From LAMBDA Literary Award winner Sina Queyras, Rooms offers a peek into the defining spaces a young queer writer moved through as they found their way from a life of chaos to a life of the mind
Thirty years ago, a professor threw a chair at Sina Queyras after they’d turned in an essay on Virginia Woolf.
Queyras returns to that contentious first encounter with Virginia Woolf to recover the body and thinking of that time. Using Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own as a touchstone, this book is both an homage to and provocation of the idea of a room of one’s own at the centre of our idea of a literary life.
How central is the room? And what happens once we get one? Do we inhabit our rooms? Or do the rooms contain us? Blending memoir, prose, tweets, poetry, and criticism, Rooms offers a peek into the defining spaces a young queer writer moved through as they found their way from a life of chaos to a life of the mind, and from a very private life of the mind to a public life of the page, and from a life of the page into a life in the Academy, the Internet, and on social media.
"With Virginia Woolf alongside them, Queyras journeys through rooms literal and figurative, complicating and deepening our understanding of what it means to create space for oneself as a writer. Their hard-won language challenges us to resist any glib associations of Woolf’s famous ‘room’ with an easy freedom. Inspiring and moving, Queyras’s memoir testifies to Woolf’s continuing generative power."—Mark Hussey, editor of Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts (2011) and author of Clive Bell and the Making of Modernism (2021)
"In this beautiful, perceptive book, Sina Queyras moves deftly between the words and wake of Virginia Woolf and their own formation as writer, lover, teacher, friend, and person. Rooms is expert in its depiction of personal and literary histories, and firmly aware of its moment of composition. Reading these pages, I was enticed by Queyras’s curiosity and openness, thrilled by the sharp edges of their anger. Tight prose, electric thinking, self-discovery – it’s all here, all abuzz. Rooms is alive." – Heather Christle, author of The Crying Book
"It is impossible not to question the world as we thought we knew it by the end of this book. Sina Queyras painstakingly aims their extraordinary nerve and talent at Virginia Woolf’s idea of a room of one’s own: 'It’s a mistake to consider the room without all of its entanglements.' Taking Woolf’s cue, Queyras explores writing that is not world-building but something far more generous and transformative; as Woolf wrote, 'Literature is open to everybody.'" – CAConrad, author of AMANDA PARADISE: Resurrect Extinct Vibration
About the author
Sina Queyras is an accomplished poet and essayist. She edited the first anthology of Canadian poetry published by an American press (Open Field: 30 Contemporary Canadian Poets). Between 2005 and 2007 she co-curated the path-breaking feminist Belladonna* reading series in New York and was instrumental in bringing Canadian and American poets into conversation. She has published six books of poetry and a novel, Autobiography of Childhood (2011). She received the Pat Lowther Award and a Lambda Literary Award for Lemon Hound (2006). Her most recent book of poetry is MxT (2014).
"Using Virginia Woolf’s 'A Room of One’s Own' as a touchstone text, this book blends memoir, poetry and criticism to offer a glimpse into the formative spaces that Queyras navigated on the way to life as a queer writer in the public eye." - The New York Times