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Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Men’s Memoir/Biography
Mississippi Sissy is the memoir from Kevin Sessums, a celebrity journalist who grew up as an odd little boy in the South. From an early age, Sessums knew he was different. He spent his childhood scaring other children and hiding secrets. He enjoyed the companionship of the family maid, who taught him that the color of a person's skin is not as important as what is underneath. He idolized Arlene Francis. His best friend, Epiphany, lived in the TV and he liked to dress up in a skirt and twirl around the carport. When his father called him a "sissy," his mother taught him to turn that word on its head.
Pursued by his secrets, Sessums moved to Jackson as a young man. He settled in the antebellum mansion of journalist Frank Hains, who introduced him to Eudora Welty and exposed him to the worlds of literature and theater. Just when he began to feel a sense of belonging, his life took an alarming turn. Kevin returned home one night to find Frank murdered—his head bashed in with a pipe. That murder started Sessums on the road to New York City, Hollywood, and the pages of Vanity Fair.
Mississippi Sissy echoes time-honored fiction like To Kill a Mockingbird and memoirs like The Liar's Club. It is a panorama of the American South at mid-century through the eyes of a unique little boy who made the word "sissy" bigger and stronger than anyone knew it could be.
Kevin Sessums was a Contributing Editor at Vanity Fair magazine for fourteen years and at Allure magazine for four. He was also Executive Editor for Andy Warhol's Interview magazine. His work has appeared in Elle, Travel + Leisure, Playboy, Out, and Show People magazines. He was nominated for a Quill Award for his recording of the audiobook of Mississippi Sissy. He lives in New York City.
Listen to this audiobook excerpt from Mississippi Sissy, the stunning memoir from Kevin Sessums, a celebrity journalist who grew up scaring other children, hiding terrible secrets, pretending to be Arlene Frances and running wild in the South.