(By Three O'Clock Press; originally published at threeoclockpress.com)
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer femme mixed Sri Lankan (Burgher/Tamil)-Ukranian/Irish writer, poet, educator and cultural worker. Named one of the Feminist Press' “40 Feminists Under 40 Who Are Shaping the Future," Leah's written work spans the genres of essays to poetry and non-fiction. Her 2012 Lambda award-winning collection of poetry, Love Cake, was ecstatically received by the LGBTQ community for its powerful prose. Leah's work has appeared in countless anthologies, including Dear Sister, Undoing Border Imperialism, Stay Solid, Persistence: Still Butch and Femme, Yes Means Yes, Visible: A Femmethology, Homelands and Colonize This, just to name a few.
In Leah's contribution to Letters Lived: Radical Reflections, Revolutionary Paths, she speaks frankly about her shaky roots. A queer survivor through and through, Leah writes about escaping abusive relationships and a blood family that didn't give her enough room to explore her surroundings. She is a major proponent of the endless possibilities that come from community support, a belief strongly reflected in her work as an artist, co-founding Mangos with Chili, North America's performance hub for Two Spirit, queer and trans people of colour performance artists.
"The queer and trans, feminist of colour, anti-colonial, disability-loving, broke ass genius movement you are a part of has saved your life over and over again."
Leah has taught, performed and given lectures across North America, Sri Lanka and Australia, and in Toronto she co-founded the Asian Arts Freedom School. As an emerging artist, Leah relied on writing art spaces that were difficult to come by in her community. Through the Asian Arts Freedom School, she hopes to bolster the confidence of marginalized writers of colour who are going through similar issues.
At the moment, Leah is prepping her first memoir, Dirty River. She is also currently completing her third book of poetry, Bodymap, and a writers manual, Writing the World. You can find out a lot more about Leah and her work on her website brownstargirl.org
You can catch Leah tonight at a very special Letters Lived event with fellow contributor, Dr. Rozena Maart! These two women will be joining Letters Lived editor Sheila Sampath for a reading and some coversation. We hope to see you there!