Christopher Rice: On His New Novel ‘The Vines,’ the Gay Appeal of the Horror Genre, and Writing Supernatural Thrillers
To characterize Christopher Rice as a writer who knows his way around thrills and chills would be an understatement.
At 22, he hit the ground running with A Density of Souls–now largely regarded as a gay, gothic classic–amidst a cavalcade of media interest, much of which was focused on his literary pedigree that includes mother Anne Rice, the bestselling grande dame of the supernatural, and the late Stan Rice, a celebrated poet. Critics who were quick to dismiss young Rice’s out-of-the-box success as a byproduct of that famous lineage, however, were soon eating their own words with the continued and sustained success of a series of bestselling and award-winning thrillers, including The Snow Garden, Light Before Day, Blind Fall, and The Moonlit Earth.
In celebration of the one-year anniversary of the release of each of their first books of poetry, Boys Have Been… and Purpose and Devil Piss, poets Christopher Gaskins and Robert Siek have a discussion about their collections, focusing on the themes and styles in their work. (more…)
This month, Vintage Entity Press is releasing the long-awaited collection Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call, an anthology examining the legacy of author and editor Joseph Beam. To celebrate the collection’s launch, Lambda Literary is reposting a conversation between Black Gay Genius‘ editors Charles Stephens & Steven G. Fullwood, which ran on the Lambda site last year.
Our anthology Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call (Vintage Entity Press) was born out of a series of conversations, panel discussions, debates, and dinners with friends, colleagues and comrades over the years, assessing the impact and legacy of Joseph Beam and the writers of the In the Life generation. We wanted to bring that dazzling history of the black gay arts movement of the 1980s front and center to contemporary black gay life. Black Gay Genius consists of a series of writers, scholars, and activists responding to In the Life and the influence of Joseph Beam.
We wanted to create a text to celebrate with those that remember and know, and introduce to the ones that don’t, this important literary legacy. This dialogue was an opportunity for us, the editors of the anthology Black Gay Genius, to describe the process and development of Black Gay Genius.
Michael Denneny: On Working in Publishing During the 1970s, Starting ‘Christopher Street Magazine,’ and the Future of Gay Literature
“[...] 1978 was a banner year for gay writing; it really marked the dawn of the new gay literary movement that would swell into a torrent over the next fifteen or twenty years.”
When I started in publishing more than twenty years ago, answering phone calls at a customer service desk, the only gay man in the industry whose name I knew was the renowned editor Michael Denneny. This says as much about Michael as it does about me. I’d been hired for the position literally off the street when I walked in and asked if the company had any job openings for someone with no experience. Michael, on the other hand, had been operating his famed Stonewall Inn Editions imprint out of St. Martin’s for years and produced some of the best-known gay titles of the 1980s and the early ’90s, including books by Randy Shilts, Larry Kramer, Ethan Mordden, Larry Duplechan, Malcolm Boyd, Michael Nava, Paul Monette, and Quentin Crisp, among others. I can’t remember where I’d first heard about Michael or how I’d even come to know about an editor in New York when I was a publishing newcomer in California, but he was what you’d call today a brand: someone known almost more for who he was than the books he published. Put another way, he stood out. In case you’re wondering, this is not standard stuff in publishing circles. Most editors spend their career, however distinguished, unknown to the average person—sometimes even unknown to their fellow publishing colleagues. Michael was different and so were his books.
Brontez Purnell: On His New Book ‘The Cruising Diaries,’ Silencing the Critics, and the Joys of Writing About Sex
We have reached a strange moment in gay politics. There’s a strange commemoration and valorizing of the AIDS movement, vis-à-vis recent films like The Normal Heart and the documentary How to Survive a Plague. Whatever you think of these films individually, or the history they tell, part of the reason they managed to get so much attention and accolades is the spike in marriage equality. The excesses of gay male sexual culture is safely tucked away in history, for audiences who already think the riotous sex, and the deaths, have ended. In popular culture, all of the gay fucking happens not in glory holes and back rooms, but under the canopy of the nuptial bed. (more…)
“We see murder represented a lot in movies and pop culture and it can be quite glib. So I didn’t want to be glib; I wanted to be faithful to the moral mess, the emotional mess of it.”
Award-winning, bestselling author Sarah Waters has written six novels. Her newest, The Paying Guests (Riverhead Books), tells the story of Frances Wray, an upper middle class young woman living alone with her mother in post-WWI London. Her brothers have died in the War and her father has died as well, leaving them with a legacy of unsound investments and debt. In order to make ends meet, Frances and her mother take in lodgers—the eponymous guests: a young married couple, Lilian and Leonard. The entrance of this young couple has profound and unexpected consequences for all involved—and as Charlotte Mendelson says in her review of the novel for The Financial Times, “There is too much here to convey in brief, or without revealing the switchback twists that make all Waters’ novels dazzling. She can, it seems, do everything: the madness of love; the squalor of desire; the coexistence of devotion and annoyance; ‘the tangle of it all.’” (more…)
“I’ll name Baldwin as my influence till the cows come home–I have–but people will not talk about my work in those terms.”
Saeed Jones: On His New Poetry Collection ‘Prelude to Bruise,’ Art vs. Rhetoric, and Camp Aesthetics
Writer and editor Saeed Jones’ new collection of poems Prelude to Bruise (Coffee House Press) is a darkly visceral examination of the often riotous nature of identity, desire, family, and sex, and the ways in which these things shape and warp us. Beautiful, haunting and heartbreaking—Jones’s poems are an emotional punch to the gut. A lyrical shock to the system. (more…)
Australian author Christos Tsiolkas is perhaps best known in the U.S. for his novel The Slap, which chronicles life in a Melbourne suburb following an incident at a garden party in which a man slaps a child who is not his own (soon to be a television miniseries on NBC starring Zachary Quinto). Tsiolkas’ latest work, Barracuda (Hogarth), returns to the complicated world of class politics, family, nation and shifting cultural expectations to explore the rise and fall of a queer athlete from the wrong part of town. Danny Kelly’s struggle with failure and the shame that springs from it offers a brilliant glimpse into the adolescent psyche as well as illuminating the perennial calculus of fitting in. (more…)
Roxane Gay: On Messiness, Not Belonging, and What Being Queer Taught Her About Being a (Bad) Feminist
From covering pop culture, to writing beautifully crafted short stories Roxane Gay has long been a prolific online presence. Her work appears everywhere, including The Guardian, Twelve Stories, XO Jane, Salon, and The Rumpus (where she is also the essays editor). This year saw the release of her first novel, An Untamed State (Grove Atlantic, 2014) which garnered strong reviews. Holly Bass of The New York Times wrote, “In this fable, the princess and a wicked witch relate to each other as real women do, and ultimately rescue each other.” (more…)