NC Literary Hall of Fame



Dear Miss Cushman by Paula Martinac

Bywater Books
$16.95, paperback / $9.99, e-book
ISBN: 978-1612942155
December, 2021
Fiction: Historical
Available from your local bookstore or

“Grounded in the nitty-gritties of 19th-century theatrical life, Dear Miss Cushman is a sparkling coming-of-age story about the roles free spirits shape for themselves, both on and off stage. Credible, engrossing, entertaining stuff.”
—Emma Donoghue, award-winning author of Room, The Wonder (Netflix film 2022), and The Pull of the Stars

"Paula Martinac’s vivid, mesmerizing prose transports us to the gritty streets of New York City at the height of the Victorian era in this unapologetically queer and deeply empowering story. Dear Miss Cushman is a triumphant portrayal of one young woman's determination to forge a path of independence—complete with all the splendor, hope, and ugliness of this iconic period. Simply unforgettable."
—Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Last to Let Go and Something Like Gravity

Dear Miss Cushman is an adventure steeped in the American theater. Deeply researched, it challenges the traditional view of 19th-century gender and sexuality, exploring what it takes to be the hero of one’s own story.”
—Tana Wojczuk, author of Lady Romeo: The Radical and Revolutionary Life of Charlotte Cushman, America's First Celebrity

In 1850s Manhattan, 18-year-old Georgiana Cartwright witnesses the downfall of her father, a renowned actor who performs drunk and then deserts the family. Georgie makes her way onto the stage, excelling at cross-dressing “breeches roles.” Unwanted sexual advances threaten to derail her career, but Georgie perseveres to find success—and love—on her own terms.

Paula Martinac is the author of the historical novel Dear Miss Cushman (Bywater Books), and six others, including Testimony; Clio Rising (Gold Medalist, Northeast Region, 2020 Independent Publisher Book Awards); and The Ada Decades, a finalist for the 2018 Ferro-Grumley Award in LGBTQ Fiction. Out of Time, her debut novel, won a Lambda Literary Award. She has received fellowships from North Carolina Arts Council and the Arts and Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg and teaches in the creative writing program at UNC-Charlotte.

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