Best Local Writer - 2006
People unfamiliar with her work call her prolific, the greater national literati call her transgressive, and her fellow San Franciscans call her iconic. Whatever you label her, Michelle Tea post-Beat mystic, penning the sacred doctrine of tatted and pierced queer girls everywhere fires out her poetry and prose with a manic energy that blurs the boundaries between fiction and memoir, author and reader. A ubiquitous trend-setter who edits anthologies, endorses debut writers, and acted as frontwoman of the now legendary all-grrrl spoken word roadshow Sister Spit, Tea gets around in fact, you've probably seen her at a local reading, either in the audience or on stage. Her work balances between transgressive and speculative fiction, filled with an anarchic patois that provides moments of Zen clarity amid the textured goulash of sex workers, writers, and stoners. (Who wouldn't marvel at the simple beauty of lines like, "The mushrooms tasted like a trunk of moth-eaten clothes and after we ate them we went out to the stoop and waited for the world to turn weird"?) Books like Valencia, with its shrewd account of the Mission District's hipster dyke scene, and Rent Girl, an unsentimental graphic novel about the author's years as a prostitute, are narrated with the kind of modest ferocity that make reading Tea so easy.