Based on the BBC radio programme ‘Desert Island Discs’, we’ve adapted this idea to ask castaways to list up to eight books, one song and one luxury item that they couldn’t do without on a desert island.
The rules are fairly simple, any type of book can be selected, but we ask that at least half are lesfic. Choices should be justified in a paragraph or two. Any type of music is allowed. The luxury item must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside.
Fiona Zedde's Desert Island Books
My book choices
about love by Anondra Williams
The charm of this book is all about the glimpses it gives into the souls of everyday, queer Black women. Women loving each other and doing their best to claim joy. Though it’s a quick read, about love’s short, sharp bursts of happiness and pain and relatable reality have never disappointed me.
A Return to Arms by Sheree L. Greer
This isn’t a “happy” read, but I love it anyway. Unfortunately, police brutality and systemic abuse against people of color won’t change (ever?) for a long while yet. Sheree L. Greer wrote this book in 2016 but it could’ve been written yesterday. In her second full-length novel, she blends lesbian passion with social activism, touches on homophobia and misogyny within Black activist communities, and just plain writes a jewel of a book. Although primarily an essayist, Sheree still drew me into a well-wrought world of discovery, danger, and the drama of new lesbian love.
Don’t Explain by Jewelle Gomez
This collection of short stories by one of my favorite writers is so, so lovely. It reminds me of the power that short stories can have. Not to mention the title story hits me in the feels with every single read.
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name: A Biomythography by Audre Lorde
This was the book that encouraged me to see as much as the world as I could and as my openly queer self. The picture Audre Lorde paints of a certain part of her life – living in different countries and enjoying her passions, her art – is absolutely captivating. Because of Zami, I left college wanting to make love to women from other countries, live in far-off cities, and write absolutely everything.
A Writer’s Book of Days: A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life by Judy Reeves and Janet Fitch
When I’m stuck creatively and don’t have a clue of what to write next, I just pick up this book and it inspires me to push forward every time. It’s got some great writing prompts, encouraging quotes, and advice I’m always able to use.
Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, Book 1) by Patricia Briggs
This is the first book that introduced me to Mercy and to Patricia Briggs’ books about impressive, shifter women and the people who love them. Her writing is vivid and the action scenes grab you hard. The intro story to her Alpha and Omega series is also delicious.
My song choice
Desert Song by Alice Smith.
This woman’s voice is so full-bodied and rich. Every song on her first album – For Lovers, Dreamers, and Me – is absolutely magical. But if I can only pick one song from the album then it’s this one. The sensual, hip rocking music of Desert Song melds perfectly with the words of freedom and Ms. Smith’s tremendous voice. She is my singer crush.
My inanimate object choice
I’m going to pretend that my desert island has a mysteriously paved road that never gets potholes. That way, I can have my MINI Cooper back (her name is Alice) and drive her in scenic circles with the sunroof open and my (Alice Smith) music blasting. Incidentally, Alice is powered by sunshine instead of gasoline/electricity and is always ready to roll. If the unthinkable happens and the roads, gasoline, and/or car battery run out, it would still be lovely to sit in the driver’s seat on top of the island’s tallest overlook and take in the shimmer of the ocean outside the windshield.
About Fiona Zedde
Jamaican-born Fiona Zedde is the author of several novels, including the Lambda Literary Award finalists, Bliss and Every Dark Desire. She loves French pastries, English cars, Jamaican food, and currently lives in Spain. Her latest novel, House of Agnes, is available now.