Novelist Elana Dykewomon, known for her groundbreaking work and five-decade career in Jewish and lesbian literature, died of esophageal cancer on August 7. She was 72.

Dykewomon was the author of the novels Riverfinger Woman and Beyond the Pale, the latter of which won the 1998 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction. She also wrote the books They Will Know Me By My Teeth and Fragments from Lesbos and edited Sinister Wisdom, the international lesbian and feminist journal of literature, art, and politics founded by Adrienne Rich. She regularly supported lesbian-run and -focused projects in her community in Oakland. Just hours after her death, her first play, How to Let Your Lover Die, debuted in San Francisco.

Predeceased by her wife Susan Levinkind and parents Rachel and Harvey Nachman, Dykewomon (née Nachman) leaves behind friends and chosen family Dolphin Waletzky, Eva Schocken, and Rhea Shapiro, among others; brothers Dan and David Nachman; sisters-in-law Jan Hoffman and Amy Schulman; nieces, nephews, and many cousins; her beloved dog; and a strong community of readers.

A Zoom memorial will be hosted by on Sunday, September 18. For donations in her memory, please consult