Minnie Bruce Pratt

PrattMinnie Bruce Pratt was born September 12, 1946, in Selma, Alabama. She received her BA from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where she was also Phi Beta Kappa. She took her Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For five years she was a member of the editorial collective of Feminary: A Feminist Journal for the South, Emphasizing Lesbian Visions. Together with Elly Bulkin and Barbara Smith, she co-authored Yours In Struggle: Three Feminist Perspectives On Anti-Semitism and Racism, which has been adopted for classroom use in hundreds of college courses and community groups. In 2004 this book was chosen as one of the 100 Best Lesbian and Gay Nonfiction Books of all time by the Publishing Triangle.

She has published seven books of poetry, The Sound of One ForkWe Say We Love Each OtherCrime Against NatureWalking Back Up Depot StreetThe Money MachineThe Dirt She Ate: Selected and New Poems, and Inside the Money Machine with Nothing to Lose.

Crime Against Nature, on Pratt’s relationship to her two sons as a lesbian mother, was a Lamont Poetry Selection, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and received the American Library Association Gay and Lesbian Book Award for Literature. Walking Back Up Depot Street was chosen by ForeWord: the Magazine of Independent Bookstores and Booksellers as Best Lesbian/Gay Book of the Year. Pratt’s selected poems, The Dirt She Ate (University of Pittsburgh Poetry Series) received the 2003 Lambda Literary Award for Poetry.

Pratt has received a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Fellowship in Poetry from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. In 1991, Pratt, along with lesbian writers Chrystos and Audre Lorde, received a Lillian Hellman-Dashiell Hammett award given by the Fund for Free Expression to writers “who have been victimized by political persecution.” These three writers were selected because of their experience “as a target of right-wing and fundamentalist forces during the recent attacks on the National Endowment for the Arts.”

In 1992 her book of autobiographical and political essays, Rebellion: Essays 1980-1991, was a Finalist in Non-Fiction for the Lambda Literary Awards. This volume includes her feminist classic, the essay “Identity:  Skin  Blood  Heart.”

Her book of prose stories about gender-boundary-crossing, S/HE, was one of the five finalists in Non-Fiction for the 1995 American Library Association Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Book Award, as well as one of the three finalists for the Firecracker Award in Non-Fiction. In these lyrical vignettes, Pratt writes about the many ways to be girl, boy, man, woman, and those of us in-between. S/HE explores the inconsistencies, the infinities, the fluidity of sex and gender.

Pratt divides her residence between her childhood home in Centreville, Alabama, and her current home in Syracuse, NY, with her partner, transgender lesbian activist and writer, Leslie Feinberg. She can be reached at www.mbpratt.org