Pretty: A Memoir--KB Brookins in conversation with Neesha Powell-Ingabire

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Pretty: A Memoir--KB Brookins in conversation with Neesha Powell-Ingabire

By Charis Books and More/Charis Circle

Charis welcomes KB Brookins in conversation with Neesha Powell-Ingabire for a discussion of Pretty: A Memoir by a prize-winning, young Black trans writer of outsized talent, a fierce and disciplined memoir about queerness, masculinity, and race.

Even as it shines light on the beauty and toxicity of Black masculinity from a transgender perspective—the tropes, the presumptions—Pretty is as much a powerful and tender love letter as it is a call for change.   “I should be able to define myself, but I am not. Not by any governmental or cultural body,” Brookins writes. “Every day, I negotiate the space between who I am, how I’m perceived, and what I need to unlearn. People have assumed things about me, and I can’t change that. Every day, I am assumed to be a Black American man, though my ID says ‘female,’ and my heart says neither of the sort. What does it mean—to be a girl-turned-man when you’re something else entirely?”  Informed by KB Brookins’s personal experiences growing up in Texas, those of other Black transgender masculine people, Black queer studies, and cultural criticism, Pretty is concerned with the marginalization suffered by a unique American constituency—whose condition is a world apart from that of cisgender, non-Black, and non-masculine people. Here is a memoir (a bildungsroman of sorts) about coming to terms with instantly and always being perceived as “other”

KB BROOKINS is a Black, queer, and trans writer and cultural worker from Texas. They are the author of Freedom House and How to Identify Yourself with a Wound. Brookins has poems, essays, and installation art published in Academy of American Poets, Teen Vogue, Poetry Magazine, Prizer Arts & Letters, Okayplayer, Poetry Society of America, Autostraddle, and other venues. They have earned fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, PEN America, Equality Texas, and others.

Neesha Powell-Ingabire is a coastal Georgia-born-and-raised movement journalist, essayist, community & cultural organizer, cat parent, spouse, and auntie living in Atlanta/occupied Muscogee territory. She reports on the justice movements of the Black, trans, queer, and Southern communities to which she belongs and writes essays to recover her own history and the histories of her ancestors and their ancestral homes.

Neesha’s writings have been published in various online and print publications, including Harper’s Bazaar, Oxford American, Scalawag, and VICE. Her forthcoming debut book, COME BY HERE: A Memoir in Essays from Georgia’s Geechee Coast (out on September 24 from Hub City Press), chips away at coastal Georgia’s facade of beaches and golden marshes to recover undertold Black history alongside personal and family stories. The book traces a genealogy of systemic racial violence while paying homage to the area’s long history of Black resistance and culture keeping. Neesha recently graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Georgia College & State University. Learn more about Neesha's work at

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Charis Books and More/Charis Circle

Charis Books and More/Charis Circle


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