"In a feminist canon that includes Adrienne Rich, and Maggie Nelson’s theory-minded masterpieces: smart, radical company, and not ordinary at all.”
—The New York Times Book Review
A National Bestseller!
“Girlhood is an exquisite collection. In lapidary, lucid prose, Melissa Febos dissects the traumas, terrors, and pleasures of the fraught passage from girl to woman. This is a book for mothers, daughters, and our deepest selves, a true light in the dark.”
“Intellectual and erotic, engaging and empowering, Girlhood lays bare the process of unlearning the most deeply ingrained lesson of female adolescence—that we ourselves are not masters of our own domain—and offers us exquisite, ferocious language for embracing self-pleasure and self-love.”
“Febos is an intoxicating writer, but I found myself most grateful for the vivid clarity of her thinking…disquisitive and catalytic—it doesn’t demand change so much as expose certain injustices so starkly that you might feel you cannot abide them another minute…I never once needed trigonometry and I couldn’t find Catullus in a crossword these days, but Febos’s education is a kind I surely could have used.” —The Atlantic
“In this book, Febos proves herself to be one of the great documenters of the terrible and exquisite depths of girlhood. These essays are moss and iron—hard and beautiful—and struck through with Febos’ signature brilliance and power and grace. An essential, heartbreaking project."
—Carmen Maria Machado
“Profound and gloriously provocative, this book—a perfect follow-up to her equally visceral previous memoir, Abandon Me—transforms the wounds and scars of lived female experience into an occasion for self-understanding that is both honest and lyrical. Consistently illuminating, unabashedly ferocious writing.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Photo by Beowulf Sheehan
Melissa Febos is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, WHIP SMART (St. Martin’s Press 2010), and the essay collection, ABANDON ME (Bloomsbury 2017), which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, a Publishing Triangle Award finalist, an Indie Next Pick, and was widely named a Best Book of 2017. Her second essay collection, GIRLHOOD, a national bestseller, was published by Bloomsbury on March 30. A craft book, BODY WORK, will be published by Catapult on March 15, 2022.
The inaugural winner of the Jeanne Córdova Nonfiction Award from LAMBDA Literary, her work has appeared in publications including The Paris Review, The Sun, The Kenyon Review, Tin House, Granta, The Believer, McSweeney’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Elle, and Vogue. Her essays have won prizes from Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, The Sewanee Review, and The Center for Women Writers at Salem College. She is a four-time MacDowell fellow and has also received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation, The BAU Institute at The Camargo Foundation, The Ragdale Foundation, and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, which named her the 2018 recipient of the Sarah Verdone Writing Award.
She co-curated the Mixer Reading and Music Series in Manhattan for ten years and served on the Board of Directors for VIDA: Women in Literary Arts for five. The recipient of an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, she is an associate professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program.
May 3-May 8
The Loft Literary Center Wordplay
7 p.m. EST
7 p.m. PST
Women and Children First
7 p.m. CT
*in-person* weeklong workshop
For Girlhood inquiries, Emily Fishman: Emily.Fishman [at] Bloomsbury.com
For bookings: Elaine Trevorrow, at EMT Agency: Elaine [at] emtagency.net
Melissa’s agent, Ethan Bassoff, at Ross Yoon Agency: Ethan [at] RossYoon.com
Melissa: Melissa.Febos [at] gmail.com