Sinister Wisdom

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Sinister Wisdom
Editor Julie R. Enszer
Merry Gangemi
Categories Literary, art
Frequency Triannual
First issue 1976
ISSN 0196-1853
OCLC number 3451636

Sinister Wisdom is a multicultural, lesbian literary and art magazine by and for lesbians. It is the oldest surviving lesbian literary magazine.[1] Sinister Wisdom is published quarterly in Berkeley, California and provides free subscriptions to incarcerated and institutionalized women as well as reduced-price subscriptions for lesbians with limited/fixed incomes.[2]

History and mandate[edit]

Founded in 1976 by Harriet Ellenberger (Desmoines) and Catherine Nicholson in Charlotte, North Carolina,[3] Sinister Wisdom was named after Joanna Russ' The Female Man.[1] It features primarily lesbians' work, and is particularly interested in writing, art or photography that reflects diversity of experiences: lesbians of color, ethnic Lesbians, Jewish, Arab, old, young, working-class, poverty class, disabled, and fat lesbians.[4] Author Caryatis Cardea referred to the magazine as a work of "political honor…a commitment to acknowledge the power of language and the privilege of being published…the recognition of multiple struggles, and the accordance of mutual respect among a cultural diversity of lesbians."[5]

In 2014, Sinister Wisdom received the Publishing Triangle's special Leadership Award, which recognizes contributions to LGBT literature by those who are not primarily writers.[6]

Editors and publishers[edit]

  • Harriet Ellenberger (aka Desmoines) and Catherine Nicholson (1976-1981)
  • Michelle Cliff and Adrienne Rich (1981-1983)
  • Michaele Uccella (1983-1984)
  • Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz (1983-1987)
  • Elana Dykewomon (1987-1994)
  • Caryatis Cardea (1991 -1994)
  • Akiba Onada-Sikwoia (1995-1997)
  • Margo Mercedes Rivera-Weiss (1997-2000)
  • Fran Day (2000 to 2011)
  • Julie R. Enszer & Merry Gangemi (2011 to present)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Endres, Kathleen L.; Lueck, Therese L., ed. (1996). Women's Periodicals in the United States. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 351–355. ISBN 978-0-313-28632-2. 
  2. ^ "‘Sinister Wisdom’: The Oldest Surviving Lesbian Literary Journal". Lambda Literary. October 21, 2012. 
  3. ^ Ellenberger, 1991, pg.8
  4. ^ "Sinister Wisdom: What We Publish". Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Cardea, 1991, pg.7
  6. ^ "Winners Named for Best LGBT Fiction, Debut Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry Published in 2013". The Publishing Triangle. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 


  • Ellenberger, Harriet. Sinister Wisdom 43/44 15th Anniversary Retrospective, 1991
  • Cardea, Caryatis. Sinister Wisdom 43/44 15th Anniversary Retrospective, 1991

External links[edit]