photo by heidi andrea restrepo rhodes
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme writer, performance artist and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. The author of the Lambda Award-winning Love Cake, Dirty River, Bodymap and Consensual Genocide and co-editor with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities, her writings on femme of color and Sri Lankan identities, survivorhood, and healing, disability and transformative justice have appeared in the anthologies Octavia's Brood, Dear Sister, Letters Lived, Undoing Border Imperialism, Stay Solid, Persistence: Still Butch and Femme, Yes Means Yes, Visible: A Femmethology, Homelands, Colonize This, We Don’t Need Another Wave, Bitchfest, Without a Net, Dangerous Families, Brazen Femme, Femme and A Girl’s Guide to Taking Over The World.
She is the co-founder of Mangos With Chili, North America's touring queer and trans people of color cabaret, a lead artist with the disability justice incubator Sins Invalid and co-founder of Toronto's Asian Arts Freedom School. In 2010 she was named one of the Feminist Press' 40 Feminists Under 40 Shaping the Future and she is a 2013 Autostraddle Hot 105 member. She lives between Toronto, unceded Three Fires Confederacy Territories and Seattle, unceded Duwamish territories, with the love of her life, a wolfdog, and her friend family.
For bookings, interviews or other inquires, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
“Leah's poems are rebel songs and love songs that bear witness and fight back - as miraculous, as mean, as stunning as every queer brown girl who survives." -Qwo-Li Driskill, author of Walking with Ghosts: Poems
"With memorable references to Cherrie Moraga, bell hooks and Sonia Sanchez... Piepzna-Samarasinha's writing should be shelved right beside them." - Allison McCarthy, Bitch Magazine.
"Once I picked up Love Cake, I could not put it down until I finished every poem, even though I sometimes had to read through my tears... The gift of this poetry collection is nothing less than a roadmap to what liberation can look like for queer people who survive personal and collective trauma." -Wendy Elisheva Somerson, Tikkun
Bodymap included on Autostraddle Crip Lit Syllabus
Bodymap and Dirty River Both Finalists for Publishing Triangle Awards
Dirty River finalist for Lambda Award for Lesbian Memoir
Leah included in The Body Is Not An Apology's 10 Queer and Non-Binary People of Color Using Art and Media to Get Free.
"Messy, Beautiful Queers" A Review of Dirty River and The Argonauts in Bitch Magazine
New Tour Dates: Portland, Tucson, New York, Ottawa, more
"Don't Date Anyone Who Treats You Like Shit, Even A Little" An appreciation by Kai Chang on Autostraddle
Autostraddle reviews Dirty River
Dirty River makes Vancouver Sun Top 20 Books of 2015
Leah makes Colorlines 15 Women of Color Who Rocked 2015
Fuck “The Triumph of the Human Spirit”: On Writing Dirty River, Queer Disabled Femme of Color Memoir and The Joys Of Saying Fuck You to Traditional Abuse Survivor Narratives- blog post on Third Woman Press
Dirty River makes Autostraddle Top 10 Queer and Feminist books of 2015
Dirty River reviewed in Globe and Mail:"a biracial-abuse-survivor-queer-femme-working-class-immigrant-anarchist-punk bomb exploding this myth of LGBT sameness...a kind of oral history and love letter to Toronto as it was in a weedier, less shiny time."
Dirty River reviewed on Lambda Literary Review, November 15 2015
Bodymap reviewed by Hermana Resist Press
Vancouver Sun reviews Dirty River: " In rapid fire, intensely felt and perfectly controlled prose, the activist/poet/survivor evokes the terrors and pleasures of life in the pockets of counter culture, gender rebellion and anti-racist groups she found in Toronto ... The authorial voice is propulsive, eloquent and absolutely persuasive. "
Dirty River October Dates Announced: New York, Toronto, Peterborough, Ottawa, Montreal
Applications Open, Hard Femme Poetics Workshop, September 2015
Feministing Reads: Bodymap by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, July 24 2015
Sweet Blossoms Out Of the Crater: A Review of Bodymap, Tikkun, July 20, 2015
Dirty River Makes CBC's Fall 2015 Book Preview, July 10, 2015
All That You Touch, You Change: A Conversation with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Bitch Media Interview, June 24 2015
Autostraddle Read A F*cking Book Review: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is Living Her Truths in “Bodymap”May 5, 2015