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Patricia Cumbie  

Sexual Assault Survivor, Belly Dancer & Author

Patricia Cumbie is an author, belly dancer, storyteller, and sexual assault survivor. She writes fiction, essays and creative nonfiction for teens and adults. Patricia Cumbie’s short stories and essays have been published in numerous journals and anthologies.

Most recently, Cumbie released a memoir, The Shape of a Hundred Hips, about sexual assault recovery through belly dance.

Cumbie has studied belly dance for almost two decades as a fascinating and empowering art form. She believes belly dance has always been at the cutting edge of female sensuality and expression. For the average contemporary woman, belly dance represents a paradox about female identity and body image. Most people think belly dance equals titillation, but the movements you see—shimmies, undulations, sinuous arms—require serious training and practice. To dance to it well requires dedication to fully inhabiting your body as a form of artistic articulation.

Cumbie’s writing has been supported by The Loft Literary Center’s Fiction Mentor Series, a SASE/Jerome Fellowship, a Loft Career Initiative Grant, and a Minnesota State Arts Board fellowship. She received the Carol Bly Award for Nonfiction. She was also nominated for inclusion in Best New American Voices and was a Rona Jaffe Award finalist. Her young adult novel, Where People Like Us Live, was named one of the Cooperative Book Center’s “Choices” for their best-of YA fiction list for 2009.

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