“How to Make Love to a Physicist” - A Short Story by Deesha Philyaw - 2020 - from her debut collection The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
I’m deeply honored and thankful to receive the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction,” said Philyaw. “I wrote The Secret Lives of Church Ladies in hopes that Black women would see and hear themselves in my characters who are all, in some way, striving to get free. Winning this award during a time of unconscionable loss, grief, and injustice, I’m reminded just how tenuous our freedom is. I’m reminded of and encouraged by Toni Morrison’s words: ‘The function of freedom is to free someone else.’ On the other side of this time of reckoning and the fight ahead, may we all be free.”
You may read this story here
My Prior Post on a story by Deesha Philyaw,When Eddie Levert Comes
Since my first post on the work of Deesha Philyaw there has been some very gratifying News.
Deesha Philyaw has won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her debut short story collection The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.
The collection was chosen for this year’s prize by judges Charles Finch, Bernice L. McFadden, and Alexi Zentner, and was selected from 419 eligible works of fiction by American authors published in 2020 the U.S. and submitted by 170 publishing houses.
“Deesha Philyaw speaks in the funny, tender, undeceived voices of her title characters, who have more in common perhaps even than they know, from love to loss to God,” the judges said in a statement. “In the group portrait that emerges, Philyaw gives us that rarest and most joyful fusion—a book that combines the curious agility of the best short fiction with the deep emotional coherence of a great novel.” From https://www.penfaulkner.org/2021/04/06/announcing-the-winner-of-the-2021-pen-faulkner-award-for-fiction/
My main reason for this post is to encourage all lovers of literature of The highest quality to read her work. Anyone who ever dismissed Short Stories as not quite serious enough for deep Reading Will be challenged to hold to that opinion.
The narrator is a fortyish African American woman, who teaches art in a
Public School. We meet her at an academic conference devoted to creating Programs for students of the arts and sciences to see the two disciplines coming together. She likes to see How many black men are at conferences, with a slight eye to meeting someone that her mother might find acceptable.
She meets a very accomplished physicist. She likes him but is cautious about rushing into things. The excitement of the story line is seeing the relationship develop. On first meeting they talk for hours. She tells him of her work, he reciprocates. They begin to exchange texts but the man at first has no romantic interest, it seems.
I really hope you Will read this wonderful story.
Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, THE SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES, won the 2020/2021 Story Prize and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction, the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and a 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. THE SECRET LIVES OF CHURCH LADIES focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church, and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow. From