LGBTQ+ Identity in Fiction and Poetry

22 February 2023, Portsmouth Central Library, 7pm

Miriam Burke and Beth Train Brown, Women and Love

In this panel event, two authors writing about LGBTQ+ experiences come together to talk about the representation of aspects of identity in writing. Miriam Burke’s short-story collection, Women and Love, explores the lives and loves of women of all walks of life, with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ experiences and Elizabeth Train-Brown’s poetry collection Salmacis: Becoming Not Quite a Woman explores the concept of gender identity through the lens of myth.

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Women and Love

Miriam Burke and Beth Train Brown

Women and Love
Women and Love is a thought-provoking collection of seventeen tightly woven tales about the power of love, all its trials and complications, and the shattered lives it can leave in its wake. The stories explore a huge variety of sorts of love surrounding women in wildly differing settings, and features an unforgettable cast including GPs, burglars, inmates, emigrant cleaners, carers, young professionals, and many more. Navigating heavy themes, with a particular focus on LGBTQ+ experiences, including gender dysphoria and searching for a sperm donor, the stories leave the reader burning with indignation, full of empathy and wonder.

As recounted by the Roman poet Ovid, a young nymph, Salmacis, one day spied Hermaphroditus bathing; consumed with passion, she entered the water and, begging the gods to allow them to stay together, the two became one – part man, part woman. An Eclectic Pagan, for Elizabeth Ovid’s fables are more than fiction, and form a framework for exploring identity. Drawing on the rich mythological history associated with the tale of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, and re-examining the tale through the lens of metaphor, Salmacis: Becoming Not Quite a Woman is a stirringly relatable and powerful exploration of gender, love and identity.