Minnie Bruce Pratt

Born in 1946 in Selma, Alabama, Minnie Bruce Pratt received her academic education at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and her actual education through grass-roots organizing with women in the army-base town of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and through teaching at historically Black universities. For five years she was a member of the editorial collective of Feminary: A Feminist Journal for the South, Emphasizing Lesbian Visions. With Elly Bulkin and Barbara Smith, she co-authored Yours In Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives On Anti-Semitism and Racism, a feminist classic.

Her books of poetry include The Sound of One Fork, We Say We Love Each Other, and Crime Against Nature, on Pratt’s relationship to her two sons as a lesbian mother. The latter was chosen as the 1989 Lamont Poetry Selection by the Academy of American Poets, and given the American Library Association Gay and Lesbian Book Award for Literature. Other books include Rebellion: Essays 1980-1991, and her 1995 stories about gender boundary crossing, S/HE.

Along with lesbian writers Chrystos and Audre Lorde, she received the Lillian Hellman-Dashiell Hammett Award given by the Fund for Free Expression to writers “who have been victimized by political persecution,” because of their experience “as a target of right-wing and fundamentalist forces during the recent attacks on the National Endowment for the Arts.” Pratt’s book of poetry, Walking Back Up Depot Street was chosen by ForeWord: The Magazine of Independent Bookstores and Booksellers as Best Lesbian/Gay Book of 1999.

In spring 2000 she was Community Writer-in-Residence for the YMCA National Writer’s Voice Program, and from 2002-2003 she was the Jane Watson Irwin Chair in Women’s Studies at Hamilton College. Her most recent book, The Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems from the University of Pittsburgh Press, received the 2003 Lambda Literary Book Award for Poetry.

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