Ra’Niqua Lee’s FOR WHAT AILS YOU is Southern with the most unique voice, a distinct tongue where sinners are full of faith, and healers are sinners.
FOR WHAT AILS YOU is a flash collection about Black femmes and new conjure women who take MARTA and battle a multiverse of woes, racism, and generational trauma. They have the water, the juice, and the juju, and they’re healing each other through the powers of food, prayer, sex, and other un/known medicinals.
Fiction. African & African American Studies. Women's Studies.
“South South South—Georgia South—South like OutKast’s ATLiens South—an Atlanta South, and Ra’Niqua Lee’s WHAT AILS YOU is Southern with the most unique voice, a distinct tongue where sinners are full of faith, and healers are sinners. Peach South. Lee’s flash fiction collection deluges heat, simmering in humidity where childhood nostalgia blends with motel rituals—crushes and cauldrons, candles and chains, tea and tears—a mango with a bite, and What Ails You carves its way into a new style of supernatural Black femme storytelling, one which requires books to be pushed aside on the shelf—her words need their own space, so let’s make way and then follow along in awe. Playing witness to a strange charm, Lee leads us with an unparalleled literary cantor—entrancing and rhythmic, a beat and a beat, we nod our heads and turn to the next page.”
—Shome Dasgupta, author of Histories of Memories
“Ra’Niqua Lee writes with the skill of a well-paced breath in that, each word exhales and inhales at just the right beat. Each story has a distinct place within this book’s body knowing exactly when to give us a reprieve, or when to deny us the comfort of that reprieve to sit meditavely with Lee’s well-crafted discomforts, allowing us to question, and from that questioning? Growth. FOR WHAT AILS YOU gifts us with so much style, so much exploration of traditional and nontraditional femininity and masculinity, with so much Blackness, so much Southerness, so much strangeness and leaving us–in the most exquisite way that a reader can be left–simply wanting more, and more, and more.”
—Exodus Oktavia Brownlow, author of I’m Afraid That I Know Too Much About Myself Now, To Go Back To Who I Knew Before, And Oh Lord, Who Will I Be After I’ve Known All That I Can?
Ra'Niqua Lee has an MFA from Georgia State University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Cream City Review, Split Lip Magazine, Indiana Review, Passages North, and elsewhere. She has received support from New York State Summer Writers Institute. She was a participant in the Tin House and the Kenyon Review summer workshops. In 2021, the Georgia Writers Association awarded her the inaugural John Lewis Writing Grant for fiction. Every word is honor of her little sister Nesha, who battled schizoaffective disorder until the very end, For her always.