About Myriam


Myriam Gurba is a writer and activist. Her first book, the short story collection Dahlia Season, won the Edmund White Award for debut fiction. O, the Oprah Magazine, ranked her true crime memoir Mean as one of the best LGBTQ books of all time. Creep, her most recent book, is a finalist for a National Book Critics’ Circle award in criticism. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Vox, and Paris Review have published her work. She is a co-founder of Dignidad Literaria, a grassroots organization committed to combatting racism in the book world. She is active in the anti-rape movement.


  • PEN America West Literary Award finalist
  • Lambda Literary Award finalist
  • 10 New Books We Recommend This Week, The New York Times
  • Our Favorite Nonfiction Books of 2017, Nylon
  • 25 New Books to Read This Fall, Nylon
  • Editor’s Choice, Bomb Magazine
  • Top 10 Books of 2017, The Michigan Daily
  • 44 Books to Read This Fall, Vulture/New York Magazine
  • New York Magazine Approval Matrix selection
  • Top 10 Queer Feminist Books of 2017, Autostraddle
  • Best Queer Books Set in Every State (California), Autostraddle
  • The Best Queer, Lesbian and Bisexual Books of the Decade, Autostraddle
  • 8 Books to Fall in Love with This Autumn, Logo
  • Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2017 Book Preview, The Millions
  • Staff Pick, Catapult
  • Favorite Books of 2017, The Riveter
  • Books to Read in December, The Riveter
  • The 19 Best Nonfiction Books of 2017, BuzzFeed
  • 28 Exciting Books You Need to Read This Fall, BuzzFeed
  • 28 Books You’ll Want on Your Nightstand This Fall, Shondaland
  • 8 New Books You Need to Read in November, Harper’s Bazaar
  • 13 Best New Nonfiction Books of November, Bustle
  • 11 Books About Angry Women Who Don’t Deserve To Be Called “Unlikeable,” Bustle
  • 5 Enticing Fall Books, The Dallas Morning News
  • 10 Books to Read Right Now, W Magazine
  • Best New Books of November, Chicago Review of Books
  • 25 Books You Won’t Want to Miss, Hello Giggles
  • 24 Best Books to Gift to the Strong Feminist in Your Life, Signature
  • 8 Great Latino Books of 2017, NBC News
  • Kansas City Star Book Club selection
  • 9 Books and Stories Baby Boomers Can Read to Understand Millennial Anxieties, Electric Literature
  • What to Read After Watching “Fleabag,” Electric Literature
  • 10 Essential Books about Contemporary Queer Life in America, Publishers Weekly
  • Staff Reading Picks, Santa Barbara Independent
  • Books that Rocked Our World in 2018, Voices of Monterey Bay
  • 6 Memoirs to Read Next If You Loved Educated, Barnes & Noble
  • 50 Must-Read Memoirs of Mental Illness, Book Riot
  • 50 Must-Read Books by Podcasters, Book Riot
  • The Best Quick Reads for Pride, The Brooklyn Public Library
  • 20 Chicana Writers Whose Names You Should Know, Hip Latina
  • 5 Books to Read During Women’s History Month (and Beyond), InStyle
  • 101 Unapologetically Queer Authors Share the Books that Changed Their Lives, O Magazine


Click on an image to download a hi-res copy. Credits: photography by Geoff Cordner

Photo of Myriam Gurba leaning against rocks
Myriam Gurba, photo by Geoff Cordner
Myriam Gurba headshot
Myriam Gurba, photo by Geoff Cordner
Myriam Gurba headshot
Myriam Gurba, photo by Geoff Cordner


To contact Myriam directly, email her at gurbamyriam@gmail.com

Myriam Gurba’s Mean is “a scalding memoir that comes with a full accounting of the costs of survival, of being haunted by those you could not save and learning to live with their ghosts.” It also “adds a necessary dimension to the discussion of the interplay of race, class and sexuality in sexual violence.” – NYTimes

“Like most truly great books, Mean made me laugh, cry and think. Myriam Gurba’s a scorchingly good writer.” Cheryl Strayd, NYTimes

“Myriam Gurba’s voice is a refreshing burst of honesty, poetry, and spectacularly dark humor…. Through casually beautiful and often untraditional prose, Gurba makes sense of the sometimes-painful world around her. She observes the division of race and class in her elementary school, she watches her younger sister slip into teenage anorexia, she gets acquainted with the effects of weed and alcohol. Through her unpredictable style, Gurba offers a welcomed antidote to the formula of the contemporary novel.” – W Magazine

“Honest and darkly funny, [Mean] is riddled with moments that will have you nodding, cringing, and crying.” – Harper’s Bazaar


Them Magazine logo

Queer poet and writer Myriam Gurba took the literary world by storm when her memoir Mean came out last fall. Startlingly funny, irreverent, and at times deeply philosophical, the memoir is part love letter to California and part queer Latina coming-of-age story, moving from Gurba’s childhood growing up in Southern California through her young adulthood in Berkeley. But along with her humorous anecdotes, the memoir also deals with the story of her sexual assault in college, at the hands of a man who murdered another of his victims after he assaulted Gurba. Mean turns a bright spotlight on the sexual violence that women endure and what it means to live life after trauma.

“Quite a bit of the violence against women that I write about in Mean isn’t necessarily violence that I have seen addressed by the Me Too movement.” them magazine

Gurba’s memoir Mean isn’t a coming-of-age story about discovering an authentic self. Rather, it’s a hybrid text that blends humor, true crime, poetry, and art criticism to enact how identity is apparitional. It is created and destroyed in thousands of violent and daily collisions between one’s own sense of self and the outside forces of educators, rapists, bullies, and racists. Identity is slippery and contingent, and its flickering nature allows for resistance and creativity. Gurba writes, “I didn’t know Mexicans were Mexicans, a category some mistake for subhuman . . . Today I understand that words are for everyjuan, but that not everyjuan is for every word.” In her humorous portmanteaus, Gurba claims and mobilizes language, making it playful and rebellious.  The Iowa Review

Mean somehow manages to be a hilarious book about sexual assault, trauma, and hauntedness. Gurba is a mean, queer Chicana growing up in a mostly-white town in California. Mean is her coming-of-age story, and covers everything from the disappointment of white people food to the joys of skipping school. Further, her joyous reclamation of meanness, of bitchiness, her insistence on it as her holy mission is delightful. A mishmash of wildly diverging references, from Michael Jackson to Walter Benjamin, Cindi Lauper to girl saints, Gurba’s book is an utterly unique exploration of girlhood, trauma, and growing up.  Remezcla