Literature has served as a touchstone for queer people through the ages—from the 19th and 20th century works of authors like Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Stein to the present day stories of Dorothy Allison and Michael Cunningham—but the written word is not the only art form that has impacted the LGBT community. Over the past several decades, film has introduced us to a variety of queer characters with stories just as powerful as those written in a book. Great stories, no matter what form they take, have the capability to lift us from dangerous places, to show us that we are never alone, to remind us that there are other people in the world who share our experiences, whether they are painful and frightening or uplifting and inspirational. But stories, at their best, also remind us that there are people in the world who are different than ourselves, people with different beliefs, backgrounds, genders, sexualities, ambitions, desires, and even fears.
“I learn things when people write intelligently about my books. That’s what you want as a writer, you want to be taken seriously and you want to be read intelligently. You can learn from an intelligent review—not necessarily a ‘positive’ review.”
Waiting for the Barbarians , the latest collection of essays by Daniel Mendelsohn, covers a broad swatch of the writer’s critical territory. Having established both his contemporary voice and classical eye over the past twenty years, Mendelsohn presents many of his recent thoughtful and brow-raising critiques in this single volume published by The New York Review Books—dissecting the nostalgia that vaulted Mad Men into the sphere of cultural phenomenon, chronicling the hubris that felled Julie Taymor’s tenure at the helm of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, and sectioning these selections under the headings “Spectacles, ” “Classica,” “Creative Writing, ” and “Private Lives.” (more…)
What does it even mean, the “best” LGBTQ book(s)? Between vast discrepancies in taste, the convoluted process of publishing and marketing, and the vast amount of great LGBTQ books released this year picking a “Best of 2011” can be a tricky business. So to avoid such difficulties ourselves (yes, we are taking the easy way out this year!) we passed the buck onto several writers we know and love. Much gratitude to them for taking a crack at this.
And so, without further ado, here is a fairly inclusive list of great LGBTQ books from some of our favorite authors:
“I tend to write about people, who like myself to some degree, are loners by temperament, or live in their own sort of imaginative world. I think I tended to do that a fair bit actually. That has more interest to me than writing a happy love story…”
The five novels Alan Hollinghurst has published since 1989, which all explore some aspect of British gay life, have drawn in American readers with their lyrical approach to the subject. Carefully constructed from start to finish, his books reflect a writer who composes what he observes with an architect’s precision; echoes of an early desire to be an architect. (more…)
For me, and for many fans of literary fiction, particularly the gay ones, a new Alan Hollinghurst novel is an event. From 1988, when his first book The Swimming Pool Library was published to great acclaim, to 2004 when he won the Booker Prize for The Line of Beauty, Hollinghurst became known as one of Britain’s great novelists and arguably the greatest gay novelist writing in English today. (more…)
We’ve all had to deal with the nonsense of being seen singularly as one who acts on behalf of a minority group. To much of the mainstream, we are “gay” writers— with emphasis on the gay. British novelist Alan Hollinghurst addresses that issue head-on (more…)
The Man Booker Prize 2011 Longlist has been announced!
This year there are thirteen books nominated for the United Kingdom’s most prestigious literary prize. (more…)
The 23rd Annual Triangle Awards were presented at the Tishman Auditorium of the New School last week. The awards are meant to honor excellence in gay and lesbian fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Alan Hollinghurst, known for his Man Booker Award-winning novel, The Line of Beauty, proudly received the 2011 Publishing Triangle’s Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement. For a complete list of award winners, please visit Windy City Media.
Proud on the Page: Author Lesléa Newman says our Lives are Worth Celebrating: There’s nothing groundbreaking about a pint-sized boy serving as a ring bearer at a wedding in a colorful children’s book…that is, until he delivers the rings to his two moms in the end. Author of controversial children’s book, Heather Has Two Mommies, Lesléa Newman’s latest work titled Donovan’s Big Day was released late last month. Newman chats about her new release, the importance of gay marriage, and why all families deserve recognition. [PrideSource]
Jennifer Carr Tells Kids to ‘Be Who You Are’: It is difficult for Jennifer Carr to find a children’s book that incorporates the experiences of all the members in her family. Carr is the mother of a transgender 7-year-old girl, and when she couldn’t find a storybook about a family with a transgender child, she decided to write one herself. Published last year, the illustrated book is titled Be Who You Are and follows the story about a male child named Nick who transitions into girlhood. To read more about the Carr family, visit Windy City Media.
A Crop of New Books Explores Homosexuality and the Church: Gay Christians are seeking to combat common fundamentalist beliefs on homosexuality by releasing affirming books exploring scripture and biblical authority anew. Patrick S. Cheng’s Radical Love: An Introduction to Queer Theology (Church Publishing/Seabury) and Carter Heyward’s Keep Your Courage: A Radical Christian Feminist Speaks (Church Publishing/Seabury) are only two of the recently released books that challenge heterosexist church views. For a full list of recent releases in this area, see Publishers Weekly.
Notes from the LGBT literary & publishing community
Acclaimed British novelist Alan Hollinghurst is the recipient of the Publishing Triangle’s Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award for 2011. Gay & Lesbian Review received the Leadership Award and a Special Award went to the anthology Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation (Seal Press).
More awards honoring the best lesbian and gay fiction, nonfiction and poetry published last year will be announced at the 23rd Annual Triangle Awards on April 28 in NYC. to see all the finalists and here (www.publishingtriangle.org) for details on the awards ceremony, which is free and open to the public. [Source]