Lesbia Quiala profile

Lesbia Quiala

Lesbia Quiala

Kingston University London (2023)


Professor Sara Upstone


Intersectionality in Contemporary Black British Women’s Short Fiction


Despite the high profile of several black British women authors, there is a lack of academic scholarship which examines the contribution of their short fiction. This project responds to this critical omission by examining how these writers have used the innovative possibilities of the short fiction form to construct an imaginative space for the exploration of their dialogic concerns with race and gender. Situated within wider discourses of post-postmodern fiction (Burn 2008; Timmer 2010; Nealon 2012, 2015; McLaughlin 2012; Nixon 2013; Frangipane 2016; Herrmann et al. 2016; Southward 2018; Pöhlmann 2019; Nicol 2022), the project investigates how Black British women’s short fiction speaks directly to the demands of a cultural moment in which literature has found renewed socio-political voice. In this context black British women authors engage with the short form to examine the complex subjectivities of their identities, and to posit speculative futures which engage with essential questions of community, belonging, social justice, and bodily autonomy.

To pursue these concerns, the project situates Black British women’s experience within the theory of intersectionality, and its contemporary usage as a “discourse of social change, hope and possibility […] to engage people about shared concerns regarding emancipation and equality” (Collins 2021: 692, 723). Contextualized narrative analysis supported by archive resources draws on a wide range of contemporary Black British women authors, with sustained focus on four writers: Bernardine Evaristo, Diana Evans, Leone Ross, and Andrea Levy, chosen for their experimental use of the short form. In examining this body of work, the project forges connections between texts which, because of their publication histories, have not invited significant attention. Many of the stories have yet to be collected in author editions, and the project will draw these together in discussion to establish the first work to focus on this specific body of texts.