Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the novel The Book of Joan and the National Bestselling novel The Small Backs of Children, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award's Ken Kesey Award for Fiction as well as the Reader's Choice Award, the novel Dora: A Headcase, and a critical book on war and narrative, Allegories Of Violence (Routledge). Her widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water was a finalist for a PEN Center USA award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader's Choice. A book based on her recent TED Talk, The Misfit's Manifesto, is forthcoming this fall.
She has also had writing appear in publications including Guernica Magazine, Ms., The Iowa Review, Zyzzyva, Another Chicago Magazine, The Sun, Exquisite Corpse, TANK, and in the anthologies Life As We Show It (City Lights), Wreckage of Reason (Spuytin Duyvil), Forms at War (FC2), Feminaissance (Les Figues Press), and Representing Bisexualities (SUNY), as well as online at The Rumpus.
She founded the workshop series Corporeal Writing in Portland Oregon, where she teaches both in person and online. She received her doctorate in Literature from the University of Oregon. She lives in Oregon with her husband Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son, Miles. She is a very good swimmer.
In 1986 my daughter died the day she was born. From her I became a writer.
My writing is informed, deformed, and reformed by these things:
- I think gender and sexuality are territories of possibility. Never mind what we've been told or what the choices appear to be. Inside artistic practice the possibilities open back up.
- I think narrative is quantum.
- I think the writer is a locus through which intensities pass.
- I think literature is that which fights back against the oppressive scripts of socialization and good citizenship.
- I think the space of making art is freedom of being.
- I think things that happen to us are true. Writing is a whole other body.
- I believe in art the way other people believe in god.
- I have had lots of jobs. Some of my favorites were being on an all male house painting crew, because you could see and touch your labor and it had concrete meaning and I could drink beer, pee standing up, and fart anytime I wanted; seasonal farm work like picking basil and fruit because I got to be outside and meet cool people; working on the road crew with Mexicans two of the times I was arrested.
In the more recent past all my jobs have been bourgeois teaching gigs. I don't know what I think about teaching. Mostly I show up and beg people to have a dialogue with me about ideas. I do feel lucky to have a job and health insurance. Its just hard to be an isolate and do something so public every day.
Oh. And I am a very, very good swimmer. Which must be why, as my friend Mia says, I have not drowned. When pulled under, kick.