It’s 1895. Amid laundry and bruises, Rina Pierangeli Faccio gives birth to the child of the man who raped her – and who she has also been forced to marry. Unbroken, she determines to change her name; and her life, alongside it.
1902. Romaine Brooks sails for Capri. She has barely enough money for the ferry, nothing for lunch; her paintbrushes are bald and clotted… But she is sure she can sell a painting – and is fervent in her belief that the island is detached from all fates she has previously suffered.
In 1923, Virginia Woolf writes: I want to make life fuller – and fuller.
Sarah Bernhardt – Colette – Eleanora Duse – Lina Poletti – Josephine Baker… these are just a few of the women sharing the pages of a novel as fierce as it is luminous. Lush and poetic; furious and funny; in After Sappho, Selby Wynn Schwartz has created a novel that celebrates the women and trailblazers of the past – their constant efforts to push against the boundaries of what it means, and can mean, to be a woman – that also offers hope for our present, and our futures.
Selby Wynn Schwartz
Selby Wynn Schwartz is the author of The Bodies of Others: Drag Dances and their Afterlives, a 2020 Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in LGBTQ Nonfiction. Her creative work has appeared in Speculative Nonfiction, Lammergeier, and Passages North; her first novella, A Life in Chameleons, won the 2021 Reflex Press Novella.
“A sparkling, imaginative gem.” —The Independent
“Breathlessly, carnally beautiful… Something new and necessary.” —The Guardian
“A glorious, genre-expanding work of fiction… Spell-binding.” —The Telegraph
“A mesmerising, uplifting, inspiring novel. … A great literary achievement.” —New Statesman
“Astonishing.” —Publishers Weekly