Sunday, April 17, 2005

See you at The Center

Lammy Finalists Read at NY Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

The Lambda Literary Foundation invites you to "Voices of New York: An Evening of Lambda Literary Finalists Readings." This free event takes place on Thursday, April 28th, 2005, at 7:00 p.m. at the NY Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, located at 208 West 13th St, NY NY 10011. The featured authors will be reading from their books, all finalists for the upcoming Lambda Literary Awards for achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender writing.

The event combines the talents of a diverse collection of writers including:

Colm Tóibín, The Master (Gay Men's Fiction Finalist)
Alexis De Veaux, Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde (Biography Finalist)
Susan Stinson, Venus of Chalk (Lesbian Fiction Finalist)
Aaron Krach, Half-Life (Gay Men's Debut Fiction Finalist)
Mark Wunderlich, Voluntary Servitude (Gay Men's Poetry Finalist)
Amy King, Antidotes for an Alibi (Lesbian Poetry Finalist)
Andrea Barnet, All-Night Party (LGBT Studies Finalist)
Morty Diamond, From the Inside Out (Transgender Finalist)
K. Warnock, Best Lesbian Erotica 2004 (Erotica Finalist)
Will Fabro, Fresh Men: New Voices in Gay Men's Fiction (Fiction Anthology Finalist)

The reading will begin promptly at 7:00 p.m.; book sales will be provided by Oscar Wilde Book Store. The reading will conclude with a wine reception and a display table will feature LGBT press packets, writing contests, and calls for submission.

* * *

The Lambda Literary Awards recognize and honor the best in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender literature. From thousands of nominations received from across the country, five nominees were selected in each of 20 categories. A panel of 74 judges, chosen to represent the diversity of the LGBT literary community, will determine the final winner from the finalists in each category.

The winners of the 17th annual Lambda Literary Awards will be announced at a gala ceremony in New York City on Thursday, June 2, 2005 (on the eve of the BookExpo America Convention). The event will be hosted by the Center for Lesbian Gay Studies at the City University of New York, and will take place at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue. For more information on the Lammy Awards, please consult the Web site, or e-mail LBR Managing Editor Jonathan Harper at
The non-profit Lambda Literary Foundation is the only national organization dedicated to the recognition and promotion of gay and lesbian literature. The Foundation publishes the Lambda Book Report, a monthly GLBT book review and writers resource magazine, and the James White Review, a gay men’s literary quarterly.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

"Blue Song" Found in New Orleans

The New York Times reported yesterday that a previously unknown poem by playwright Tennessee Williams was discovered in the back of a small blue test booklet from Washington University in St. Louis. Williams penned the poem, "Blue Song," while taking a final exam in Greek in May 1937 at the University. The poem was discovered by Harvey I. Schvey, a Washington University professor, among the Williams-related materials kept at Faulkner House Books, a bookstore in New Orleans. A portion of the poem reads: "If you should meet me upon a/ street do not question me for/ I can tell you only my name/ and the name of the town I was/ born in . . . To read more of Williams, the poet, New Directions published The Collected Poems of Tennessee Williams in 2002.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

April 2005 Publishing Notes

The buzz: Republican strategist Mary Matalin’s new conservative imprint at Simon & Schuster, Threshold, has acquired its first manuscript. It is a memoir by Mary Cheney, lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney. Among the new books lined up at Caroll & Graf are Michelango Signorile’s Hitting Hard, a look at gay rights, the Republican Party, and sexual hypocrisy in America, and Jaffe Cohen’s Tush, a gay, comic, romance novel about a loveless astrologer searching for love in Provincetown. Harper’s Children will publish Margaret Cho’s young adult novel, I Hate Girls. Inner Ocean will publish 50 Ways to Support Lesbian and Gay Equality: The Complete Guide to Supporting Family, Friends, Neighbors or Yourself, edited by Meredith Maran and Angela Watrous, with essays from Margaret Cho, Judy Shepard, Candace Gingrich, and leaders of organizations including ACLU, Amnesty International USA, and GLAAD. Spinsters Ink, which shuttered at the end of 2004 after publishing no new books for two years, has been acquired by Bella Books, a Florida-based publisher of lesbian books. Some Spinsters Ink titles will be made available once again and the house plans to release six new titles in 2005. The spring 2005 issue of the Virginia Quarterly Review was a special issue devoted to Walt Whitman. Among the contributors were Mark Doty and Rafael Campo. Rumors are flying that with the breakup of Disney and Miramax and the folding of Miramax Books into Disney’s Hyperion imprint, the former Miramax team is wooing Rob Weisbach, currently Simon & Schuster’s editor-at-large, to head up a new book division for the soon-to-be-independent-again film company. Gus Van Sant is in negotiations to direct the film version of The Time Travelers Wife for New Line Cinema. reported that playwright Jon Robin Baitz will write an episode of the hit ABC series Alias. Author-comedienne-mogul Rosie O’Donnell has launched a blog. She can now be found at "formerly rosie" (, the "unedited rantings of a fat 42-year-old menopausal ex-talk show host married mother of four."

Kudos: Alan Hollinghurst was recently nominated for the Reader’s Digest Author of the Year, part of the British Book Awards. Alison Smith’s memoir, Name All the Animals, won the 2004 Barnes & Noble Great New Writers Award for nonfiction. Ha Jin won the 2005 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for the second time for War Trash, a historical novel of Chinese prisoners of war imprisoned by Americans during the Korean War. Adrienne Rich won the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry for The School Among the Ruins: Poems 2000-2004. Lawrence Ferlinghetti won the Curtis Benjamin Award for Creative Publishing given by the Association of American Publishers. Ferlinghetti is the poet, activist, and founder of City Lights Publishers, which made national headlines in 1956 with the publication of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems. Ferlinghetti was arrested for obscenity and a landmark First Amendment case followed. City Light authors also include Jack Kerouac and Paul Bowles. The Ellen DeGeneres Show scored 11 daytime Emmy nominations, including Best Talk Show Host. The 17th annual Publishing Triangle Awards will be presented May 10 in New York City. A Lifetime Achievement award will be presented to poet Edward Field. A special leadership award will be presented to the Lesbian Herstory Archives. The finalists of books published in 2004 are: David Carter, Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution, David K. Johnson, The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government, and Graham Robb, Strangers: Homosexual Love in the Nineteenth Century for the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction. The nominees for the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction are Alexis De Veaux, Warrior Poet: A Life of Audre Lorde, Alison Smith, Name All the Animals, and Evelyn C. White, Alice Walker: A Life. The nominees for the Ferro-Grumley Award for Men’s Fiction are Adam Berlin, Belmondo Style, Colm Tóibín, The Master, and Jim Tushinski, Van Allen’s Ecstasy. The Women’s Fiction nominees are Stacey D’Erasmo, A Seahorse Year, Emma Donoghue, Life Mask, and Heather Lewis, Notice. The Publishing Triangle Award for Gay Male Poetry nominees are Ron Mohring, Survivable World, Carl Phillips, The Rest of Love, and D. A. Powell, Cocktails. The Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry nominees are Adrienne Rich, The School Among the Ruins, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Year of the Snake, and Maureen Seaton, Venus Examines Her Breast. The Robert Chesley Foundation will also present a Lifetime Achievement in Playwriting to Michael Kearns and an Emerging Artist award to Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas.

Anti-Gay Agenda Revisited: Alabama Rep. Gerald Allen (R-Cottondale) announced in March that he did not expect any action to be taken on the bill that would prohibit state funds from purchasing literature that acknowledges homosexuality or written by gay authors. The bill is currently in the Alabama House Crimes and Offenses Committee because of ongoing debates on the state’s fiscal year 2006 budgets.

More than a triangle: The Associated Press reported that a defamation lawsuit was filed in March against the author and publisher of Out of Control, a book about a Houston-area dentist convicted of murder for running over her cheating husband. Julie Knight, a close friend of the mistress of Dr. David Harris, alleges the book is "filled with lies, slander and accusations" against Knight. Knight seeks unspecified damages and attorney’s fees. Harris was killed in 2002 when he was run over repeatedly by a car driven by his wife, Clara Harris. The book, written by Steven H. Long and published by St. Martin’s Press, portrays Knight as the lesbian lover of Harris’ mistress, Gail Bridges. Clara Harris was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the slaying of her husband, whom she ran over after finding him with his mistress at a hotel.

Passages: Ken Hunt, performance artist, poet, activist, and associate publisher of the on-line Blithe House Quarterly, died March 22, 2005, of complications from brain damage. A native of Seattle, Hunt graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in journalism and Spanish. He wrote for the Seattle Times, The New York Times, and the Austin Chronicle, as well as for many community and weekly papers. In Boston he was a reporter and producer for the Allston-Brighton Edition, a progressive public affairs news program. He was most recently based in Chicago teaching English as a second language. Hunt published four books of poetry and, in Chicago, was a featured poet for the Feast of Fools Cabaret and Homolatté. A frequenter of fringe music stages in Chicago, Hunt also performed in the spazz-noise band Unplanned Pregnancy.

March 2005 Publishing Notes

The buzz: Riverhead will publish Harm, a new novel by British author Sarah Waters, in March 2006. The novel tells the story of a group of Londoners during and after World War II. Harper will publish John Hall’s Young Adult novel Is He or Isn’t He?, in which two best friends — a gay guy and a straight girl — try to figure out if their crush, a new guy at their Upper East Side private school — is gay or straight. Dutton will publish Lammy-nominee T. Cooper’s second novel Lipshitz Six or Two Angry Blonds, spanning much of the twentieth century by following the Lipshitz family as they escape the Russian Pogroms of 1903 and immigrate to the United States. In the Fall of 2006 Warner will publish I Like You, comedienne Amy Sedaris’s "entertaining guide to entertaining" that includes recipes, complete meal plans, decorating suggestions, music choices, conversational ice-breakers, and hospitality tips. David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and who was publishing director for Random House trade paperbacks and the Modern Library, is becoming an editor-at-large, "a position he requested in order to better accommodate his editorial duties with the demands of his own literary career," according to an announcement from the publisher. He will continue to acquire and edit hardcovers for the publisher, while spending more time on his writing (Random will publish his next novel) and teaching. Among the speakers lined up for BookExpo in June in New York City is Michael Cunningham. Variety reported that John Travolta is a leading contender to slip into Harvey Fierstein’s gowns in the upcoming screen version of the Broadway musical Hairspray. Robin Williams and Toni Collette are set to star in a screen adaptation of Armistead Maupin’s The Night Listener, which is set to start shooting in New York in March 2004 under the direction of Patrick Stettner. The book deals with a famous author who begins a telephone friendship with a young fan, only to find himself doubting his new friend’s identity. Maupin wrote the screenplay with Terry Anderson and Stettner.

Kudos: Nominees for the New York Public Library’s 2005 Young Lions Award include Andrew Sean Greer’s The Confessions of Max Tivioli. The library awards the $10,000 prize each spring to a writer age 35 or younger for a novel or short story collection. Last year’s prize went to Monique Truong for The Book of Salt. The shortlist for The BBC Book Club includes David Sedaris’s Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Finalists for this year’s Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Awards program include Alison Smith for Name All the Animals in the Nonfiction category. The winner receives a $10,000 prize and a year of additional promotion in B&N stores. Author Wesley Gibson (You Are Here) has joined the teaching staff at Saint Mary’s College of California. The International Gay Film Awards were presented in February 2004 in Los Angeles, honoring the year’s best gay and lesbian films. Pedro Almodovar’s Bad Education was named Best Picture, Best Foreign Film, and received the Gay Press Award and Best Actor award for star Gael Garcia Bernal. My Mother Likes Women won for Best Lesbian Film, while Brother to Brother was honored as the Best Indie Film. Jonathan Caouette’s Tarnation was voted Best Documentary. In the performers category, presented this year for the first time, Laura Linney won Best Actress In a Leading Role for Kinsey, while Veronica Cartwright was named Best Supporting Actress for Straight Jacket. Peter Sarsgaard won for Best Actor In a Supporting Role in Kinsey.

Fairy Tales Revisited: Hans Christian Andersen, a new biography of Danish fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen, reveals that the writer was gay but may never have acted on his homosexual tendencies. Biographer Jens Andersen states that the writer had infatuations with both men and women but could not bring himself to overcome societal strictures against homosexuality. The biographer also postulates that many of the fairy tales may be read as gay allegories, and some are clearly autobiographical. For instance, "The Little Mermaid" was written after a crisis Andersen suffered in 1836 at the marriage of Edvard Collin, who may have been the love of Andersen’s life but who refused to play the part of his romantic soulmate. Andersen’s novel O.T., depicting an intimate male friendship, is also influenced by this unrequited love, according to the biographer. Although Andersen typically conducted one-sided infatuations with young men, he did experience a more reciprocal romantic friendship with the Hereditary Grand Duke of Weimar, Carl-Alexander von Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, whom he met in 1844. In his later years, Andersen was infatuated with the young ballet dancer, Harald Scharff. Born in April 1805, Andersen died in 1875. It was not until 1893 that his sexuality was publicly discussed, when a newspaper hinted that he may have been a homosexual. In 1901, an article in Magnus Hirschfeld’s Jahrbuch fuer sexuelle Zwischenstufen also discussed him as a homosexual. An earlier biography of Andersen by Jackie Wullschlager, which documented Andersens’s love for both men and women, caused a scandal when it was published in Denmark, where the sexuality of the national poet is a controversial topic.

Items on the Agenda: In Arkansas, a bill that would have forced schools to use only books that omitted any reference to gay families failed to win the endorsement of the Arkansas Senate Education Committee according to a report by The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Roy Ragland, had previously said "the bill was designed to block efforts to promote a gay agenda in schools." The committee cast a 3-3 tie vote and needed at least four votes to move to the Senate floor. It had already passed the House. In Utah, the Nebo School District is not only looking for psychology textbooks which do not advocate homosexuality, but wants to find textbooks which simply don’t mention it at all. State law does not allow the advocacy of homosexuality to be taught and the Nebo district wants no discussion of it at all. In North Carolina, students at the University of North Carolina protested Alabama Rep. Gerald Allen’s (R-Cottondale) bill that would prohibit state funds from purchasing literature that acknowledges homosexuality or written by gay authors. Students and faculty did a 24-hour public reading of works which would be banned if the bill passed. Olivia Henderson, a UNC senior who participated in the event, told a reporter for The Crimson White, the student paper, "This may be Alabama, but Alabama’s not that far from North Carolina." In Canada, the Strong Communities Campaign raised $35,000 to buy books promoting tolerance of different sexual orientations for libraries in the elementary and secondary schools in the Thames Valley District. In the UK, the Haringey Libraries in London have launched a new LGBT book collection to mark the UK’s first ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month. The collection of more than 150 books will be housed at Wood Green Central Library and will be accessible to users of all Haringey Libraries through the library catalogue. All books in the collection are easily identifiable and placed together making it easier for users to browse. In addition to the central collection, Haringey Libraries are introducing LGBT interest magazines at a number of branches. Haringey Libraries have worked closely with local arts organization Wisethoughts and other community groups to ensure that the collection meets the needs of Haringey’s LGBT communities.

For the kids: In March, author and former LBR editor Greg Herren received an e-mail from a reporter at the Richmond Times-Dispatch telling him that his upcoming speaking engagement with the Gay-Straight Alliance at Manchester High School near Richmond, VA had been canceled. A concerned parents group had decided that Herren was an inappropriate speaker and had circulated an e-mail with the heading "What is being taught in our schools?" "The thing that bothers me the most about this situation is that I was never given an opportunity by the school board or the superintendent to express my opinion, or was even asked what I was planning on talking about," Herren wrote in an e-mail exchange about the event. "As someone who went to high school in an extremely repressive school myself, my heart breaks for the kids at Manchester High, particularly those who have had the courage to be openly gay and join the Gay-Straight Alliance. The message being sent here by their school superintendent, and the ‘concerned parents,’ is clear: gays are bad, gays are evil, and they must be stopped at all costs. How this will effect the students psychologically, I don’t know... but if there are homophobic and gay-bashing students at this school, they’ve just been given a stamp of approval." Undaunted, Herren, 43, and local organizers moved his personal appearance off-campus to the Metropolitan Community Church’s worship space in Richmond. "The trip to Virginia, as it turned out, was probably one of the more educational and inspiring experiences I have had in my life to date," Herren wrote on his blog site ( after more than eighty people attended the event and gave the author a standing ovation. "The lesson I learned from all of this is: we need to do more for queer youth. If you’re a queer writer, keep writing. If you can, find a local GSA and go talk to the kids. If you’re on tour, see if you can find one wherever you are signing, and at least invite the kids to come."

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.

January 2005 Publishing Notes

The buzz: The winners of the Project QueerLit unpublished first-novelist contest are Supervillianz by Alicia Goranson and Origami Striptease by Peggy Munson. Both of the winning novels will be published by Suspect Thoughts Press. Colm Toibin’s The Master was named one the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Toibin’s novel, Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty, and David Sedaris’s Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim made Publishers Weekly’s list of Best Books of 2004. Sedaris was also among the nominees for the 47th annual Grammy Awards, receiving nods for Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim in the Best Spoken Word Album and Live at Carnegie Hall in Best Comedy Album, a category that finds him competing against Ellen DeGeneres’s The Funny Thing Is... Kristin Davis and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are in negotiations to star in a film version of Sellevision, Augusten Burrough’s novel about the scandal at a fictional home-shopping channel.

Prelude of Things to Come?: During the 2004 holiday season many NPR stations around the country "censored" the annual re-broadcast of David Sedaris’s popular Santaland Diaries. According to several Internet accounts, the author’s flirtation with "Snowball," another gay male elf at Macy’s, was cut. Also in December 2004, Atlanta police raided the bar where the popular musical revue Naked Boys Singing was performing for permitting adult entertainment without a license. The show had run for four months at The Armory as a benefit for the nonprofit theater Actor’s Express. Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin decided, however, that the raid was based upon the misreading of a section of the Atlanta city code. The musical resumed performances the following week to a sold-out audience. And in Scotland, a group of Christian protesters called on police to prosecute a theater company for blasphemy because it was presenting Terrence McNalley’s Corpus Christi, his play about a gay Jesus.

A Big Bonfire Is Also Being Planned: In December 2004, Alabama state legislator Gerald Allen (R-Cottondale), proposed a bill that would ban all books with gay characters from public libraries. Allen, who had also sought to ban gay marriages, told the press that he had filed the bill to protect children from the "homosexual agenda." Allen pre-filed the bill in advance of the 2005 legislative session, which begins February 1, 2005. Allen said that if his bill passed, novels with gay protagonists and college textbooks that suggest homosexuality is natural would have to be removed from library shelves and destroyed. If the bill became law, public school textbooks could not present homosexuality as a genetic trait and public libraries couldn’t offer books with gay or bisexual characters. When asked about Tennessee Williams’ play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Allen said that the play probably could not be performed by university theater groups. Allen said that no state funds should be used to pay for materials that foster homosexuality. He said that would include non-fiction books that suggest homosexuality is acceptable and fiction novels with gay characters. While that would ban books such as Heather Has Two Mommies, it could also include classics such as The Color Purple, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Brideshead Revisited.

Off the Shelves But Still On the Web: Creative Visions, the 14-year-old gay and lesbian bookstore in New York City’s Greenwich Village, closed its doors at the end of December 2004. The store occupied the site on Hudson Street of the former A Different Light bookstore. In an e-mail sent to the bookstore’s customer base, Creative Visions owner Vincent Migliore mentioned that many events and changes in the community and the retail sector prompted the store to close, including the death of founder Randy P. Glaser from AIDS, and the continuing loss of its customer base from both the AIDS epidemic and the economic aftermath of 9/11. The rise of bookchains and Internet ordering were also cited as contributing factors. Creative Visions will continue as an online bookseller via their Web site

Passages: Joseph Hansen, author of nearly 40 books and one of the first mystery writers noted for creating one of the genre’s first gay protagonists, died November 24, 2004, at his home in Laguna Beach, California, of heart and lung ailments. He was 81. Hansen was born July 19, 1923, in Aberdeen, SD, and was raised in Minneapolis and Altadena, California. He co-founded the gay publication Tangents in 1965, produced the radio program "Homosexuality Today" in Los Angeles in 1969, and helped plan the first gay pride parade in Hollywood in 1970. He was also a founder of the Venice Poetry Workshop and taught fiction workshops at the University of California and Wesleyan University. Hansen wrote poetry and gay-themed fiction under the pseudonym James Colton until he published Fadeout in 1970, which introduced his savvy gay insurance claims investigator/protagonist Dave Brandsetter. It had taken him nearly three years to find a publishing house that would accept an unapologetically gay sleuth without turning the story into a sensationalized account of his homosexuality. It was acquired by Joan Kahn, the celebrated mystery editor at Harper & Row. ''My joke,'' Hansen told The Orange County Register in 1998, ''was to take the true hard-boiled character in American fiction tradition and make him homosexual. He was going to be a nice man, a good man, and he was doing to do his job well.'' Brandsetter appeared in a dozen novels (among them Troublemaker, Death Claims, Obedience, The Boy Who Was Buried This Morning, The Little Dog Laughed, Early Graves, Skinflick, and Gravedigger), the last of which was A Country of Old Men, published in 1991, and which showed Hansen’s weary hero in his late sixties in a post-AIDS world. In the series, Brandsetter also had the same lover for 22 years while his father went through nine marriages. In 1992, Hansen received a life achievement award from the Private Eye Writers of America. He is also the author of A Smile in His Lifetime (1981), Job’s Year (1983), and three historical gay-themed "Nathan Reed" novels: Jack of Hearts (1992), Living Upstairs (1993), and The Cutbank Path (which Hansen self-published in 2002). Hansen was married to Jane Bancroft, a teacher and translator, for 51 years until her death in 1994. In 2003, he told Out magazine that his wife was a lesbian and that they had an "agreement" to see other people. The couple had a daughter who later underwent a sex-change operation and is now known as Daniel James Hansen. He is Hansen’s only survivor.

Susan Sontag, novelist, essayist, and critic, died December 28, 2004, in New York City of complications of acute myelogenous leukemia. She was 71. Sontag had been ill with cancer intermittently for 30 years, a struggle that informed one of her most famous books, Illness as Metaphor (1978). Sontag burst onto the literary map with her essay about popular culture, "Notes on Camp," published in the Partisan Review in 1964. Her best-known books, all published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, include the novels Death Kit (1967), The Volcano Lover (1992), and In America (2000); the essay collections Against Interpretation (1966), Styles of Radical Will (1969), and Under the Sign of Saturn (1982); the critical studies On Photography (1977) and AIDS and Its Metaphors (1989); and the short-story collection I, Etcetera (1978). Her most recent book, Regarding the Pain of Others (2003), was a long essay on the imagery of war and disaster. As an author she received many awards, including the National Book Critics’ Circle Award, the National Book Award, and a MacArthur grant. Sontag was born Susan Rosenblatt in Manhattan on January 16, 1933. Her father was a fur trader in China who died when the author was five years old and her mother subsequently moved the family to Tucson, Arizona, where she met and married Capt. Nathan Sontag, a World War II veteran sent there to recuperate. The author took her stepfather's surname. Sontag received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1951 from the University of Chicago. While at Chicago, at the age of 17, she met and married the sociologist Philip Rieff, a 28-year-old instructor who would write Freud: The Mind of the Moralist (1959). The couple subsequently moved to Boston where Sontag earned two master’s degrees from Harvard, the first in English, in 1954, the second in philosophy the following year. She began work on a doctorate in philosophy but did not complete her dissertation. In 1952, Sontag and Rieff became the parents of a son, David Rieff. The couple divorced in 1958. Sontag’s sexuality was a subject she rarely addressed, although in November 2001, Time magazine referred to her and photographer Annie Leibovitz as "companions" when Leibovitz’s daughter was born. Sontag is also survived by her son and a younger sister.

David Brudnoy, the openly gay and nationally broadcast talk radio show host, died December 8, 2004, in Boston, of cancer. He was 64. Brudnoy had also been living with AIDS for nearly a decade. In 1994, Brudnoy revealed that he was gay and had AIDS after he was hospitalized with a viral infection that almost took his life. Brudnoy was best know for his broadcasting career, which started in 1971 at WGBH-TV in Boston. His talk radio career began at WHDH-AM in 1976, then moved to WRKO-AM in 1981, and to WBZ-AM in 1986. Brudnoy was New England’s top-rated talk show host and his call-in radio show touched on almost any topic, including politics, current events, and the arts. In March 2004, Brudnoy’s radio show guests included Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Brudnoy also contributed to many publications, including The New York Times, TV Guide, and The New Republic. His memoir, Life is Not a Rehearsal (1997), chronicled his battle with HIV. Born in Minneapolis, he received a bachelor’s degree in Japanese studies from Yale, a master’s in Far Eastern studies from Harvard, and a master’s in the history of American civilization and a doctorate in history, both from Brandeis University.

You Have to Start Somewhere

Okay. So I am now joining the blogging generation. My intent is not to delve into my deepest and inner most thoughts and moods, nor will this be a bitching post about how hard it is to be writer. No, this is a place to find out what I know is going on in the GLBT publishing world -- basically an outgrowth and expansion of the Publishing Notes column that I contribute every month to Lambda Book Report, published by the Lambda Literary Foundation, on news, trends, sales, awards, and issues facing gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer writers and books. If you want to suggest a news item for me to include and post here, please e-mail me at I'm going to start by "re-broadcasting" my Publishing Notes columns since January 2005. Then, once I'm up to speed, hopefully have something or another to say once or twice a week.