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Joan Nestle
(May 12, 1940 - living) - U.S.A.

Joan Nestle

Writer, archivist, activist


Born in the Bronx, New York City, her father died before she was born. She was therefore brought up by her Jewish mother, Regina. In 1957 Joan Nestle graduated from Martin Van Buren High School in Queens, New York.

In the late 1950s she protested against the House Un-American Activities Committee, the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons, segregation, apartheid, US involvement in Central America, women's rights, and Gay Liberation.

In 1963 she obtained a BA in English from Queens College, Flushing, New York. In 1968 she obtained an MA in English from New York University. She spent the next two years at the university working on her English doctoral thesis but she did not write it up.

Joan NestleIn 1966 she began to teach writing at Queens College, New York City. In 1972 she helped to establish the Gay Academic Union (GAU). In 1973 she was the co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives of New York City, the largest and oldest lesbian archive in the world.

In 1979 she started to write erotic stories. This led to her becoming a target of the anti-pornography movement in 1982, and she took them on as a pro-sex activist. In January 1998 Nestle met Dianne Otto, when a mutual friend introduced them. They got to be great friends, and after some time they became lovers. They still live together. In 1995 cancer forced Nestle to retire from teaching.


Source: Lesbian Herstory Archives: http://www.datalounge.net/network/pages/lha/welc.htm


  • Women on Women : An Anthology of American Lesbian Short Fiction (1990, editor with Naomi Holoch)
  • The Persistent Desire : A Femme-Butch Reader (1992, editor)
  • Women on Women 2: an anthology of American Lesbian short fiction (1993, editor with Naomi Holoch)
  • Sister and Brother: Lesbians and Gay Men Write About Their Lives (1995, editor with John Preston)
  • A Restricted Country (1996)
  • Women on Women 3 : A New Anthology of American Lesbian Fiction (1996, editor with Naomi Holoch)
  • A Fragile Union (1998)
  • The Vintage Book of International Lesbian Fiction (1999, editor with Naomi Holoch)
  • Best Lesbian Erotica (1999, editor)

Website: http://www.JoanNestle.com/

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