A Fresh Perspective on the Genre Fiction Debate, ‘James Baldwin and the Queer Imagination,’ and More LGBT News

Posted on 19. Nov, 2014 by in Features, News

This week in the LGBT-themed arts:

Jaswinder Bolina writes an essay for the Poetry Foundation on the vulnerability of MFA candidates to classist isolation, and the fallacies of believing that poetry is less relevant today.

Slate chronicles the brief but influential (and possibly romantic) relationship between the two most crucial English gay poets of World War I: Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.

On December 2, the New York Public Library is hosting a talk with Ayana Mathis and Matt Brim about the latter’s forthcoming book James Baldwin and the Queer Imagination.

Joshua Rothman offers a fresh perspective on the current conflation of literary fiction and genre fiction, using Emily St. John Mandel’s novel Station Eleven as his jumping-off point.

The Cut interviews avant-garde fashion designer Jeremy Scott about coming of age, controversies, celebrities and his new book, which has a cover that uniquely employs the Droste effect.

Slate has posted an exclusive excerpt from Philip Gefter’s new biography on Sam Wagstaff, the foremost patron and boyfriend of groundbreaking late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

There is also an excerpt, on Vulture, from gay director Justin Simien’s companion book to his film Dear White People, about how reality television perpetrates stereotypes.

The Poetry Foundation also discusses this year’s Miami Book Fair International–which will also feature a commemoration of James Baldwin–with co-organizer Adam Fitzgerald.

The Hollywood Reporter covers the recent reunion–in Orange County, California–of Stephen Sondheim and the original cast of Into the Woods, which debuted in San Diego in 1987.

This past week saw this year’s annual Bent-Con, an LGBT-flavored science fiction and comic book convention in Los Angeles. Here’s a photo essay of the event.

Dan Schulman and Dana Goldstein reveal the process that their books went through from original conception, through development, to the bestseller list.

Joan Allen, William H. Macy, and Brie Larson are among the actors set to star in a Lenny Abrahamson-directed adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel Room.

Dave Holmes, TV personality and  columnist for Vulture, is at work on his first book, an autobiographical comedy tentatively titled Party of One.

– See more at: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/features/11/19/a-fresh-perspective-on-the-genre-fiction-debate-james-baldwin-and-the-queer-imagination-and-more-lgbt-news/?utm_source=Lambda+Literary+Review+November+14th%2C+2014&utm_campaign=Newsletters&utm_medium=email#sthash.DsOFJnGf.dpuf

The Year's 10 Best Transgender Non-Fiction Books

Today we have added to our Booklists page a new listing of the 10 Best Transgender Non-Fiction Books as presented by The Advocate – to look at the list then click HERE


I Am Jazz: Teen Trans Advocate is published author

I am Jazz

By Ilyse Kramer

Thirteen-year-old Jazz-Jennings is a prolific trans advocate, recognized as the youngest person on The Advocate’s “40 under 40.” She has co-founded TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, which is committed to supporting and advocating for Trans children in their communities, shared her story on 20/20, 60 Minutes, the Oprah Winfrey Network, YouTube vlogs, and recently co-wrote an autobiographical picture book titled I Am Jazz.

In an interview with The Miami Herald, Jazz stated: “I wrote this book so we could help educate other transgender youth and families that it is OK to be different. It’s not just geared to LGBTQ people, but for everyone who is unique. And hopefully it can make a huge impact in letting everyone know that they have to accept each other because we’re all part of the same society.”


World Book Day

The Belfast Book Festival was  launched at Crescent Arts Centre in May of this year, with principal funders Arts Council Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council, and generous supporters Nicholson Bass and Belfast Calling, a programme of almost 90 events in one week was celebrated.


Speaking at the launch, Keith Acheson, Festival Director said: “This year’s Festival is the biggest and best yet, having grown to encompass almost 90 events over the course of the week.


Following this wonderful festival, I had the opportunity to meet with Keith last week on Friday in the Centre to discuss how we can incorporate relevant books and DVDs in forthcoming events.  I was able to advise on the booklists and DVDs that NIGRA has published on its website, (NIGRA Booklists)



Do LGBT people use NI Libraries? If so, what are your views?

NIGRA Secretary, Dave McFarlane has been corresponding with Sean Beattie from Libraries NI about the the LGBT community’s use of the Library service. Sean is keen to meet with members of Northern Ireland’s LGBT community to discuss:

  • How often people who identify as LGBT use the library service?
  • What you use the library service for?
  • What you would look for when using the library (internet access, LGBT section etc)?

Sean is keen to carry out a survey across the LGBT community in Northern Ireland along the same theme.

LibrariesNIAnyone interested in meeting Sean and working to improve the LGBT provision in NI libraries, please contact Dave McFarlane directly using the form below:

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Book Events at GAY'S THE WORD BOOKSHOP, London

Two major events on Gays The Word’s calendar are:

(i) ‘Declining Significance of Homophobia’ by Mark McCormack 26/04
(ii)’Goodbye to Soho’ by Clayton Littlewood 03/05
(i) The Declining Significance of Homophobia
(in British Schools)
Thursday April 26th 7pm – FREE
You are warmly invited to celebrate the publication of…
The Declining Significance of Homophobia: How Teenage Boys are Redefining Masculinity and Heterosexuality

Mark McCormacks new book: The Declining Significance of Homophobia: How Teenage Boys are Redefining Masculinity and Heterosexuality

The Declining Significance of Homophobia: How Teenage Boys are Redefining Masculinity and Heterosexuality

(published by Oxford University Press)
A book reading and discussion with author Mark McCormack
FREE – ALL WELCOME – Complimentary Refreshments – RSVP on Gay’s the Word’s Facebook Events Page https://www.facebook.com/events/401978959812946/ or just turn up! doors 6.55pm Venue: Gay’s the Word
Can’t make the reading but would like a signed copy of the book? Simply e-mail sales@gaystheword.co.uk putting ‘signed Significance in the subject-header. HB copies available at £29.99 (rrp £32.50)
The book:
Research has traditionally shown secondary schools to be hostile environments for LGBT youth. Boys have used homophobia to prove their masculinity and distance themselves from homosexuality. Despite these findings over the last three decades, The Declining Significance of Homophobia tells a different story.
Drawing on fieldwork and interviews of young men in three British schools, Dr. Mark McCormack shows how heterosexual male students are inclusive of their gay peers and proud of their pro-gay attitudes. He finds that being gay does not negatively affect a boy’s popularity, but being homophobic does.
Yet this accessible book goes beyond documenting this important shift in attitudes towards homosexuality: McCormack examines how decreased homophobia results in the expansion of gendered behaviors available to young men. In the schools he examines, boys are able to develop meaningful and loving friendships across many social groups. They replace toughness and aggression with emotional intimacy and displays of affection for their male friends. Free from the constant threat of social marginalization, boys are able to speak about once feminized activities without censure.
The Declining Significance of Homophobia is essential reading for all those interested in masculinities, education, and the decline of homophobia.

Mark McCormack says, ‘The erosion of homophobia in these sixth forms is not just great news for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students. Heterosexual students benefit as well. By casting off the homophobia of previous generations, young men can cuddle, hug and love without fear of reprisal’.

Praise for The Declining Significance of Homophobia, by Mark McCormack:
“Despite the remarkable changes in attitudes towards homosexuality in recent years, a continuing stream of homophobia has often been detected, especially among young men. This important book demonstrates vividly that this need not be the case… This is a heartening book that charts the profound and positive transformation now taking place in young people’s culture, and makes one optimistic for the future.”
– Jeffrey Weeks, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, London South Bank University, and author of The Languages of Sexuality (2011)


Clayton Littlewood in Gays The Word Bookshop with his new book 'Goodbye to Soho'

Goodbye to Soho by Clayton LIttlewood

(ii) ‘Goodbye to Soho’ by Clayton Littlewood

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 7pm FREE – doors 6.55pm

Venue: Gay’s the Word

Celebrating the publication of ‘Goodbye to Soho’; the follow-up to Clayton Littlewood’s hugely successful and excellent book, ‘Dirty White Boy’.

Dirty White Boy is back with more tales from the unforgettable cast of Soho characters

Business in London’s Soho is not going well and the designer menswear shop that Clayton Littlewood runs with his partner, Jorge Betancourt, is under threat.

Following on from his award-winning diary Dirty White Boy: Tales of Soho, Clayton Littlewood is back, watching the hookers, the gangsters, the rent boys and following the same strange characters who make up this strangest of villages.

Will eccentric artist Raqib Shaw continue on his path to artistic immortality? Can Sue and Maggie, the Soho madams, keep the law at bay? Will ageing queens Leslie and Charlie reignite their long-lost love? What will become of Chico, the imprisoned ex–Diana Ross impersonator? And what of the Prince of Soho himself, Sebastian Horsley? Will America welcome him to its shores? Goodbye to Soho is a snapshot of modern London— a Samuel Pepys diary for the Soho subculture.

RSVP Gay’s the Word Facebook Events page https://www.facebook.com/events/203745913069612/ (or just show up) – Refreshments available – All welcome –

please note this will be a mainly non-seated event.  If you require a seat for this reading please just let us know on the day! – doors 6.55pm

Venue: Gay’s the Word

Can’t make the reading but would like a signed copy of the book? Simply e-mail sales@gaystheword.co.uk putting ‘signed Soho’ in the subject-header; paperback £10.99 (£16.99 HB also available)

Advanced Reviews:

‘Clayton has been seduced by Soho’s sleazy magic and through him so are we.‘ — Marc Almond

‘As scurrilous and entertaining as ever.’ —Rupert Smith (Man’s World)

‘Like Isherwood’s Berlin, Littlewood’s Soho co
mes to life right off the page.’ —Jonathan Kemp (London Triptych)

‘Downright Dickensian…not simply a good writer but a great writer.’ —Polari Magazine

‘That dirty old whore Soho has no better pimp than Clayton Littlewood.’ —Tim Fountain (Resident Alien)

“Beautifully composed vignettes…observed by a ravenous, compassionate, amused voyeur of the first rank.” —Nicholas de Jongh (Plague Over England)

‘While the wider world may view them with fear or disdain, Clayton captures the beggar’s humanity and the hooker’s humour with warmth that can bring a lump to the throat or leave one roaring with laughter. It might sound strange to be comforted by the daily trials of prostitutes, trannies, prisoners and street sweepers, but that’s what Clayton does – brilliantly.’ (Stewart Who? Twisted)

Author Biog:

Gay’s the Word bookshop regular, Clayton Littlewood ran the Soho designer menswear store Dirty White Boy with his partner, Jorge Betancourt. His first book, Dirty White Boy: Tales of Soho (a Gay’s the Word bookshop recommended read), based on his diaries kept whilst at the shop and wrote the “Soho Stories” column for The London Paper, contributing regularly to BBC Radio London. In 2009 Clayton turned the book into a play which staged at the Trafalgar Studios in London’s West End alongside actor David Benson and singer Maggie K de Monde. The play returned for an extended run in 2010.


Future Readings:


Devil’s Wall: The Nationalist Youth Mission of Heinz Rutha

with author Mark Cornwall

working date: Thursday 24th May (date TBC)



 ‘All the Beauty of the Sun’

with novelist Marion Husband

(author of ‘The Boy I Love’)

Thursday 7th June 7pm




Lost Gay Classics Event

‘In the Making’ by G.F. Green

& ‘Vainglory: with Inclinations and Caprice’ by Ronald Firbank

an event with Richard Canning and Peter Parker

Friday 22nd June 7pm


Gay’s The Word Bookshop
66  Marchmont Street                    Opening Hours:
London                                          Mon-Sat 10am-6.30pm
WC1N 1AB                                    Sun 2pm-6pm
Tel: 0207 278 7654
www.gaystheword.co.uk         Join us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/gaystheword
sales@gaystheword.co.uk      Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gaystheword
‘Truly a fine example of how an independent bookshop should be’ – Time Out

Noncyp Ltd t/a Gay’s the Word
Reg No: 1315476
Reg Office: 22 Bedford Row London WC1R 4JS