There are few writers in the world to equal the breadth of Nadine Gordimer. The valiant fighter against apartheid and against the oppression of women and gays in South Africa died July 13 in Johannesburg, South Africa, her family announced. She was 90. (more…)
She wrote the book all lesbians wanted to have as teenagers. She wrote the books kids of lesbian and gay parents needed to read. She was an icon and a treasure and every other over-used cliché about writers who are larger than life–except of course in her case it was all true. (more…)
Every year at the Lambda Literary Awards, we pay tribute to members of the LGBT literary community who have died since the last ceremony.
The “In Memoriam” video tribute from this year’s ceremony is presented in its entirety below.
Maya Angelou, poet, memoirist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, Calypso singer and dancer in gay clubs in 1950s San Francisco, part of a dance duo with Alvin Ailey, colleague and civil rights worker with both Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., best friend to James Baldwin, first black Inaugural poet, friend and supporter of lesbians and gay men before it was trendy or popular and when it most mattered–that Maya Angelou died Wednesday morning, May 28 at her home in Winston-Salem, NC. She was 86. (more…)
“In reality the duty of the writer–the revolutionary duty if you will–is that of writing well.” So said Colombian novelist, screenwriter and journalist Gabriel “Gabo” García Márquez, who died April 17 at his home in Mexico City. He was 87. Considered to be the father of magical realism, García Márquez’s work was as readable as it was critically acclaimed. He was roundly considered to be the most important Spanish-speaking writer since Cervantes. News of his death brought immediate Twitter responses from heads of state, other writers and celebrities, as well as his millions of readers. (more…)
The love of poetry comes early. We learn language most readily in the sing-song meter of rhyme and scan. Poetry sings to us, our child selves, and we suck it in, unknowingly ravenous, like it’s a sweet we’ve suddenly been allowed when we’ve been deprived before. Our young brains embrace the order of synchronous sound, of vowels that widen our mouths, of diphthongs that roll across our tongues, of consonants that erupt from the backs of our throats. We intuit our own newly born etymologies. (more…)
University of Minnesota Press is reporting that José Esteban Muñoz, an author and academic in the fields of queer theory and cultural studies, has died. Muñoz died on Wednesday, December 4th in New York City. He was 46 years old. Cause of death has yet to be released.
Muñoz was a professor and former Chair of the Department of Performance Studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, as well as the author and editor of several books that grappled with issues of race, gender, and sexuality including Cruising Utopia: The Politics and Performance of Queer Futurity and Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics.
The New York Times wrote a sharp, seething, unpleasant four-page screed of an obituary about her that was both shocking and unsurprising. The piece reminded me of how much Lessing was loathed by many because her ideas were so strong, her vision so demanding, the inability to pigeonhole her maddening and misogyny still so rampant. Those of us who loved her work were often taken to task for it–much as the Nobel Committee itself was for choosing her in 2007. (The gay literary critic, Harold Bloom, said of her winning, “Although Ms. Lessing at the beginning of her writing career had a few admirable qualities, I find her work for the past 15 years quite unreadable–fourth-rate science fiction.”) (more…)
John Mitzel, owner of one of the country’s last LGBT bookstores, Boston’s Calamus Bookstore, has died. Mitzel died at home in Arlington, MA during the early morning of October 4th from complications resulting from an earlier cancer treatment. (more…)