Join us for the release of These are Love(d) Letters by Ames Hawkins. For this event, Ames will be interviewed by Barrie Jean Borich. The release celebration will include a reading, conversation, and book signing.
Ames Hawkins's These are Love(d) Letters is a genre-bending visual memoir and work of literary nonfiction that explores the questions: What inspires a person to write a love letter? What inspires a person to save a love letter even when the love has shifted or left? And what does it mean when a person uses someone else's love letters as a place from which to create their own sense of self?
Beginning with the "simple act" of the author receiving twenty letters written by her father to her mother over a six-week period in 1966, These are Love(d) Letters provides a complex pictorial and textual exploration of the work of the love letter. Through intimate and incisive prose-the letters were, after all, always intended to be a private dialogue between her parents-Hawkins weaves her own struggles with gender, sexuality, and artistic awakening in relation to the story of her parents' marriage that ended in divorce. Her father's HIV diagnosis and death by complications related to AIDS provide the context for an unflinchingly honest look at bodily disease and mortality. Hawkins delicately and relentlessly explores the tensions in a father-daughter relationship that stem from a differently situated connection to queer identity and a shared struggle with artistic desire. In communion with queer and lesbian writers from Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf to Alison Bechdel and Maggie Nelson, Hawkins pushes exploration of the self with the same intellectual rigor that she critiques the limits of epistolarity by continually relocating all the generative and arresting creative powers of this found art with scholarly rhetorical strategies.
Ames Hawkins is a creative-critical scholar, educator, and art activist. Their transgenre memoir, These are Love(d) Letters, debuts September 9, 2019 with Wayne State University Press. Recently names as one of the Guild Literary Complex’s 30 writers to watch, Ames’s creative-critical scholarship appears across a range of academic and literary publications—both print and online—such as Pre/Text, Constellations, Palaver Journal, enculturation, Slag Glass City, The Feminist Wire, The Rumpus, and Water~Stone Review. In 2013, Ames served as contributor, curator, and co-editor of the Lambda Literary Foundations 25th Anniversary eBook Collection, 25 for 25: An Anthology of Works by 25 Outstanding Contemporary Authors and Those They Inspired. Between 2015-2018 Ames co-hosted and co-produced the scholarly podcast Masters of Text (mastersoftext.com). She has been in residence at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, Lambda Literary Foundation’s Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. A professor in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago, their online portfolio can be found at http://www.ameshawkins.com.
Barrie Jean Borich is the award-winning author of Apocalyse, Darling, Body Geographic and My Lesbian Husband. She is an Associate Professor of creative writing and publishing at DePaul University in Chicago, where she edits Slag Glass City, a digital journal of the urban essay arts.