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Ole Miss’ Jaime Harker to Debut “The Lesbian South” at Off Square Books

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor

Southern literature is known for its majority of male authors, publishers and scholars like William Faulkner and John Grisham. However, Jaime Harker, professor of English and director of the Sarah Isom Center at The University of Mississippi, is defying that stereotype. 

Harker recently published “The Lesbian South” where she delves into the woven history of the Women in Print movement—specifically queer women in the South.

Harker is a professor of English and director of the Sarah Isom Center at The University of Mississippi. Photo courtesy of Square Books.

Harker’s research into the queer women literacy movement began with a question, as the majority of her research does, she said. The Naiad Press—a prominent lesbian press located in Florida—came to mind, especially since it was prominent in the early ’90s when Harker was coming out, she said.

The location in the South as a lesbian press did not fit the typical mold of southern literacy, Harker said .

“That doesn’t really fit most narratives we have of queer life and the South,” Harker said. “So I wanted to know more.”

The process of writing the book took Harker approximately seven years, which she described as a long and winding process. During those years Harker spent her time digging into archives, used bookstores and libraries, as well as databases and online resources. She took those primary sources and wove them into an accessible narrative, she said.

The finished product, “The Lesbian South,” was a way for Harker to broaden society’s understanding of the South. She said the more society understands there is a plethora of ways to be authentically Southern the more society can accept the full diversity of the Southern community and move beyond the divisions of the current political change.

Harker is signing copies of her book Monday, Oct. 15 at 5 p.m. with a presentation at 5:30 p.m. at Off Square Books.

“The Lesbian South” is available on Amazon for purchase for $28 (tax not included).

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