In November 1980, New York’s SoHo Weekly News tagged a cover story Fag Lit’s New Royalty, referring to Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, and Edmund White, alive today, and Christopher Cox, Michael Grumley, Robert Ferro, and George Whitmore, who have died. Since the publication of that story, which was subtitled A Moveable Brunch – A Fag Lit Mafia, they have brought out the best in admirers and the worst in detractors. (more…)
“I was forty-eight years old, Lady Death had just kissed the back of my hand, and I wanted to make peace with my daughter, with whom I hadn’t spoken for nearly sixteen years.”
For the past 25 years the Lambda Literary Foundation has been able to continue celebrating, preserving and promoting the visibility of LGBT writers thanks to the support of community members like you, and today we are asking for your help in this effort by making a tax-deductible donation.
To show our gratitude, all donors of $150 dollars or more will receive a prereleased version of the foundation’s 25th anniversary anthology, 25 for 25, an E-book featuring some of the community’s leading LGBT authors, including: Dorothy Allison, Ellen Bass, Alison Bechdel, Ivan E. Coyote, Jewelle Gomez, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Alex Sanchez, Sarah Schulman, Justin Torres, David Trinidad, Edmund White and many others. (more…)
“[...]me and Chris were instantly back in love once we got drunk, and were out in a hallway, kissing each other, and saying: what about Judy. So the three of us were in their big bed—I just happily climbed right on top of Judy. Christine didn’t like that—I wasn’t supposed to get so into it.”
For the past 25 years the Lambda Literary Foundation has been able to continue celebrating, preserving and promoting the visibility of LGBT writers thanks to the support of community members like you, and today we are asking for your help in this effort by making a tax-deductible donation. (more…)
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The Lambda Literary Review is the world’s most comprehensive online literary magazine covering lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books and authors. Published by the Lambda Literary Foundation, LLR receives over 50,000 new and returning visitors each month, connecting a brilliantly diverse community of readers, writers, agents, booksellers, editors, educators, distributors, librarians, bloggers, and more, by offering weekly book reviews, author interviews, insightful commentary on current happenings in the LGBT literary scene, and pertinent op-ed entries on an endless variety of current issues pressing our community.
“I think debates over what makes a book great are largely among writers and people who teach literature. The rest of us I don’t think really care. I’d say we’re more interested in whether we connect with a book…”
A renowned stalwart in the publishing industry, Don Weise has over two decades worth of publishing experience, most of which has been dedicated to publishing LGBT literature. He’s served as Publisher of Alyson Books and was the Senior Editor at Carroll & Graf Publishers. Wiese also sits on the board of the Lambda Literary Foundation. In 2010, Wiese started his own LGBT publishing house, Magnus Books. Since its inception, Magnus has published books by an assortment of iconic authors, such as Samuel Delany, Urvashi Vaid, Keith Boykin, and Edmund White.
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…)
PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature Dispatch: Three Encounters with Michael Cunningham
Michael Cunningham didn’t take the stage right away at the Museum of Modern Art. This event, billed as a celebration of Diane Arbus, started with a talk by Arbus herself (originally recorded in the 1970s), and a slide-show of her work as well as archival clippings, snapshots and ephemera from her collection. She discussed her focus on marginal communities, including transvestite prostitutes, nudist colonies, and circus sideshows. “I always thought of photography as a naughty thing to do,” Arbus said. “That was one of my favorite things about it, and when I first did it, I felt very perverse.” Her intention, she explained, wasn’t for the viewer to gawk at these people, but rather to enter their lives.
When Cunningham took the stage with fellow novelist Francine Prose, and Arbus’ daughter, Doon Arbus, the panelists read from Diane Arbus: A Chronology, a compilation of her writings, journals and letters. Cunningham chose a selection in which Arbus interpreted her own photograph, a portrait of a suburban family, the mother and father in cushioned lawn chairs, soaking up the sun, the father covering his eyes with his hand, and their son, in the background, bent over a kiddie pool in the lawn, seemingly ignored.
“All families are creepy in a way,” he read, connecting the photograph to his own writing: “We’re all trying to penetrate and respect the mystery of imaginary people.”
For a while, Michael Cunningham was, to me, imaginary. I had read The Hours and his story, “White Angel,” but Cunningham, as a person, was nebulous, a name on a book, a byline, an author photograph on the flap jacket. When he came to Houston, where I was studying, to give a reading, I was worried: what happens when the imaginary person in my head meets the real thing? Do they cancel each other out, like doppelgangers? Do they wrestle for supremacy?
I needn’t have worried, of course: the mental Michael was easily supplanted by Cunningham qua Cunningham. At the reading, he spoke in a deep, sonorous voice, and afterwards he was affable, even signing a copy of his first, disavowed novel, Golden States. I wondered: why do we think we can know who an author is by reading his work? There’s always—perhaps necessarily—a separation between the author and his work, in the same way that the camera intermediates between the photographer and the photograph.
I got my picture taken with Cunningham. We stood side-by-side, and my hand is pressed against his chest, as if to ensure he’s real. Though to someone else looking at the photograph, it may seem as if I’m being naughty.
At his second PEN World Voices Festival event, Cunningham was on-stage with Deborah Eisenberg, Edmund White, and Austrian novelist Daniel Kehlmann to discuss Gregor von Rezzori’s ‘Bukovina Trilogy’: the novels Memoirs of an Anti-Semite, An Ermine in Czernopol, and the memoir, The Snows of Yesteryear. After each panelist read a selection from von Rezzori’s work, they expanded upon why they had chosen that passage.
“Reading for relevance,” Eisenberg said, “is a crummy way to read. What these books do is examine what prejudice and xenophobia are, and how they’re cultivated. They’re anatomies of the psyche, and they point out what we should be scrutinizing in ourselves.”
For Cunningham, that scrutiny went further: “I discovered,” he said, “that Cunningham is an invented name.” His grandfather, upon immigrating to the United States from Croatia, changed the family name from Grig to Cunningham. And it was only after reading von Rezzori that Cunningham decided to search for his roots.
After the talk, Cunningham didn’t sit at the signing table with the other authors. Instead, he snuck into the May sunshine for a cigarette. I caught up with him there, outside the Museum of Jewish Heritage, smiling and laughing with two young women. Former students, I assumed. Maybe current ones. I brought out some books for him to sign, and he did so, as gracious as ever.
“I should be inside with the others,” he said, taking a drag. “But I’m being naughty.” And as Arbus pointed out, maybe that was one of his favorite things about it.
More than 70 years after Federico García Lorca was assassinated during the Spanish civil war, evidence of an affair with then 19-year-old Juan Ramírez de Lucas has sufaced. A young art critic, Ramírez de Lucas died in 2010. His sister received his box of mementos, which contained a never before seen poem and a diary. [Guardian] (more…)
WHAT: LITTER: a queer reading series launches with readings by Edmund White and Eileen Myles. Mr. White will read from Jack Holmes and His Friend: A Novel (Bloomsbury, January 2012). Ms. Myles will read from her new poetry collection, Snowflake/Different Streets (Wave Books, April 2012). (more…)