A Dazed columnist and an established author, Brittany Newell’s work navigates intimacy and desire
Sometimes, writers come along who just floor you. Brittany Newell is one of them. The author, who has a monthly essay column on Dazed, focusses her work on the slowness of sexuality and the intricacies of intimacy. Brittany describes herself as “a drag queen and a rat” (known on the San Francisco scene as Britney Smearz), and published her debut novel OOLA in 2017 at the age of 23, a story about obsession and desire in the post-college years.
As well as writing, she runs HUSH-HUSH with her partner Silk Worm, a collective for queer and trans artists to produce experimental work, and is soon to retreat to Big Sur to live in a cabin for four months to “work in the only dive bar in town and throw a monthly drag show called Girls Gone Wild”.
A perfect entry point to her effortless brilliance as a writer is her Dazed essay “A Tribute To The Shy Girls On The Dancefloor” – not about sex this time, but a beautiful tribute to Cash Askew, a friend she lost in the tragic Oakland warehouse fire of 2016. It’s an ode to friendship, mourning and the how music contains the unique power to help human beings articulate loss. A must-read – as her future work will be too.