photo by heidi andrea restrepo rhodes
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme writer, performer, healer and teacher 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 writing on femme of color and Sri Lankan identities, survivorhood, and healing, disability and transformative justice has appeared in the anthologies 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.
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"If you haven't read any of Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's incredible feminist esasys, you're missing out. Her poetry is as memorable as her nonfiction, but it also touches on the more personal territory of her life as a queer disabled femme Sri Lankan artist. With memorable references to Cherrie Moraga, bell hooks and Sonia Sanchez, Love Cake easily proves that Piepzna-Samarasinha's writing should be shelved right beside them." - Allison McCarthy, Bitch Magazine.
“All of the LGBTIQ community should lift our ears to receive Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Her vision stands to rearrange the ways we approach community, creating art, and loving. Every time I’ve heard her read I’ve come away new.”- Tara Hardy, Bent Writing Institute
“I read a lot of poetry in 2011 as I was working on my own collection, looking at other contemporary poets’ books to see how they make the poems work together, how the poems hold together, or fail to cohere, or purposely resist easy cohesion... My favorite and perhaps the bravest book I read was Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's Love Cake."- Minal Hajratwala, Poets and Writers
"I am not sure how to convey the power of this poetry collection. I can tell you that 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
“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