Sunday, April 10, 2005

February 2005 Publishing Notes

The buzz: Bloomsbury will publish a new novel by David Leavitt, The Indian Clerk, based on true story about a prominent English mathematician and a poor, uneducated Indian clerk who was a math genius. The two-book deal also includes a forthcoming memoir. DaCapo has acquired Allen Ginsberg: The Selected Letters and The Book of Martyrdom and Artifice: The Boyhood Journals of Allen Ginsberg, 1938-1951, edited by Bill Morgan, which includes material from the years the poet met Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, and William S. Burroughs; both books are scheduled for publication in Spring 2006. Simon & Schuster will publish Alex Sanchez’s new novel, Getting It, about a straight boy who, with the help of his ostracized gay classmate, figures out that growing up is about much more than getting "it." Author Lawrence Schimel has sold German rights to his collection of short stories, Two Boys, to publisher Mattei Medien. Dick Cheney’s daughter, Mary, is shopping around a book proposal about her days on the campaign trail titled Travels with My Father. New York magazine reported that presidential daughter Patti Davis’s next book will be "a novel about straight women who have a lesbian affair." Here cable channel will launch a series this summer titled Third Man Out, based on the books by Richard Stevenson which center on a gay detective, to be played by Chad Allen. Stephen Fry has joined the cast of the film adaptation of Douglas Adams’s cult novel The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy as the voice of the Guide, the electronic book that guides character Arthur Dent on his galactic travels. Scott Rudin will produce the screen version of Michael Cunningham’s newest novel, Specimen Days. Like The Hours, Specimen Days links three stories with the character of a writer, in this case poet Walt Whitman. Bill Condon, who won an Oscar for his screenplay of Gods and Monsters, will direct the film adaptation of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Among the new productions headed for Broadway this year are two Tennessee Williams revivals (The Glass Menagerie starring Jessica Lange and A Streetcar Named Desire starring Natasha Richardson), a revival of Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin, a new production of Steel Magnolias with Marsha Mason and Delta Burke, and a new musical titled The Light in the Piazza, based on the novella by Elizabeth Spencer with a score by Adam Guettel and a book by playwright Craig Lucas.

Kudos: The Quills Literary Foundation has formed the Quills Awards, a slate of 19 book awards, most of which will be voted on the general public. Reed Business Information, the parent company of Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Variety, along with 14 local stations owned by NBC Universal Television, are backing the awards. Nominations for the awards will be made beginning in May by a panel of booksellers, librarians, and other publishing professionals. The televised ceremony will air in October. The winners of the 2005 Stonewall Book Awards, awarded by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association (ALA), are The Master by Colm Tóibín (winner of the Barbara Gittings Book Award in Literature) and Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and in People by Joan Roughgarden (winner of the Israel Fishman Book Award for Nonfiction). Runners-up in fiction were I Am My Own Wife: A Play by Doug Wright, The Line of Beauty by Allan Hollinghurst , Luna by Julie Anne Peters, and The Seahorse Year by Stacy D’Erasmo. Runners-up in nonfiction were Beyond Shame: Reclaiming the Abandoned History of Radical Gay Sexuality by Patrick Moore, Both: A Portrait in Two Parts by Douglas Crase, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris, and Warrior Poet: a Biography of Audre Lorde by Alexis DeVeaux. Among the nominees for the National Book Critics Circle Awards are The Line of Beauty by Allan Hollinghurst (Fiction), The School Among the Ruins by Adrienne Rich (Poetry), Paper Trail: Selected Prose 1965-2003 by Richard Howard (Criticism), Strangers: Homosexual Love in the 19th Century by Graham Robb (Criticism), and Sontag & Kael: Opposites Attract Me by James Wood. (Criticism). Among the recent 2004 GLAAD nominees were screen adaptations of the books A Home at the End of the World (film) and The Blackwater Lightship (TV movie). While GLAAD ignores the GLBT book biz, they do honor both theater and comic books. Among the nominated plays are: Last Summer at Bluefish Cove, Take Me Out, La Cage Aux Folles, and The Normal Heart. Nominated comics are: Ex Machina (Wildstorm/DC Comics), Hard Time (DC Comics), Luba (Fantagraphics Books), My Faith in Frankie (Vertigo/DC Comics), and Strangers in Paradise (Abstract Studio). Trebor Healey’s debut novel, Through it Came Bright Colors, is the winner of the 2004 Violet Quill Award from InsightOut Book Club. In an effort to honor and promote outstanding new lesbian literature, the Publishing Triangle asked fourteen lesbian book reviewers, booksellers, librarians, and/or authors to name the Top 10 most notable lesbian-themed books by lesbian or bisexual authors published in 2004. They are: A Seahorse Year by Stacey D'Erasmo; Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde by Alexis De Veaux; Life Mask by Emma Donoghue; Hancock Park by Katherine V. Forrest (Berkeley Publishing); Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver; Luna by Julie Anne Peters (Little, Brown); Name All the Animals: A Memoir by Alison Smith (Scribner); Venus of Chalk by Susan Stinson; Rent Girl by Michelle Tea, illustrated by Laurenn McCubbin; and Alice Walker: A Life by Evelyn C. White.

Anti-gay Agenda Continues: Conservative Christian activist groups have issued a gay alert over the appearance of the animated character SpongeBob SquarePants’s inclusion in an all-star cartoon video titled We Are Family. SpongeBob sometimes holds hands with his starfish pal, Patrick. Buster Baxter, the cartoon rabbit star of PBS TV’s Postcards From Buster, has also landed in hot water. He never should’ve gone to Vermont, a state which recognizes same-sex civil unions, where he visited a lesbian couple. In Arkansas, a proposed bill filed by Rep. Roy Ragland (R-Marshall) would force the state’s school districts to purchase only textbooks which define marriage as between one man and one woman. Ragland said the legislation was aimed at bringing school books in line with the state Constitution which bans same-sex marriage.

In the Dark: The historic lighthouse, which inspired Virginia Woolf’s novel To the Lighthouse, could be shut down according to a report in The Scotsman. The newspaper reported that Trinity House, the U.K. lighthouse authority, has proposed putting the lighthouse on Godrevy Island out of service in 2010. The octagonal white tower has been in operation since 1859 and was automated in 1939.

Passages: Architect Philip Johnson died January 25, 2005 at the age of 98 at his home in New Canaan, Connecticut. He was the author and subject of numerous books, including The Architecture of Philip Johnson, Philip Johnson: The Architect in His Own Words, The Houses of Philip Johnson, and Philip Johnson: Life and Work.

Lisa Stocker, the 50-year-old lesbian novelist who wrote P-Town Summer, was struck and killed by a van near her home in Queens, New York, on January 11, 2005. The incident took place just minutes after she stepped off an express bus and the driver, who told investigators he didn't see her amid the freezing rain, was not charged. P-Town Summer, published in 2003, was Stocker's first book, a fictional story about four lesbians set in Provincetown. Stocker is survived by her sister, two nieces, her partner of almost 25 years, JoAnn Ambrosino, and their children, Ann Marie Ambrosino, Michael Ambrosino, and JoAnn Papadopoulos.

Author, poet, critic, and artist Guy Davenport died at the age of 77 on January 4, 2005 in Kentucky. A Distinguished Alumni Professor of English in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, Davenport received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1990. Davenport quit high school in Anderson, S.C., in 1944 to study art at Duke University in Durham, N.C. He majored in classics and English and was selected as a Rhodes Scholar in 1948. As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, he was a member of Merton College, where he wrote the first thesis on James Joyce to be accepted by that university. He received a literature degree in 1950 and returned to the United States. In 1974, Scribner’s published his first collection of short stories titled Tatlin! A second collection of short stories, DaVinci’s Bicycle, was published in 1979. Ecologues appeared in 1981 as well as a collection of 40 essays, Geography of the Imagination. Other publications include: Thasos and Ohio, a volume of poems, in 1986; The Jules Verne Steam Balloon short story collection in 1987; A Table of Green Fields in 1993; The Cardiff Team in 1996; and A Balance of Quinces, an edition of his paintings and drawings. In 1997 he published The Hunter Gracchus, a collection of essays on literature and art, and in 1998 Objects on a Table, an aesthetic meditation on the representation of objects in literature and still-life painting, was published. Davenport’s other awards included a 1992 honorary doctorate from the University of Kentucky, the O. Henry Award for short stories, the 1981 Morton Douwen Zabel award for fiction from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, translation awards from PEN and the Academy of American Poets, and the Leviton-Blumenthal Prize for poetry. In 1998, he was elected a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Mass.