Virtual Craft Happy Hour with Deesha Philyaw

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TWC presents a FREE video chat about the craft of writing!

We’re joined by 2020 National Book Award finalist Deesha Philyaw to talk about her remarkable story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. Deesha will be in conversation with Shanon Lee, activist, author, and instructor at The Writer’s Center.

RSVP below, and you’ll receive an email on or before November 4 with instructions for joining the chat via our video conferencing platform, Zoom. FREE and open to the public, all times Eastern. Limited space.

We encourage you to order a copy of the book from your local, independent bookseller or online from



Deesha PhilyawDeesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church. Deesha is also the co-author of Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households After Divorce, written in collaboration with her ex-husband. Her work has been listed as Notable in the Best American Essays series, and her writing on race, parenting, gender, and culture has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostMcSweeney’sThe RumpusBrevitydead housekeepingApogee JournalCatapultHarvard Review, ESPN’s The UndefeatedThe Baltimore ReviewTueNightEbony and Bitch magazines, and various anthologies. Deesha is a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and a past Pushcart Prize nominee for essay writing in Full Grown People.


Shanon LeeShanon Lee is a contributor for Forbes and The Lily, published by The Washington Post. Her byline appears in publications including Cosmopolitan, ELLEMarie Claire,PlayboyRedbookWomen’s Health and Parents Magazine. Her opinion essays on misogyny and racism are widely circulated, and have been shared by notables including bestselling author J.K. Rowling, rap legend MC Lyte and political activist Kevin Powell. Shanon is an alumna of the 2019 Women’s Media Center Progressive Women’s Voices program and a mentor-editor for The OpEd Project. She was named to The Tempest’s 40 Women To Watch 2019 list for advancing the dialogue around gender-based violence. She is represented by Agnes Carlowicz of the Carol Mann Agency and is currently working on a book about misogynoir in pop culture.

About the Book

A finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions.There is fourteen-year-old Jael, who has a crush on the preacher’s wife. At forty-two, Lyra realizes that her discomfort with her own body stands between her and a new love. As Y2K looms, Caroletta’s “same time next year” arrangement with her childhood best friend is tenuous. A serial mistress lays down the ground rules for her married lovers. In the dark shadows of a hospice parking lot, grieving strangers find comfort in each other.With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be.


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