Next Letter in the Mail: Deesha Philyaw


Our next Letter in the Mail is from award-winning author Deesha Philyaw! Deesha writes a letter about love—in particular, the grand love affair she knows she wants but has yet to have. She also thinks about lack of touch in the time of COVID, what the pandemic has clarified for her, and more.

To make sure Deesha’s vulnerable, thoughtful letter finds its way to your mailbox, subscribe to Letters in the Mail by December 29! And remember, Letters in the Mail helps us keep The Rumpus running—so, you can correspond with your favorite writers and support the website in one fell swoop.

Deesha Philyaw’s debut short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church, and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and will be the 2022-2023 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.


Photograph of Deesha Philyaw by Vanessa German.