Lesbian Love Story: A Memoir in Archives

Publication Date:

June 2023



Original language and publisher

English | Catapult

Territories Handled

World excl. English North America

Territories Sold

English (UK & BC excl Can) (Square Peg (Vintage) PRH UK, in a preempt)


History, Narrative Non-Fiction, Society

Lesbian Love Story: A Memoir in Archives


“In her impressive debut, Possanza stitches together personal memoir, painstaking research, and fictional imaginings with a fluid style and a sure hand . . . This is an outstanding work of literary scholarship that also delivers a vulnerable, intimate portrait of its author.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A generous history of lesbian love.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Delightful.” TIME

“A compelling history in praise of the research archive, Possanza asks and attempts to answer, what is lesbian love?” — Literary Hub, A Most Anticipated Book of the Year

“Writing with empathy, wit, and imagination, Possanza constructs a personal, political, and romantic history of lesbian life and love.” —The Millions, A Most Anticipated Read

“Incredible . . . Possanza’s centuries-spanning document–which melds her own story with hidden, intimate histories of drag kings and olympians, artists and activists–is a manifesto of love: of erotic love and platonic love, of familial and communal love, and maybe most importantly, self-love.” —Michelle Hart, Electric Literature

“Delightful.”  —Buzzfeed

“A creative, joyful approach to the queer past. Lesbian Love Story weaves together history, memoir, and theory in this refreshing work of historical imagination. A very smart love letter to lesbians across time.” —Jen Manion, author of Female Husbands: A Trans History

“Amelia Possanza’s Lesbian Love Story is a tender and sensual swim through lesbian history—thoroughly researched and brought to dazzling life by Possanza’s imaginative prose.” —Hugh Ryan, author of When Brooklyn Was Queer

“Lesbian Love Story cracks open a vault of queer lives that were so meaningful to dig into—sporty girls, masc forbears, illicit loves. These juicy stories are filled with pathos and inspiration, and Ameila Possanza’s thrill at excavating them is personal, palpable and contagious.” —Michelle Tea, author of Knocking Myself Up: A Memoir of My In/Fertility

“Intimate and sexy, voraciously researched and vibrantly imagined, Amelia Possanza has given us the romantic history all lesbians deserve.” —Nina LaCour, author of Yerba Buena

Lesbian Love Story has all the vivid detail of a great novel and all the intelligence of a great study… I was continually fascinated, frequently moved, and completely in awe of Possanza’s wit, intelligence, and empathy.”  Stephen McCauley, author of My Ex-Life

For readers of Saidiya Hartman and Jeanette Winterson, Lesbian Love Story is an intimate journey into the archives—uncovering the romances and role models written out of history and what their stories can teach us all about how to love

When Amelia Possanza moved to Brooklyn to build a life of her own, she found herself surrounded by queer stories: she read them on landmark placards, overheard them on the pool deck when she joined the world’s largest LGBTQ swim team, and even watched them on TV in her cockroach-infested apartment. But these stories rarely featured lesbians who could become her role models, in romance as in life.

This is the story of Possanza’s journey into the archives to recover the stories of lesbians in the 20th Century: who they were, how they loved, why their stories were destroyed, and where their memories echo and live on. Centered around seven love stories for the ages, Possanza’s hunt takes readers from a Drag King show in Bushwick to the home of activists in Harlem and then across the ocean to Hadrian’s Library, where she searches for traces of Sappho in the ruins. Along the way, she discovers her own love—for swimming, for community, for New York City—and adds her own record to the archive.

At the heart of this riveting, inventive history, Possanza asks: How could lesbian love help us reimagine care and community? What would our world look like if we replaced its foundation of misogyny with something new, with something distinctly lesbian?

Marketing Information

  • A TIME Most Anticipated Book of the Year
  • A Millions Most Anticipated Read
  • A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Book of the Year
  • A Buzzfeed Most Anticipated Book of the Year
  • A Zibby Mag Most Anticipated Book of 202