Monday, July 04, 2005

July Publishing Notes

The buzz: In a recent interview with Leslie Robinson in Bay Windows, retired Colonel Grethe Cammermeyer (Serving in Silence) mentioned she is at work on a new book, tentatively titled Living in Ambiguity, tackling "how we challenge people to think outside their familiar biases." Associated Press reported that author Terry McMillan (How Stella Got Her Groove Back) has filed for divorce after learning her husband was gay and believing that he had married her only to get his U.S. citizenship. Pages magazine reported that author Michael Cunningham’s next project is a Universal Pictures screenplay for Julia Roberts, based on Lolly Winston’s novel Good Grief, about how a young woman copes after the death of her husband. Actor and author Rupert Everett will be the voice of the Fox in the upcoming big screen adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Author and actor Alan Cumming will join the Showtime series The L Word during its third season. Variety reported that the start date of the movie version of Hairspray has been delayed; the film’s producers are now wooing Rob Marshall (Chicago) as director. Eddie Murphy, Beyonce Knowles, and Jamie Foxx will star in the big screen version of Dreamgirls, directed by Bill Condon. Doug Wright, the Tony-winning playwright of I Am My Own Wife, is the librettist for the new musical Grey Gardens, adapted from the documentary about Edith and Edie Bouvier. The musical will premiere during Playwrights Horizon’s 2005-2006 season in Manhattan, along with Miss Witherspoon by Christopher Durang, Pen by David Marshall Grant, and Sarah Schulman’s Manic Flight Reaction. Jon Marans, a Pulitzer-prize-winning finalist for Old Wicked Songs, debuted a new play titled The Tempermentals about Mattachine founder Harry Hay at the recent Moral Values Festival in New York. Chamberlain Bros. will publish Saturday Night at the Baths by Steve Ostrow. Ostrow, the founder of the Continental Baths in the Ansonia Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, helped repeal New York’s laws against homosexuality and turned a gay bathhouse into one of the hot nightspots of the ‘70s that was instrumental in the careers of Bette Midler, Barry Manilow, and a host of others. Cleis Press co-publisher Felice Newman is now syndicating a biweekly lesbian sex column titled "Whole Lesbian Sex" available in both PG-13 and X-rated versions.

More buzz on Lambda: Eleanor Brown reported in the June issue of Press Pass Q that the James White Review was close to finding a new home. The quarterly gay men’s literary magazine, under the auspices of the Lambda Literary Foundation, recently suspended publication. The JWR began in the summer of 1984 and was taken over by LLF in 1998.

Kudos: Sugar Rush, Julie Burchill’s controversial about schoolgirls discovering lesbian love, was shortlisted for a for the British Booktrust Teenage Prize. Robert Taylor’s novel, Whose Eye Is on Which Sparrow? won the 2005 Independent Publishers Book Award for the best book of the year with a gay or lesbian theme, including both fiction and nonfiction.

Open calls: Project QueerLit #2 has begun, and is open to all first-time novelists with queer, bent, or outsider worldview content. Novel submissions will be accepted from September 1-December 31, 2005. Winners will be announced in December 31, 2006. Visit for more details. The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation grants for 2005 will be for Playwrighting. All works must present the gay and lesbian lifestyle in a positive manner and be based on, or directly inspired by, a historic person, culture, work of art, or event. All works (Drama or Comedy or Musical) submitted must be unpublished, original, and in English. Adaptations or translations of other works are not acceptable. Plays may be full-length, a long one-act, or an evening-long collection of related one-acts. All submissions must be postmarked by midnight November 30, 2005. All works selected by the judges will be announced in Spring 2006. Visit for more details.

Love, Uncovered: An unpublished love poem written 2,600 years ago by the Greek poet Sappho, the "10th muse," debuted in the Times Literary Supplement in June 2005. The poem was discovered in 2004. The 12-line poem, only the fourth to have been recovered, was rediscovered after researchers at Germany’s Cologne University identified a papyrus once wrapped around an Egyptian mummy as part of a third century B.C. roll containing poems by Sappho. They noticed that some of the verse fragments on the crumbling Cologne material matched parts of lines already identified as Sappho’s on a papyrus discovered in 1922. By combining the two they were able to reconstruct the original, adding likely missing words in the gaps that remained. In the newly published verses, originally sung to music, Sappho laments the passing of time as she compares the youthful bodies of dancing girls to her own weak knees and white hair. The first four lines of the translated verses read: "You for the fragrant-bosomed Muses’ lovely gifts,/Be zealous, girls, and the clear melodious lyre:/But my once tender body old age now/Has seized; my hair’s turned white instead of dark."

On the Shelves: A new GLBT bookstore opened in June in Omaha, Nebraska. Books, magazines, gourmet coffee, music, authors, artists, and speakers are on the menu at The Reading Grounds, 3928 Farnam Street. The Taipei Times reported that Gin Gin’s, the GLBT bookstore in Taipei, celebrated Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in June by moving to a new, larger location. The bookstore was recently found guilty of selling "indecent material." "These setbacks, however, only reinforced the need to keep the bookstore open for the gay community," owner Lai Jeng-jer told a reporter from the newspaper. Gin Gin’s has been in business since January 1999.

Passages: Jean O’Leary, a Democratic activist and leader of the early lesbian feminist movement, died June 5, 2005, at the age of 57 in San Clemente, CA. The cause was lung cancer. Born in Kingston, NY in 1948, O’Leary entered a convent as a teenager and her story was a much-discussed chapter in the book Lesbian Nuns: Breaking Silence. She left and joined the Gay Activists Alliance shortly after the Stonewall riots and soon helped branched off to help found the Lesbian Feminist Liberation. In 1974, O’Leary joined Bruce Voeller at the National Gay Task Force and became co-executive director. O’Leary organized the first White House meeting on sexual orientation, a three-hour session between leaders and Carter aide Midge Constanze in 1977. In 1988, O’Leary, along with Rob Eichberg, created National Coming Out Day. She is survived by her partner, Lisa Phelps, and two children.