Michelle Tea is the author of many books, including memoirs. Her most recent novel Black Wave, was published in the UK by And Other Stories in 2017. A literary organiser in queer and feminist circles, she co-created the long-running performance tour Sister Spit and founded RADAR Productions, a literary non-profit that oversees queer-centric projects, including the global phenomenon Drag Queen Story Hour, in which drag queens read stories to children in libraries, schools and bookshops.
- If you had subscribed to And Other Stories by 8 July 2016, you would have received a first edition copy of Black Wave – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – before its official publication. To receive up to 6 And Other Stories titles per year, find out about subscribing here.
- Michelle Tea’s second novel Valencia was made into a film and translated into several languages, including German, Slovenian and Japanese!
- Find out more about Michelle Tea on her website.
author of The Argonauts
‘From its opening sentence to its finish, Michelle Tea’s Against Memoir is a bracing, heaven-sent tonic for deeply troubled times. Its clarity, hilarity, range, nonchalant brilliance, and decades of experience in ‘art and music, love and queerness, writing and life’ remind me over and over again of the adventure, the party of it all—the joy of raucous thinking and loving and making—that’s fundamentally ours.’
author of Chelsea Girls
‘These essays blow my mind with their algebraic rhythms by which Michelle Tea manages pain and bliss. They take turns erupting in a pulpy and marvelous parade: landscape, passion, morality, family, cigarettes—each cited frankly and exquisitely like a smart kid with a dirty crayon explaining to us all how she sees god.’
'From the beautiful trenches of our affections, Michelle Tea's Against Memoir brings home that queerness is universal.'
'If you want to know how the best queer writing comes out of community, lived experience and political urgency, start here.'
'Michelle Tea’s writing is an urgent call-to-arms. She illuminates the relationship between the personal and political in her interrogation of gender, sexuality and ideology. She shows us how to engage with a burning world as a thinking, feeling person.’
‘When I read Michelle Tea I don't know whether I want to be her, be with her, or just listen in awe to her speak. I've loved every one of her books, and this is no exception: fierce, raw and tender.’
'Against Memoir ripples with compassion, anger, curiosity and humour.'
‘Michelle Tea is an intoxicating writer, delivering sentences that land with the snap and force of a punch.’
'The author’s kindness and intelligence is a barbiturate in the telling of a bold memoir that details abuse, addiction, sex and the communities brought together through American counterculture.'
'Queer culture, drugs and feminism are all discussed with honesty and humour.'
The Crack (Newcastle culture magazine)
'Informative, considered and fair-minded, Tea tackles [tricky subjects] with both wit and candour.'
'These are dispatches from a mind on fire. Every essay goes where most writers fear to go - whether she's taking down privilege, talking up the books that save us from abuse, or celebrating every suburban girl who ever had a Prince fantasy, Michelle Tea's irresistibly fresh writing and openhearted voice make Against Memoir a brilliant, wild ride.'
'Against Memoir feels almost like archaeology, as if Tea is uncovering and preserving a gospel of queer, poor, punk femaleness though lost or destroyed.'
'Often humorous but never sentimental, Against Memoir promises a candid, close-to-the-bone exploration of queer life in America.'
'An all-round brilliant and entertaining writer'
author of The Book of Joan
‘The essays in Against Memoir remind us how pleasure, pain, wisdom, and delight come from the ground up, by and through the body, and in this case, a body unapologetically firing all her desires, pleasures, fears, and dreams like lightning. A hardcore delight, a queer blood song picking the scab off the skin of culture.’
The New York Times
'Eclectic and wide-ranging. . . . A palpable pain animates many of these essays, as well as a raucous joy and bright curiosity.’
The New Republic
‘The best essay collection I've read in years.’
‘Bristles with life and a fierce intellect.’
'An entrancing collection of irreverent and flamboyant essays.’
Publishers Weekly (starred)
‘Queer counterculture beats loud and proud in Tea’s stellar collection.’
‘An essential work.’
‘Against Memoir is a must-read for hopeless romantics and anyone passionate about life.’
'A thrill to read, and an essential look into lives too often relegated to the margins of literature, instead of where they belong: front and center.’
The Brooklyn Rail
'Tea’s conversational tone and her way of writing deeply personal experience appeal to a certain universal that is also countercultural, subversive, and presents a very necessary counter-narrative to mainstream histories of American punk, feminism, and sexual identity.’
Lambda Literary Review
‘Tea’s writing continues to make the world worth living in.’
‘Black Wave[‘s rawness is] so disarming, a rollicking hallucinatory fantasy that’s as sobering as cold air . . . It’s sentimental and reckless and not quite like anything I’ve read before. An apocalypse novel that makes you feel hopeful about the world: could anything be more timely?’
The Financial Times
‘Tea knows how to turn the conundrums of life-writing inside out. There is an apocalypse on the horizon but Michelle doesn’t read the news, just the horoscopes . . . The language with which she describes the space between cities is that of her world, sexual and brazen, with a dark wit, because what is landscape without its human framing?’
‘Exhilarating . . . A metaliterary novel with flashes of mysticism. [Black Wave] takes a mind-bending shift into the world of apocalyptic fiction, a hugely inventive twist that takes the road-to-recovery storyline and literally smashes it to pieces.’
The New Statesman
‘Out of a messy, scabrous delve into the personal, Tea has created something uncomfortably funny and bleakly gorgeous.’
The New York Times
‘Black Wave, part fictionalized memoir, part apocalyptic fantasia, blends dark humor with touches of mysticism to suggest how misleading the phrase “settling down” is. In Tea’s hands, sobriety, love and something like happiness are stranger and more unsettling than bohemian decadence could ever hope to be.’
‘This surreal tale—part memoir, part metafiction—is narrated with total conviction. [Events] powerfully express the intensity both of attaining sobriety and of the writing process.’
‘This beautiful fever dream of a book is so important to read right now, not only because of its inherently rebellious, even revolutionary message that there is no need to conform to a world that rejects us over and over, but also because Tea’s compelling prose is a testament to the importance of storytelling—and of having women doing the telling.’
‘Charged with an urgent velocity’
‘Black Wave is definitely Michelle Tea’s most fearless book. It’s a radically honest and scary book. And trust me, it’s a bloody and wonderful place Michelle has spun, fantastic, dark, and entirely awake. It shook me up.’
‘I worship at the altar of this book. A keen portrait of a subculture, an instant classic in life-writing, a go-for-broke exemplar of queer feminist imagination, a contribution to crucial, ongoing conversations about whose lives matter, Black Wave is a rollicking triumph.’ Maggie Nelson