Christmas for meâ€”and Iâ€™ll go out on a limb and venture that Iâ€™m alone on this oneâ€”means James Purdy. As the author of some of the most inventive and distinctive and surreal fiction anyone has ever written, he stands alone among gay novelists, even if he didnâ€™t self-identify as such. At the time of his death at age ninety-four in 2009, I was his editor. Working together over four books (one new, three reissues) I developed a special fondness for him unlike any Iâ€™ve felt for another writer. So much so that on a few Christmas Eves I made the trek from my apartment on the Upper West Side out to his place in Brooklyn Heights to bring him groceries and say hello. Purdy had no family as far as I could tell and he lived alone, basically cooped up in his one-room apartment. He seldom left home, even if he ran out of food, which is why groceries were appreciated. I would sit with James, listening to his stories from fifty years of writing, until his devoted friend and all-around literary champion, John Uecker, would arrive to spend Christmas with him. (more…)
Various media outlets from around the world have been offering poignantÂ commemorations of NelsonÂ Mandela, the recently deceased civil rights figure “whoÂ led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as that country’s first black president” and who was also aÂ stalwart champion for lgbt rights.
One beautifully rendered remembrance comes to us from writer AyanaÂ Mathis, posted this weekÂ in New Yorker‘s “Page-Turner” blog:
It is unlikely, as I sit here at my desk, a mug of tea steaming, the radio playing softly, that I truly understand freedom, having always had it. Nor have I any real notion of confinement, never having been subject to it. And do I understandâ€”do we understandâ€”courage? What about conviction? What about greatness? Mandela left the world better than he found it not just because of what he did but because of what he wanted us to do. â€śYour freedom and mine cannot be separated,â€ť he once said. His legacy is a reverberating call to action[...]
Read the complete post here.
Image byÂ Kadir Nelson via The New Yorker
‘Fun Home’ Gets a Cast Recording, the Norman Rockwell Biography Controversy, and Other LGBT Literary News
In the News
The Lambda Literary Foundation’s 25th Anniversary collection E-Book is now on sale and makes a great holiday gift!
University of Minnesota Press is reporting thatÂ JosĂ© Esteban MuĂ±oz, an author and academic in the fields of queer theory and cultural studies, has died. MuĂ±oz died on Wednesday, December 4th in New York City. He was 46 years old.Â Cause of death has yet to be released.
MuĂ±oz was a professor and former Chair of the Department of Performance Studies atÂ New York University’sÂ Tisch School of the Arts,Â as well as the author and editor of several books that grappled with issues of race, gender, and sexuality includingÂ Cruising Utopia: The Politics and Performance of Queer FuturityÂ andÂ Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics.
This boom in self-publishing (according to Bowkerâ€™s latest figures, 391,000 books were self-published in 2012, a 59 percent jump from 2011) has launched a revolution in readingâ€”and writing. The questions that arise when talking about self-publishing are about quality. Of course, for some titles, the â€śqualityâ€ť is that of a first draft. But so what? Many writers have stopped talking about writing a book and now have actually written one. Thereâ€™s tremendous value in sitting with a topic long enough to write an entire book about it, even if that value is to the writer alone. And with self-publishing, there can always be a second, fifth, or 23rd draft. (more…)
December is upon us and so are a slew of new and noteworthy LGBT books.
World AIDS Day, held on December 1st of each year, Â is “an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died.” (more…)
Whatâ€™s wrong with a Turducken? Why am I so worked up? No reason. Iâ€™ve always wanted to be murdered and stuffed with two other birds. Itâ€™s the American dream. And to cap it off with a name like â€śTurducken,â€ť you guys thought of everything. Hey, Iâ€™ve got an idea! How about next year we stuff you inside a silverback gorilla and jam a rhesus monkey down your throat? Weâ€™ll call it a â€śGormankey.â€ť Whatever, Iâ€™ll workshop it. Youâ€™re the ones who named everything anyway.
….And happy Thanksgiving from all the jive turkeys here atÂ Lambda Literary.