Writers

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Rita Mae Brown

Rita Mae Brown was born in 1944 in Hanover, Pennsylvania to an unmarried teenage mother and her mother's married boyfriend. Brown's birth mother left the newborn Brown at an orphanage. Her mother's cousin Julia Brown and her husband Ralph retrieved her from the orphanage, and raised her as their own in York, Pennsylvania, and later in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Brown is an American feminist writer, best known for her coming-of-age autobiographical novel, Rubyfruit Jungle. Brown was active in a number of civil rights campaigns, but tended to feud with their leaders over the marginalising of lesbians within the feminist groups.

Rubyfruit Jungle is the first novel by Rita Mae Brown. Published in 1973, it was remarkable in its day for its explicit portrayal of lesbianism. The novel is a coming-of-age autobiographical account of Brown's youth and emergence as a lesbian author. The term "rubyfruit jungle" is a term used in the novel for the female genitals.

She is also the New York Times bestselling author of the Mrs. Murphy mystery series (which she writes with her tiger cat, Sneaky Pie) and the Sister Jane novels, as well as Rubyfruit Jungle, In Her Day, The Six of One Trilogy, and The Sand Castle, among others, and of the memoirs Animal Magnetism and Rita Will. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia, with cats, hounds, horses, and big red foxes.

Brown received the Pioneer Award for lifetime achievement at the Lambda Literary Awards in 2015.