet. To extinguish her strangeness, her parents ship her to Saint Michael’s Catholic High School, then to Mexico, but neurology can’t be snuffed out so easily: Screwy brain chemistry holds the key to Desiree’s madness. As fellow crazies sense a kinship with her, Desiree attracts a coterie of both wanted and unwanted admirers, including a pair of racist deathrock sisters, a pretty Hispanic girl who did time in California’s most infamous mental asylum, and a transnational stalker with a pronounced limp.
As high school graduation nears, Desiree’s weirdness turns from charming to alarming. Plagued by increasingly bizarre thoughts and urges, Desiree convinces herself she’s schizophrenic, despite assurance otherwise. In college, she finds Rae, an ex-carnie trannyboi, who becomes the June Carter to her Johnny Cash. With Rae’s help, Desiree answers the riddle of her insanity and names her disease.
Combining the spark of Michelle Tea, the comic angst of Augusten Burroughs, and the warmth of Sandra Cisneros, Mexican American author Myriam Gurba has created a territory all her own. Dahlia Season not only contains the title novella, but also several of Gurba’s acclaimed stories.
Myriam Gurba is a high school teacher who lives in Long Beach, California, home of Snoop Dogg and the Queen Mary. She graduated from UC Berkeley, and her writing has appeared in anthologies like The Best American Erotica (St. Martin’s Press), Bottom’s Up (Soft Skull Press), Secrets and Confidences (Seal Press), and Tough Girls (Black Books).