Melissa Febos, Author of Girlhood and Forsyth Harmon, Author/Illustrator of Justine


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"A lasting, conscientious change in the self is similar to one in society: it requires consistent tending. It is sometimes painful and often tedious. We must choose it over and over." This is one of the many resonant passages readers will come across from writer Melissa Febos in her latest book, Girlhood. In this stunning essay collection, Melissa deftly examines (and interrogates) the stories we're told as girls, how these narratives inform who we become as adults, and the ways we can transcend them to be in service of the self.

Alongside Melissa's writing, each piece features a stunning illustration by Forsyth Harmon, who is also the author and artist of the novel Justine (a devastating story that also tackles the complexities of girlhood). At the beginning of each essay, Forsyth lends her signature illustration style—simple, sharp, and effortless line drawings—to create a portal inside. While these visuals are black and white on the page, Girlhood as a whole reminds us to traverse the grey area that often makes up adolescence; that liminal space between who we're told to be and ultimately owning who we really are.

Together, Melissa and Forsyth's work renders a nuanced portrait of how our girlhoods shape us, challenge us, and stay with us. In this interview, Melissa and Forsyth shared more about how these themes informed their books, what led them to collaborate on Girlhood, and the role of pace in their creative lives.

A transcript of this episode is also available on our website:

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