Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches” as Want to Read:
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

4.50  ·  Rating details ·  14,950 ratings  ·  891 reviews
A collection of fifteen essays written between 1976 and 1984 gives clear voice to Audre Lorde's literary and philosophical personae. These essays explore and illuminate the roots of Lorde's intellectual development and her deep-seated and longstanding concerns about ways of increasing empowerment among minority women writers and the absolute necessity to explicate the conc ...more
Paperback, 190 pages
Published June 1st 1984 by Crossing Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Sister Outsider, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Raines If you have access to an internet connection, you can create an account at There is an online copy available there. :)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,950 ratings  ·  891 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
If you care about feminism, social justice, or making the world a better place in any way at all, you must read this book. Sister Outsider shook me to my core. Audre Lorde's brilliant, powerful, love-filled writing literally brought me to tears in a local Panera Bread. In this stunning collection of essays and speeches, she addresses the sheer necessity of intersectional feminism and supporting women of color, the importance of using our voices to speak up against injustice, the horrors inflicte ...more
There is something spellbinding about reading this book, as though one had stepped into a room where someone was speaking, quietly and clearly, and a crowd of people were listening intently, feeling together in mutual awareness and sympathy. It must be because I know so many women have read this book and felt their hearts answer Lorde. It must be because she is a poet and creates with words that space within us, that bridge where separate senses of being can cross and touch.

Perhaps the spell of
Tim Haslett
Feb 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Toni
Now wait, you've not read this book? Really? Maybe you're just kidding. "I have come to work on you like a drug or a chisel" wrote the late Audre Lorde. Her passing created a hollow space in my soul that is now filled again each time I read her prose & poetry.

Just because 'Sister Outsider' is assigned in virtually every women's studies and gender studies 101 class does not mean it is some awful book about soggy, liberal bureaucratic multiculturalism. Far from it.

Audre Lorde lived for a radical
Anger is an appropriate reaction to racist attitudes, as is fury when the actions arising from those attitudes do not change. To those women here who fear the anger of women of Color more than their own unscrutinized racist attitudes, I ask: Is the anger of women of Color more threatening than the woman-hatred that tinges all aspects of our lives?
My latest favorite type of Tumblr blog is a variation on the theme of 'thisisnot_____', wherein a slew of responses to angry white tears let me kno
Sister Outsider was a really fantastic introduction to Audre Lorde for me, though its episodic nature isn't my favorite way to digest nonfiction and I think I would have preferred to stay on track with any one of these essays for a hundred pages rather than to bounce around from topic to topic the way this collection is structured (though all pieces are obviously interconnected to an extent). But still, this is a sharp and insightful and seminal work that I'd recommend. ...more
Lucy Dacus
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest books of all time by one of the most brilliant minds of all time.
Emily Mac Rae
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. At times I look at the world and it's inequities and it makes me feel as if I am losing my mind. How can you look at the hurt and pain caused by the imbalance of power, the squandering of vital resources, pride exercised by the complete put down of whole groups of people and not want to scream. At the very least do some one thing to help the starving person next to you. I sometimes feel that I live in a world where many suffer but many more walk around as if they were anes ...more
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: you will probably think this book sucks
the bible just not doing it for ya? feel disappointed by the christian science monitor? maybe not getting the guidance you need from the koran or buddha... this shit is a new religion- all the spiritual guidance you'll ever need. well. it's fucking good and smart and amazing and no good feminist worth their (gender unspecific) salt would go without referencing lorde.

the uses of the erotic, some notes and master's tools are absolute requirements if you don't wanna do the whole thing. oh. and, um
Audre Lorde was a poet, academic, speaker, feminist activist, sister and mother of two, who grew up in 1930’s Harlem. She wrote 12 books and tragically passed away at the age of 58 from cancer in 1992.

I’ve had her collection of essays Sister Outsider on my list of books I wanted to read for a few years, I came across it after reading an article or blog post that put it at or near the top of books one should read if interested in feminism, gender, equality. They are the kind of books that those w
Oh, this book. Such a brilliant collection of essays, I won't even try to write a proper review. I'll just leave a quote from the essay The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism. This quote sums up what feminism is all about for me.
I am a lesbian woman of Color whose children eat regularly because I work in a university. If their full bellies make me fail to recognize my commonality with a woman of Color whose children do not eat because she cannot find work, or who has no children becaus
 Imani ♥ ☮
I wavered back and forth for a good minute, trying to figure out if I would give this a four star rating or a five star rating. I resolved for five, just because I liked some of the essays more than others. All of them were stunning, but I especially liked Eye to Eye and her account on Moscow, Grenada and raising a black son as a black lesbian.

Audre Lorde has been like a haunt to me in some ways. A name I never felt I could pronounce properly. A name I heard but never read. A book written by a
This is quite possibly the most important book I've read all year.
You do not have to be me in order for us to fight alongside each other. I do not have to be you to recognize that our wars are the same. What we must do is commit ourselves to some future that can include each other and to work toward that future with the particular strengths of our individual identities. And in order to do this, we must allow each other our differences at the same time as we recognize our sameness.
p142, "Learning from the 60s"

I read this right on the tail of reading Zami: A New
Viv JM
Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was a black lesbian feminist poet and “Sister Outsider” is a collection of her essays and speeches dating from 1976 to 1984. These are largely on themes of sexism, racism and homophobia and Lorde is not afraid to express her anger. Reading these essays 40 years later feels a little bit depressing as although a lot has changed there is so much more that hasn’t.

I did find this at times an uncomfortable read, and I think that is wholly a good thing. It feels like a really i
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism, nonfic
I'm shook. While I've read several of these essays in my college days (and beyond), finally reading this iconic collection in its entirety is to fully understand the scope of Audre Lorde's goodness, her vulnerability and her warrior-queer-rebel genius. I have not read any full poetry collections from Lorde, but I really damn well should, because Lorde may be one of the most visionary revolutionaries I've ever read.

What impresses me most about Lorde is how she can incite action while making room
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What beautiful prose and so relevant. I've heard Audre Lorde quotes batted around all over the place and it was wonderful to read them in context. Unlike Lorde, I prefer prose to poetry (at least at this point in my life) so I really appreciated a poet talking about politics and life. Her essay on absorbing the hatred of racism as a child was really moving and one that I will return to.
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Sister Outsider was originally compiled in 1984 from poet Audre Lorde's speeches and essays. I listened to the audiobook produced in 2016, and narrated by Robin Eller. Let's get my critique of the audio out of the way - it was deplorable. Lorde's passionate and insightful words are ruined by narration that's closer to automaton than human. Buy the print version, as I will be doing soon.

That frustration aside, this book is a powerful work. Lorde's experiences as a black, feminist, lesbian mother
Xian Xian
1. A collection of essays and speeches by Audre Lorde. A lot of people have read this since she is definitely one of the most important and influential women in history. Which is why my words on it aren't really that important because it's no different than anyone else's.

2. I don't read a lot of non-fiction but this was written in a way where I could easily digest it without clawing my eyes out. It is written in her lovely voice by her lovely fingers.

3. She is delicate and strong, knowing that s
May 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory-gender
Lorde was foundational to intersectionality, along with Angela Y. Davis (Women, Race, and Class).

The Good:
--The most striking essays to me are Lorde’s (often directly personal) reflections on dealing with non-intersectional feminism, other black women, and being a black lesbian mother while raising a boy. It seems clear that those who share closer experiences can instantly unlock vaults of memories and understanding from brief passages; for certain gulfs, all I can do is be receptive and appreci
this was powerful. forward thinking. and just overall brilliant. i see why this book is still revenant today. Lorde way thinking and her life experience as a black and lesbian woman was ahead of her time. she understood what was happening and how we as a collective need to respond to dismantling systems of oppression for the greater good.

you will go to this book over and over again.

Hadrian wrote a nice little review which I think is worth reading:
Inderjit Sanghera
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This series of essays demonstrates Lorde’s ability as a forward thinking social critic and philosopher and she tackles and explores a number of themes which have only recently become a part of mainstream dialogue, including intersectionality, the marginalisation of homosexuality in African-American culture, the insidious racial biases within white feminism and the concept that the idea of racial superiority it deeply-rooted within American culture and history;

“In America, the normal is usually d
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book will be my guiding light for years to come. I am in awe of Audre and so thankful to have access to her words. This book is completely highlighted and loved on, and I can't wait to return to this book during different seasons of my life and see what additional knowledge I can gain.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtia
This should be required reading for *everyone.*
Jherane Patmore
The word of our Lorde and personal saviour!
This book should be an essential for every feminist bookshelf.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Brilliant, of course.
Jay Michelle Williams
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nobody has the power quite like Audre to have you sit with her thoughts, argue them out with her, disagree, get angry that you're disagreeing because she has already called you out on it in her essay and then have you walk away, only to come back, calm and ready to learn at the hands of a woman with a brilliant mind, a way of breaking down her theories and thoughts in the clearest, most concise, most unflinching and most vulnerable way possible and the desire to have the world and most important ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I'm so glad I finally read thus but I wish I had read it when I was younger. It's clear that a lot of modern activists developed their current theories based on Audre Lorde's thoughtful teachings. I think it will be helpful to me as I continue to read antiracist and feminist texts to have this reference. Having this knowledge already made my understanding deeper when listening to the section in Stamped From the Beginning that discusses Lorde.

I think the biggest thing I learned from this text was
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think this book is essential reading for everyone.

"Poetry is Not a Luxury" and "Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference" were my favorites.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Brunch Babes Reads: Spoiler Discussion for Sister Outsider 1 3 Jun 01, 2019 10:04PM  
Brunch Babes Reads: General Discussion for Sister Outsider 1 3 Jun 01, 2019 10:03PM  
Our Shared Shelf: Sister Outsider - 30+ years 4 474 Apr 08, 2019 06:35PM  
500 Great Books B...: Sister Outsider - Audre Lorde 4 44 Feb 12, 2019 11:23PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color
  • Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower
  • Women, Race, and Class
  • Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism
  • All About Love: New Visions
  • The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write
  • Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment
  • Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
  • Magical Negro
  • Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center
  • As Black As Resistance: Finding the Conditions for Liberation
  • Freedom Is a Constant Struggle
  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed
  • Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger
  • Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars
  • The Fire Next Time
  • The Wretched of the Earth
  • Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics
See similar books…
Audre Lorde is a revolutionary Black feminist. Lorde's poetry was published very regularly during the 1960s — in Langston Hughes' 1962 New Negro Poets, USA; in several foreign anthologies; and in black literary magazines. During this time, she was politically active in civil rights, anti-war, and feminist movements. Her first volume of poetry, The First Cities (1968), was published by the Poet's P ...more

Articles featuring this book

There is no shortage of high-profile book clubs to join these days. But which ones match your reading tastes? Would you adore a Reese Wit...
49 likes · 61 comments
“Your silence will not protect you.” 2632 likes
“Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.” 402 likes
More quotes…