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Lawrence, Jen

  • Guardian by Jen Lawrence $9.99

I finished my first novel when I was 16. Wrote it in pen in a notebook. I didn’t have a computer, but when I entered university, I could finally type it up and spent a few nights being the suspicious weirdo in the computer room. Once done, I had a book with a “straight” artist who meets a beautiful lesbian gallery owner and promptly realises she’s sapphically inclined. She comes out and is disowned by her family, finds out she’s pregnant with her ex-boyfriend’s baby, and her lesbian lover has cancer. In the end they both die. A murder and a suicide. It was grim.

I was 19 when I kissed a girl for the first time. Up until then, all my experience of queerness was from the media I had consumed and it had subconsciously painted a very bleak (at times sadly realistic) idea of what it meant to be queer to this day. That my main characters were both white, even though I’m not, was also telling.

After being distracted by women for a few years after that first kiss, I finally got back into writing. I began telling stories set in otherworldly places, about supernatural and magically inclined women, where the fact that they were gay was the very least of their concerns. Because though I support and appreciate those works that remind us that we’re not alone, what I also would’ve liked whilst feeling like the sole queer person not only in a massive family, but in the entire town, was some escapism from reality and to be sucked into fantastical worlds, filled with powerful lesbian beings, saving the day and being absolutely soft and gay for the women they love.

I’m 35 years old, from Cape Town, South Africa. And my ideal life would be spent writing and gaming with a cat on my lap until my back and eyes hurt, and then going outside to take a long walk with a dog, on a remotely located farm, with superfast internet connection.