How We Fight for Our Lives
File:How We Fight for Our Lives (Saeed Jones).png
First edition cover
AuthorSaeed Jones
CountryUnited States
PublisherSimon & Schuster
Publication date
October 8, 2019
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback), audiobook, e-book
Pages208 (hardcover)

How We Fight for Our Lives is a coming-of-age memoir written by American author Saeed Jones and published by Simon & Schuster in 2019. The story follows Jones as a young, black, gay man in 1990s Lewisville, Texas as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears.


How We Fight for Our Lives has earned widespread critical acclaim.[1][2] It received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly,[3] Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews.[4][5][6] NPR called the book an "Extremely personal, emotionally gritty, and unabashedly honest...outstanding memoir."[7] The Los Angeles Review of Books noted that "Jones displays a poet’s knack for the searing detail, and the pages of his memoir are full of beautiful and surprising images that buoy us through the pain and heartache and often seething rage that fuel its propulsive, precise narration."[8]

In 2019 the book won the Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction;[6] in 2020 it won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Memoir/Biography,[9] the Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award and the Randy Shilts Award for gay nonfiction.[1][10] It was listed in Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2019 in the Best Memoirs section and on Time's list of must-read books of 2019.[11][12]


  1. ^ a b Frankart Henterly, Emma (August 12, 2020). "Seven Questions: Saeed Jones on his First Year in Columbus". Columbus Monthly. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  2. ^ Newman-Bremang, Kathleen (December 3, 2019). "If You Read One Memoir This Year, Make It This One". Refinery29. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  3. ^ "Nonfiction Book Review: How We Fight for Our Lives by Saeed Jones". Publishers Weekly. October 8, 2019. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  4. ^ Sendaula, Stephanie (July 31, 2019). "How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir". Library Journal. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  5. ^ "HOW WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES". Kirkus Reviews. October 8, 2019. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Watkins, D. (November 10, 2019). "Saeed Jones on "How We Fight For Our Lives" and writing with "skin in the game"". Salon. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  7. ^ Iglesias, Gabino (October 14, 2019). "'How We Fight For Our Lives' Is One Life Story That Finds Connection To Others". NPR. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  8. ^ Larson, Richard (November 24, 2019). "Our Bodies, Ourselves: On Saeed Jones's "How We Fight for Our Lives"". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  9. ^ Vanderhoof, Erin (June 1, 2020). "PRIDE MONTH EXCLUSIVE: The Winners of the 32nd Annual Lambda Literary Awards". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  10. ^ Yohannes, Samraweet (May 1, 2020). "Téa Mutonji and Kai Cheng Thom among winners of 2020 Publishing Triangle Awards for LGBTQ literature". CBC Arts. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  11. ^ "Best Memoirs of 2019". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  12. ^ "How We Fight For Our Lives: A Memoir". Time. Retrieved January 17, 2021.