Sinister Wisdom

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Sinister Wisdom
Editor Julie R. Enszer
Merry Gangemi
Categories Literary, art
Frequency Triannual
Publisher Elana Dykewomon
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][2] Its content is a mix of Spanish and English pieces. 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.[3]

History and mandate[edit]

Founded in 1976 by Harriet Ellenberger (Desmoines) and Catherine Nicholson in Charlotte, North Carolina,[4][5] 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.[6] Author and former editor of the magazine, Caryatis Cardea, referred to it 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."[7]

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.[8]

Magazine and its Content[edit]

Sinister Wisdom has over 90 publications; four new publications are released every year and they are spread out throughout the four seasons (spring, summer, fall, and winter).[9] The magazine publishes the work of influential Latina Lesbians like Cherríe Moraga and Carmelita Tropicana, provides information and interviews on Latina lesbians who contribute to the magazine's content (like tatiana de la tierra), and even includes the work of some of its readers.[10]

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 (2000–2011)
  • Julie R. Enszer & Merry Gangemi (2011 to present)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Endres, Kathleen L.; Lueck, Therese L., eds. (1996). Women's Periodicals in the United States. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 351–355. ISBN 978-0-313-28632-2. 
  2. ^ Nelson, Emmanuel S. (2009-07-14). Encyclopedia of Contemporary LGBTQ Literature of the United States. ABC-CLIO. p. 203. ISBN 9780313348600. 
  3. ^ "‘Sinister Wisdom’: The Oldest Surviving Lesbian Literary Journal". Lambda Literary. October 21, 2012. 
  4. ^ Ellenberger, 1991, pg.8
  5. ^ Stone, Amy L.; Cantrell, Jaime (2015-11-20). Out of the Closet, Into the Archives: Researching Sexual Histories. SUNY Press. p. 153. ISBN 9781438459035. 
  6. ^ "Sinister Wisdom: What We Publish". Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Cardea, 1991, pg.7
  8. ^ "Winners Named for Best LGBT Fiction, Debut Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry Published in 2013". The Publishing Triangle. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Subscribe". Sinister Wisdom. Retrieved March 3, 2017. 
  10. ^ Castro and Cabral, Nívea and Geny (Summer 2015). "Out Latina Lesbians". Sinister Wisdom: A Multicultural Lesbian Literary & Art Journal. 


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

External links[edit]