Michelle Tea (born Michelle Tomasik) is originally from Chelsea, Massachusetts (a suburb of Boston), and currently lives in San Francisco. Tea was the co-founder of the Sister Spit spoken word tour. Her books, mostly memoirs, are known for their views into the riot grrrl and queercore communities. She has toured with the Sex Worker’s Art Show alongside Ducky DooLittle and others. She is also a contributor to The Believer magazine and is the co-writer for the weekly astrology column, Double Team Psychic Dream in San Francisco’s Bay Guardian newspaper. She also organizes and hosts a monthly reading series at San Francisco’s Main Library, the Radar Readings, for which she bakes cookies.
During its two year span, Sister Spit enjoyed visits by such transgressive literary luminaries as Mary Gaitskill and Eileen Myles. In 1997, Sister Spit decided to take the show on the road, and so the Ramblin Roadshow was born. The lineup of The Roadshow has included Eileen Myles, Marci Blackman, Sini Anderson, Lynn Breedlove, Beth Lisick, Tara Jepsen, Nomy Lamm, and many more—over thirty different performers have performed throughout the country with Sister Spit on its many tours.
Her writing has garned most of the attention for Tea in recent years. Valencia captured the 2000 Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction, was selected by the Voice Literary Supplement as one of the top 25 books of the year, and earned an award from the Rona Jaffe Foundation for young female writers. Tea’s third book, The Chelsea Whistle, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in the autobiography category, and was selected by The Chronicle as one of the top 100 books of 2002. She was also editor of the well-received Without a Net: Anthology of Writing by Working- Class Women, author of two books of poetry, The Beautiful: Collected Poems and Oppress Me Before I Kill Again and an illustrated novel, Rent Girl, which is, like most of her books, a memoir of her life on the street. Her latest is the novel Rose of No Man’s Land.
“I was REALLY blown away by The Outsiders. I had never read such a strong, authentic first-person narrative before, and was struck that it was the voice of a poor person, someone misunderstood by and on the outside of culture."
Carroll and Graf
Manic D Press
St. James Infirmary
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