Zoe Whittall

Zoe Whittall

DH: What is your definition of transgressive?


ZW: Work the transgresses norms or boundaries, I suppose?


DH: What was the first text you read that made you question accepted societal tenets or values or the way in which the world works?


ZW:     I read some YA that was transgressive for its time, Paula Danziger and Judy Blume, were quite boundary-breaking. I read a lot of hippie era non-fiction when I was in my teens, like Ken Kesey's acid test. I was obsessed with a book about a commune for while, The Walden Two Experiment. But I guess when I read Dianne DiMassa's Hothead comics, or Dorothy Alison, Sarah Schulman, Kathy Acker, Eileen Myles, that's when it started changing the way I thought about writing.


DH: Give an example of a transgressive work & explain why you felt it was transgressive? The work could be literature, film, visual art, theatre, graphic novels or something else.


ZW: I'm a fan of Sasha Van Bon Bon's theatrical work - she wrote a play called Neon Nights that's hilarious and transgressive and totally unique.


DH: Name a historical transgressive role model & tell us a bit about this person.

ZW: Gail Scott's novel Heroine was an early inspiration for writing poetic prose and non-linear work.


DH: List a few transgressive fictional works from your personal library.


ZW: Nevada by Imogen Binnie

Amber Dawn's Sub Rosa

The Importance of Being Iceland by Eileen Myles

Casey PLett's a Safe Girl to Love


DH: In what ways are you trying to create or publish work that is transgressive according to your definition?


ZW: I'm not. I like to play with form, I like to write about queer and trans people in a real way, but I'm not setting out to be edgy or unconventional in an intentional way, I just write what seems real, funny, or interesting to me, and often that means it's transgressive to some folks, and not to others.   

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


Fatal ErrorsThe Prejudgment Day Blues and other tales of comic woeHigh on LifeThe Tawdry Goat #1

Black Bile Press
Burning Book Press
Go Fuck Yourself Press
Postscripts to Darkness
Siren Song Publishing
Urban Graffiti