2022 Obituary: Tributes for acclaimed lesbian author & activist Elana Dykewomon


Elana Dykewomon lesbian tribute
Image: Facebook

Tributes have poured in after the death of the acclaimed lesbian author, poet and activist Elana Dykewomon

Born Elana Nachman in 1949, Elana went by Dykewomon from 1981 to “avoid etymological connection with men.”

Further commenting that the name was  “an expression of her strong commitment to the lesbian community”.

Her first novel, 1974’s Riverfinger Women was ranked #86 in the Publishing Triangle‘s list of 100 Best Lesbian and Gay Novels.

In 2018, Riverfinger Women was awarded with the Lee Lynch Classic Award, describing the novel as an “essential part of American literary history, LGBT literature, politics, and popular culture”.

Her other literary works; Beyond the Pale, They Will Know Me By My Teeth, and Fragments From Lesbos have also become iconic queer works.

Dykewomon was also well known for her work editing Sinister Wisdom, an international lesbian feminist journal covering literature, art, and politics.

Festival mourns the passing of Dykewomon

Tragically, Dykewomon lost her battle with cancer just as her first play debuted.

How to Let Your Lover Die was being shown as part of the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.

The work was inspired by the death of her partner Susan Levinkind in 2016.

In a statement, the Playwrights Foundation expressed their sorrow at Dykewomon’s passing.

“Playwrights Foundation mourns the passing of Elana Dykewomon,” a spokesperson said.

“When selecting the shows for this year’s festival, our committee of readers was deeply moved while reading her tribute to her late partner, Susan Levinkind, and knew that we wanted to uplift her emotional story of love, grief, and community.

“A true trailblazer with remarkable wit and a legend within lesbian literature, we were honored to work with Elana during her final weeks, bringing her words to life onstage.”

Tributes for Elana Dykewomon

Tributes have since poured in on Twitter, with many users paying tribute to the beloved activist and writer.

“Elana Dykewomon died. Look at her name and it says so much. Writer, activist, teacher, lover, leader, warm and sensitive person.”

“Thank you for all you’ve given us. Sorry you had to go as your first play aired. Her great novel Beyond the Pale is about what she struggled for,” read one tribute.


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Sarah Davison
Sarah Davison

After working in print and radio, Sarah has joined the team at QNews to expand their coverage into South Australia. Sarah has a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology, and a Masters in Journalism, Media, and Communications. Get in touch: sarah@qnews.com.au

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