Venita Blackburn and Rion Amilcar Scott for HOW TO WRESTLE A GIRL

Loyalty is thrilled to celebrate How to Wrestle a Girl: Stories with Venita Blackburn and Rion Amilcar Scott! This event will be held digitally via Crowdcast. Click here to register for the event with a donation of any amount of your choice or you can order the book below to be added to the event's registration list. Donations will go to BLM DC. There will also be an option to snag the book during the event.


Paris Review Staff Pick and an Amazon Editors' Pick. One of Vulture's 40 Books We Can’t Wait to Read This Fall, Bustle's The Most Anticipated Books Of September 2021, Oprah Daily's Best LGBTQ Books of 2021, The Millions September Most Anticipated, and Lambda Literary's September’s Most Anticipated LGBTQIA+ Literature

"Bold, witty, ominous and vulnerable . . . How to Wrestle a Girl shines in its propensity to magnify small moments, challenge our presumptions and dissect the beauty, danger and wonder of girlhood." --The New York Times Book Review

Hilarious, tough, and tender stories from a farseeing star on the rise.

Venita Blackburn’s characters bully and suffer, spit and tease, mope and blame. They’re hyperaware of their bodies and fiercely observant, fending off the failures and advances of adults with indifferent ease. In “Biology Class,” they torment a teacher to the point of near insanity, while in “Bear Bear Harvest™,” they prepare to sell their excess fat and skin for food processing. Stark and sharp, hilarious and ominous, these pieces are scabbed, bruised, and prone to scarring.

Many of the stories, set in Southern California, follow a teenage girl in the aftermath of her beloved father’s death and capture her sister’s and mother’s encounters with men of all ages, as well as the girl’s budding attraction to her best friend, Esperanza. In and out of school, participating in wrestling and softball, attending church with her hysterically complicated family, and dominating boys in arm wrestling, she grapples with her burgeoning queerness and her emerging body, becoming wary of clarity rather than hoping for it.

A rising star, Blackburn is a trailblazing stylist, and in How to Wrestle a Girl she masterfully shakes loose a vision of girlhood that is raw, vulnerable, and never at ease.


Venita Blackburn is the author of the story collection Black Jesus and Other Superheroes, which won the Prairie Schooner Book Prize and was a finalist for the 2018 Young Lions Fiction Award and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker online, The Paris Review, PleiadesMadison Review, Bat City Review, American Short Fiction, and Bellevue Literary Review. She is a faculty member in the creative writing program at Fresno State University and the founder and president of Live, Write, an organization devoted to offering free creative writing workshops for communities of color.


Rion Amilcar Scott's first book, Insurrections, won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction. His work has been published in the Kenyon Review, the RumpusPANK, and Confrontation, among others. He lives and writes in Maryland.

Please note Loyalty has a zero tolerance policy for harassment or intimidation of any kind during this virtual event. 

Event date: 
Thursday, October 28, 2021 - 8:00pm
Event address: 
How to Wrestle a Girl: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374602796
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - September 7th, 2021

Black Jesus and Other Superheroes: Stories (The Raz/Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Fiction) Cover Image
Available to order- email
ISBN: 9781496201867
Availability: Backordered
Published: University of Nebraska Press - September 1st, 2017

The World Doesn't Require You: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631497889
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright - August 25th, 2020