Bee Lavender

Photo of Bee LavenderEducation

B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1991
M.P.A., The Evergreen State College, 1994

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Bee Lavender

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Biographical Note

Bee Lavender is a writer, publisher, and activist. After living in the Pacific Northwest for thirty-three years she moved to England. Her books include the anthologies Breeder and Mamaphonic and a memoir about danger titled Lessons in Taxidermy. Bee is the publisher of the online edition of Hip Mama and created and publishes Girl-Mom, an advocacy project for teen parents.



Bee Lavender bookPublication Types

Non Fiction, Journalism

Latest Publication Title

Lessons in Taxidermy: A Compendium of Safety and Danger, Akashic Books, 2005

Additional Publications

Mamaphonic: Balancing Motherhood and Other Creative Acts (co-editor), Soft Skull Press, 2004
Breeder: Real-Life Stories from the New Generation of Mothers (co-editor), Seal Press, 2001



Publication Excerpt


"One of the reigning mother superiors..."
-  Time Magazine

Reviews of Lessons in Taxidermy:

"It is one of the many charms of this book that Lavender is not only aware of the conventions of such autobiographies but that she consciously rejects them. Her powerful, elegant memoir should be read by everyone.... as an example of what truly well-written and unflinching self-examination can be like."
- The Sunday Telegraph

"Lavender... holds nothing back as she recounts her life spent in and out of hospitals and her subsequent dissociation from her own body and emotions... witnessing her strength and sheer determination to live makes this striking book completely engrossing."
- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Lavender's memoir is exquisite, precise and deeply affecting from beginning to end."
- Bookslut

"There's a deep, almost painful beauty in her seemingly dispassionate language..."
- Bitch Magazine: Feminist Response to Pop Culture

"You know how sometimes you read a book that's so powerful, you find you keep flipping to the back to look at the author's photo? Lessons in Taxidermy has that effect. The memoir is so openhearted and deft and laden with trauma that you'll want to keep checking that the writer really made it through alive. You'll also want to get a good long glimpse at the individual behind this steely, graceful voice.... Lavender has the gift of articulating tragedies... with simple, unfettered language that doesn't ask for sympathy."
- Time Out NYC

"Bee Lavender is a fantastic writer. Her work is deep and personal, and I don't think there are any places she's scared to go."
- Michelle Tea, author of The Chelsea Whistle


Reviews of Mamaphonic: Balancing Motherhood and Other Creative Acts:

"For all our supposed advancement since previous generations, the societal duress implicit in our concept of the 'good mother' seems to linger. In perhaps no other career choice is the tension between the self-sacrifice of motherhood and the need for self-actualization felt more strongly than in artistic and literary pursuits. …. a sense of honesty, passion and, yes, intense motherly love is apparent throughout. Highly recommended for both family/relationship and arts and literature collections."
- Library Journal

"This is my favorite thing about Mamaphonic: the adoration these women feel for their families, their joy (even on bad days) at the synthesis of motherhood and art."
- Brain, Child: The Magazine for Thinking Mothers

Reviews of BREEDER: Real Life Stories from a New Generation of Mothers:

"The contributors to this standout anthology from the editors of Hip Mama: The Parenting Zine are welfare moms, journalists, television writers, poets, and 'social justice ninjas' women who 'choose to have our kids while, not instead of, following our other dreams.' The writers approach the task of parenting with determination, wit, self-awareness, and a serious dose of heterodoxy. The result is a kaleidoscopic look at life as a mother, with essays about a road trip; the neonatal ICU; battling depression and contemplating suicide; teaching your kid to fly a plane; even being 15 years old and having to fight an adoption counselor to keep your son. Whether you're a parent, parent-to-be, or nonparent, Breeder promises a satisfying and illuminating look at the latest reinventions of motherhood."
- Mother Jones Magazine

"The voices of mothers--the real in-the-trenches voices of mothers--always threaten the status quo. Tell the truth about your ambivalence, rage, and passion--whether about miscarriage, breast pumps, or (as profiled here) your welfare-avoidance job as a stripper--and watch the general public recoil. But as every mother knows, there is nothing more comforting than finding another woman who is willing to sit in your kitchen and share the honest-to-God truth about mothering. So it takes a lot of best-girlfriend loyalty to write the gut-wrenching motherhood stories that you'll find in Breeder."
- Amazon.com

Reviews of Hip Mama:

"It is the quality of the writing that sets Hip Mama apart. This site ultimately provides succor to moms who cannot relate to our culture's mawkish notions of motherhood. Yet although it is cool and sometimes sharp, Hip Mama wears its heart on its Gerbers-stained sleeve, defining 'hip' not just as 'aware, informed' but also as 'a place where young children sit when they're tired of walking.'"
- The New Yorker

"Hipmama.com was, without a doubt, the only parenting site on the Web that marked the passing of Joey Ramone. It was probably alone, again, when it posted this headline: 'Who says moms aren't hot?' Bee Lavender-- writer, activist, mother -- is definitely hot. She is the very embodiment of extreme motherhood."
- Borders.com

"Fun and irreverent."
- USA Today

"No sanctified endorsement of the usual myths about motherhood here. No neat checklists of all-too-easy parenting solutions or slick write-ups of professional experts telling how it's supposed to be. Hip Mama speaks (and listens) to parents who want or need to raise kids their own way.... Hip Mama explores the real stuff of parenting with a proper recognition of the ambiguity of it all--and plenty of love and humanity."
- The Utne Reader

"Proof that being a mother doesn't have to be boring -- or apolitical."
- Fast Company

"Traditional or not, the topics are handled with serious insight."
- San Jose Mercury News

How did Evergreen help you in your career?

Evergreen offered a solid educational infrastructure but also intellectual freedom in the form of independent contracts, with the ability to integrate disparate subjects like creative writing and health education. Faculty not only allowed but actively encouraged me to pursue an education when I became a teen mother shortly after arriving on campus. And, most critical of all for a student parent: the school offered high quality subsidized childcare.