*The talk will take place in the Woodbridge Room of the University of Exeter’s Reed Hall. Registration is essential and will close on the 28 of February to ensure accurate planning for number of guests registered.*
Grace Lavery is a writer, editor, and academic living in Brooklyn, NY. As an Associate Professor of English, Critical Theory, and Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, her research explores the history and theory of aesthetics and interpretation, with particular interests in psychoanalysis, literary realism, and queer and trans cultures. Her new speculative memoir, Please Miss, has just been published by Seal Press (US) and Daunt Books (UK).
Her first book, Quaint, Exquisite: Victorian Aesthetics and the Idea of Japan, was published by Princeton University Press in 2019, and her scholarly essays have been published in Critical Inquiry, Differences, Social Text Online, Transgender Studies Quarterly, and elsewhere. She is a General Editor of Transgender Studies Quarterly. She writes for non-specialist readerships on queer/trans culture and politics, and has published work in Autostraddle, The Guardian, Gay Magazine, them, and Catapult, where she has an occasional film column entitled “Lurid Speculations.”
Grace has a husband named Daniel and a Japanese Chin named Bon-Bon. She enjoys cooking and walking.
As part of the UK book tour for her memoir Please Miss, Professor Grace Lavery will be joining us at the University of Exeter to talk about her work and activism on sexuality, gender, and culture. (more details on the talk coming soon)
Reviews of Please Miss:
“Grace Lavery’s Please Miss is a polychromatic, wild and joyous gambol through a world which is like ours but blessedly twisted… Come for the laugh out loud miniature windsock on page one, stay for the fascinating analysis of a discarded pig part in Jude the Obscure, end up profoundly moved and profoundly grateful for this supremely intelligent, innovative, and important tale which is, as Lavery brilliantly puts it, ‘like all the rest, different from all the rest.'” (Maggie Nelson, author of The Argonauts)
“Hot, sick, painfully vivid.” (Sophie Lewis, author of Full Surrogacy Now)
“Please Miss cheerfully explodes the trans memoir as political and rhetorical apparatus, refusing norms of uplift or disclosure or cis reader reassurance in favor of the messy magic of a joyfully plural existence. You will annoy loved ones because you’re going to read big chunks of this out loud to them and their jaws will drop at the chutzpah of Grace abounding.” (Drew Daniel, of the band Matmos, Associate Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University)
“Please Miss will awe you with its swung prose, its hairpin generic turns, and its bouts of gleeful self-scrutiny. These formal extroversions are part of the book’s argument and a deep insurrectionist pleasure in themselves. One chapter through and you’re ready to draw with Lavery, stand with her, hold with her.” (Paul Saint-Amour, Walter H. & Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities, University of Pennsylvania)
“Always smart, frequently funny, and sometimes—always tastefully, I assure you—gut-wrenchingly moving, Grace Lavery’s Please Miss is brilliant from start to finish. It’s a howling tale of trans life, addiction, sex, love, loss, and this maddening and delightful meat out of which we are made. Packed as it is with delicious fabulation and sticky detail, the book makes a profound statement about not only what it means to be trans, but also what it means to be meaty, enfleshed, sexed, throbbing with desire, reeling from loss, ragged, loved and pleasured, carved and sutured, and, above all, struggling to find words for any and all of it. What a book! And have I mentioned it’s an absolute delight to read?” (Gabriel Rosenberg, Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University)
“An unclassifiable pastiche of genuine beauty, a meta-memoir that takes its humor as seriously as its philosophy. Lush, louche, and utterly virtuosic, Please Miss takes a puff off a cigarette, and blooms an astonishing constellation of linked vignettes, an argument given in undercurrent, in root systems, in smoke. Please Miss gives us what we came for and then the much more for which we did not know we could come.” (Jordy Rosenberg, author of Confessions of the Fox)