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Cover for Kiss the Scars on the Back of My Neck

Kiss the Scars on the Back of My Neck


Joe Okonkwo


List Price: 16.95*
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Independent Publishers Awards (IPPY) Silver Medalist in LGBT+ Fiction

The eclectic stories in this collection are bound by the threads of desire in its many forms, above all, the desire for love and a place of safety in a world where being Black and gay can thwart the fulfillment of that longing. The characters are complex, driven, difficult, and even, at times, unsympathetic, but always compelling. In other words: fully rounded human beings living complicated lives.

A proud Black woman who escaped her rural, impoverished town returns after the collapse of her marriage and faces the scorn of those she left behind. A middle-aged gay man finds his loneliness temporarily relieved by the arrival of a stray cat. An unhappily married woman becomes enmeshed in her bisexual husband's attempt to create a m nage trois with a much younger man. A 16-year-old boy discovers the power of his sexuality when he embarks upon a dangerous seduction. Two Black men, one mature and rich, the other young and struggling, are drawn into a contentious affair by their shared love of opera. The legendary blues singer Glady Bentley crashes up against the barriers of race and gender when she gets caught up in a police raid.

Kiss the Scars on the Back of My Neck is a masterful collection of stories by a gifted writer who has fully hit his stride.

Bywater Books, 9781612942032, 220pp.

Publication Date: August 10, 2021

About the Author

Joe Okonkwo is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, and editor. His debut novel Jazz Moon won the Publishing Triangle's prestigious 2016 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Fiction. A cum laude graduate of the University of Houston with a B.A. in theater, Joe made his living for a number of years as an actor, stage manager, director, playwright, and youth theater instructor. He also holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from City College of New York.