In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction
In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction
In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction
In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction

In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction

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    • Directed by: Lisa Marie Evans & Marianne K. Martin 
    • Released: 2024 (educational)
    • Year of Production: 2022
Running Time: 99 min
Language: English, 
Subtitle Options: English Closed Captions
Subjects:  Representations of Women, Queer Studies

Narrated by LGBTQ+ historian Lillian Faderman and illuminated through interviews with trailblazers like Jewelle Gomez (The Gilda Stories), Dorothy Allison (Bastard Out of Carolina), and Sarah Waters (Tipping the Velvet), In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction charts a literary journey from post-war lesbian pulp to modern bestsellers. Highlighting the successful and controversial, directors Lisa Marie Evans and Marianne K. Martin skillfully delve into stories that defined eras of lesbian writers, and the changing socio-political landscapes that encouraged an evolution of the genre. In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction pays loving tribute to this evolution of lesbian and queer fiction, told through a lens of broader American history.

Starting in 1928, readers fell into The Well of Loneliness — a groundbreaking lesbian novel, albeit a tragic one. By the late 1990s, lesbian fiction had climbed out of the well and into a diverse world of stories and storytellers who were publishing increasingly multifaceted stories (some of them even happy ones). This film will inspire lit lovers of any age to return to old favorites, while igniting curiosity for a new literary tryst or two.

 - Description credit, Frameline 47


Queerstreifen, Munster, Germany
Hamburg International Queer Film Festival, Hamburg, Germany
Everybody’s Perfect, Geneva, Switzerland
Oslo Fusion International Film Festival, Oslo, Norway
Out on Film, Atlanta, GA
Frameline47: San Francisco International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, San Francisco, CA
25th Annual Fairy Tales Queer Film Festival, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Freiburger Lesbenfilmtage, Freiburg, Germany
Cinema Systers Film Festival, Paducah, Kentucky - Best Documentary & Audience
Muskoka Queer Film Festival, Muskoka, Bracebridge, Muskoka, Canada
Geelong Pride Film Festival, Geelong, Australia
2nd Orchid Lesbian Film Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina - Best Documentary
LGBT+ Film Festival, Warsaw, Poland
Divine Queer Film Festival, Turin, Italy
Queer Screen’s 30th Mardi Gras Film Festival, Sydney, Australia
LesGaiCineMad, Madrid, Spain
Internacional Queer Film Festival, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Indianapolis LGBTQ Film Festival, Indianapolis, Indiana
GAZE International LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Dublin, Ireland
Florence Queer Festival, Florence, Italy
GENDERCOM: VIII International Conference on Gender and Communications, Viterbo,
Cinema Diverse: The Palm Springs LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Palm Springs, California -
Festival Favorite & Director’s Choice
Outfest Perú, Lima, Perú - Honorable Mention
Immaginaria Film Festival of Lesbians & Other Rebellious Women, Rome, Italy

In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction leaves few stones unturned in its celebration of a sprawling cast of lesbian literary behemoths. With remarkable archival footage and a host of illuminating interviews, this captivating documentary charts the events that shaped their craft and raises a glass to their triumphs.
— Queer Screen Mardi Gras Film Festival

"In Her Words offers a visual and historical introduction to some of the most significant lesbian authors of the 20th​ ​Century, a swift immersion that will reawaken those who have forgotten how recently such women risked all to be truthful about loving women. The film should be required for both history and gender studies courses, which tend to gloss over the lesbian experience in articulating a political LGBTQ time​line. For millions of clos​eted women, as well as their activist sisters, finding a lesbian book was the first step toward self-recognition and the ancient whisper, I am not alone. But the film does not shy from the race and class distinctions that authors also brought to their writing, making the film simultaneously intersectional, accessible, and entertaining." -- BONNIE J. MORRIS, Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley


In Her Words provides a comprehensive overview of the development of lesbian literature in the 20th Century, and the lengths that queer women went to in order to write, publish, distribute, and read that literature. It features icons in sapphic literature such as Dorothy Allison, Ann Bannon, Leslie Feinburg, and Rita Mae Brown, who speak frankly about their experiences in the early days of the queer movement in America.  It does not minimize the racism, homophobia, and violence these trailblazers endured from mainstream society and women inside their own organizations to get their literature into the hands of the queer women yearning to see themselves represented positively in literature.  The film is entertaining and informative, an effective teaching tool and must-see for any student of queer history or gender studies.  In Her Words is now more relevant than ever in a time when book bans and censorship movements are trying to silence queer histories and voices once more. -- Dr. Susan Spangler, The State University of New York at Fredonia

In Her Words embodies the very qualities that make lesbian literature so distinctive and important. Lesbian writers crowdsourced the funding, tracked down the authors and literary historians, located a filmmaker from the community, and produced a remarkable documentary. In Her Words defines lesbian literature in its full diversity, across race and gender identity and genre.  It invites its viewers to explore lesbian literature in all its intersectionality glory. -- Jaime Harker , Professor of English and the director of the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies at the University of Mississippi



About the filmmaker 

Lisa Marie Evans co-directed, edited and animated In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction. Since April of 2022, the film has reached audiences across Italy, Perú, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Poland, England, Argentina, Mexico, Australia, the Philippines and United States. In Her Words is the first film to win the Publishing Triangle’s Michele Karlsberg Leadership Award. Evans is a 2021 recipient of the Arkansas Arts Council’s Fellowship Award in Cinematic Arts and was keynote speaker at VIII Gendercom: the International Conference on Gender & Communication in Viterbo, Italy.

Over the past 20 years, Evans has mentored hundreds of multidisciplinary artists. Currently, she is the Director of Creative Development for CACHE where she designs and leads professional development programming, project support and grantmaking for artists. Since 2020, Evans has overseen the distribution of $750K+ dollars to over 175 creatives.

Marianne K. Martin is the award-winning author of thirteen novels of lesbian fiction, including five Lambda Literary Award finalists. Among the accolades she has received are Independent Publisher (IPPY) Awards, Global Ebook Awards, eLit Award, International Book Award, USA Book News Best Book of the Year Award, Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) Goldie Award, the 2012 GCLS Trailblazer Award, and the Alice B. Foundation Award for outstanding body of work. In 2013, she was inducted into the Saints & Sinners Literary Hall of Fame, and in the same year she was selected as one of GO Magazine’s 100 Women We Love.

Marianne is a founding partner and co-owner of Bywater Books and Amble Press. She is a member of the GCLS Sandra Moran Writing Academy Scholarship Committee. Alongside co-creator Sandra Moran, Marianne developed the framework and vision for In Her Words: 20th Century Lesbian Fiction. Marianne is a first-time filmmaker and co-director for In Her Words.


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