Picture of Deesha Philyaw

Made Local

Deesha Philyaw


A collection of luminous stories populated by deeply moving and multifaceted characters. . . . Tender, fierce, proudly black and beautiful, these stories will sneak inside you and take root.


In conversation with Khirsten Scott, Assistant Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies explores the raw and tender places where Black women and girls dare to follow their desires and pursue a momentary reprieve from being good. The nine stories in this collection feature four generations of characters grappling with who they want to be in the world, caught as they are between the church’s double standards and their own needs and passions.  

With their secret longings, new love, and forbidden affairs, these church ladies are as seductive as they want to be, as vulnerable as they need to be, as unfaithful and unrepentant as they care to be, and as free as they deserve to be. 

Pittsburgh based author Deesha Philyaw is a Fellow at the Kimbilio Center for African American Fiction and a Pushcart Prize nomineeHer writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington PostMcSweeney’sThe Rumpus, and more. 



Signed copies of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies are available for sale from White Whale Bookstore.

Book cover for The Secret Lives of Church Ladies


Thursday, September 3, 2020


Virtual Event
Free, with registration
Closed captioning is available


Upcoming Lectures

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Karen Russell

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Ocean Vuong

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