Michelle Tea is the author of the memoirs The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America, The Chelsea Whistle, the illustrated Rent Girl and Valencia, winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction. Valencia has been made into a collaborative feature-length film with 21 different directors, and toured film festivals globally after a sold-out premiere at San Francisco’s Castro Theater. Valencia the book has been translated into Slovenian, Japanese, and German. Michelle’s self-published poetry chapbooks, produced in the 90s, are compiled in the poetry collection The Beautiful. She is the author of the novel Rose of No Man’s Land (translated into Italian), and has edited anthologies on first person narratives (Pills, Thrills, Chills and Heartache), the female experience of growing up working class (Without A Net), feminist fashion (It’s So You) and up and coming queer female writing (Baby, Remember My Name). She co-wrote a memoir for and with Gossip front woman Beth Ditto, called Coal to Diamonds. Mermaid in Chelsea Creek is the first in a trilogy of a Young Adult fantasy tale being published by McSweeney’s, followed by Girl at the Bottom of the Sea. How to Grow Up, a memoir in essays published by Penguin/Plume, is currently in development with Amazon Studios. She wrote the introduction for the latest printing of Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto. Her latest book is Black Wave, a memoir-fiction hybrid.
Michelle Tea was the recipient of an award from the Rona Jaffe Foundation, given to exceptional female writers at the start of their careers, as well as a GOLDIE (Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery) in Literature from the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She was selected as Best Local Writer by readers of both the Guardian and the San Francisco Weekly. She was awarded an Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists Award by the Saints and Sinner Literary Foundation in New Orleans, LA, was the 23rd Zale Writer in Residence at Newcombe College at Tulane University, and taught at Mills College Academic Year 2008-2009. She continues to teach workshops throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Michelle writes for various print and web publications, covering Paris Fashion week, the Venice Biennale and The National Taxidermy Convention for The Believer; writing about familial poverty for n+1, childbirth for Harper’s, sexual fluidity for Cosmopolitan, about surviving abuse for Buzzfeed, and about getting herself pregnant for xoJane.com. For a period of time in the 90s she wrote the Adventure Girl column for On Our Backs Magazine, documenting her sexual escapades. She is the creator of Mutha Magazine, an online publication about real-life parenting.
In 1994 Michelle Tea created Sister Spit, an all-girl open mic that ran weekly for two years in San Francisco, earning a Best of the Bay Award from The San Francisco Bay Guardian. Since 1997 Sister Spit has toured the United States, bringing an ever-changing roster of feminist, queer-centric writers and performance artists across the country. From 2003-2015 Michelle ran RADAR Productions , a literary non-profit organization of her creation. She is the former editor of the Sister Spit Books imprint at City Lights, and the current curator of the Amethyst Editions series at Feminist Press.
Tea has taught writing at Mills College, California College of the Arts, School of the Arts High School (San Francisco), the Tin House Summer Workshop and various cultural institutions.
photos: Gretchen Sayers