Alix Kates Shulman on the creation of an ex-prom queen and protofeminist
Book jacket for the 1972 edition of Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen (Courtesy of the author. Jacket illustration by Elias Dominguez.)
In 1972, Alix Kates Shulman wrote her first novel, Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen. The book follows Sasha Davis, a Jewish girl from Cleveland saddled with excess intelligence, ambition, and sexual desire, as she confronts 1950s notions of femininity.
Even before the book was published, it caused a great stir among secretaries as the galleys made their way through various printing houses. It went on to sell more than a million copies, and has been in print almost continuously ever since; Kate Millet cites it as the first notable work of fiction to come out of the women’s liberation movement.
Shulman went on to play a prominent role in that movement, both as a writer and an activist. Now, as Memoirs hits bookstores yet again, this time as a special 35th anniversary edition, Shulman talks with Nextbook about how Sasha Davis came into being, and about how much—or how little—has changed since readers first encountered her.
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