Wednesday, February 01, 2006

February Publishing Notes

The buzz: Performer and writer Sandra Bernhard has signed a deal with Q Television to co-host 40 episodes of the Queer Edge With Jack E. Jett talk show. The network is also negotiating with Bernhard to develop her own series. Rosie O’Donnell is partnerning with novelist Alice Hoffman to write a sitcom pilot about an Erma Bombeck-like humorist. Director Philip Kaufman will film a movie about bisexual director Nicholas Ray titled I Was Interrupted. David Fincher will direct Torso, a thriller based on the graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko. Miramax Films acquired the distribution rights to The Night Listener, the film adaptation of Armistead Maupin’s novel starring Robin Williams. The film rights to Tom House’s debut novel, The Beginning of Calamities have been optioned. Excerpts of his new novel Career Day, are forthcoming in Antioch Review and Ninth Letter. Hollywood director Roland Emmerich has pledged $150,000 to help support gay and lesbian film preservation through Outfest, the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the largest gift in the organization’s 24 year history. Fourth Estate will publish Christopher Ross’s Mishima’s Sword: Travels in Search of a Samurai Legend, in the fall of 2006. Author Stephen Greco is serializing his novel Dreadnought, about a fictional American corporation, through The six interrelated stories parts are available through Amazon Shorts. Greco is also Executive Director of the Ferro-Grumley Awards, which will be presented at the 17th Annual Publishing Triangle Awards, Thursday, May 11, in New York City. Pink Ink, the Triangle’s gay book expo, is scheduled for June 9-11 in New York City.

Lambda Literary Update: Teresa DeCrescenzo has joined the Board of Directors of the Lambda Literary Foundation. So far, the Foundation has raised almost $15,000 since December 1, 2005. The Lambda Literary Awards this year will be in May in Washington, D.C., and again in conjunction with Book Expo. The Lambda Book Report will return as a quarterly publication this spring, providing reviews of LGBT books, as well as interviews, features, and lists of resources for the LGBT literary community.

Kudos: The American Library Association has announced the 2006 Stonewall Book Awards. The Barbara Gittings Book Award in Literature went to Abha Dawesar, for Babyji, a coming-of-age tale about a free-spirited lesbian teenager in New Delhi. The Israel Fishman Book Award for Nonfiction went to Joshua Gamson, author of The Fabulous Sylvester: The Legend, the Music, the ’70s in San Francisco, a look at the life of disco singer Sylvester James. The awards will be presented at the 2006 ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans in June. Other honorees in the literature category include Acqua Calda by Keith McDermott, The First Verse by Barry McCrea, Mother of Sorrows by Richard McCann, and The Wild Creatures: Collected Stories of Sam D’Allesandro, edited by Kevin Killian. In the nonfiction category, honorees include My One-night Stand With Cancer by Tania Katan, Queer London: Perils and Pleasures in the Sexual Metropolis, 1918-1957 by Matt Houlbrook, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde by Neil McKenna, and The Tragedy of Today’s Gays by Larry Kramer (Tarcher/Penguin). Gay Scottish writer Ali Smith won the Whitbread Novel of the Year award for The Accidental. Brokeback Mountain was named picture of the year by the Producers Guild of America. The film also won Best Drama and Best Screenplay from the Golden Globes and Ang Lee was named Best Director by the Directors Guild of America. The film also received eight Oscar nominations, including Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay, and nine BAFTA nominations, including Best Film. Brokeback Mountain and Capote were also among GLAAD Media Award nominations for Outstanding Film - Wide Release and for Best Adapted Screenplay from the Writers Guild. Capote was named the Best Picture by the National Society of Film Critics. The movie also won the 18th annual University of Southern California Scripter Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman won a Golden Globe and the Screen Actors Guild award for his performance as the author and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor. Mysterious Skin, the film adaptation of Scott Heim’s novel, was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film - Limited Release.

Open calls: Editor and author Toby Johnson is looking for inspiration fiction, anecdotes, and essays of positive aspects of gay experience and faith for a new anthology to be titled Charmed Lives: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story. The anthology will be published by Lethe Press. Deadline is July 1, 2006. Email for moredetails.

Queer Foundation: The newly-formed Queer Foundation is offering three $1,000 college scholarships to winners of a high school English essay contest. The theme of the 2006 competition is homelessness. The collected essays will help form curriculum materials for use in high schools to benefit LGBTQ students. The awarded scholarships will be for studies in queer theory or a related field at a U.S. college or university. The Queer Foundation is a nonprofit corporation and 501(c)(3) public charity located in Seattle, Washington. Deadline is April 1, 2006. For more information of an application form, visit

Beat Hotel: The spirit of William S. Burroughs lives on in a small hotel in Desert Hot Springs, California, where a month-long 92nd birthday celebration kicks off on February 4th. The Beat Hotel is just a ten-minute drive from Palm Springs and was renovated in 2003 to celebrate the life and work of Burroughs. Each of the eight guestrooms is decorated with photos and artwork by the author, Beat era furniture, and a vintage typewriter. There is also an onsite library featuring various works and first editions of the Beat Generation. Neil Woodburn of the traveler’s weblog,, recently posted that the hotel is based upon the original “Beat Hotel” in Paris, at 9 Rue Git-le-Coeur, where, between 1957-1963 Burroughs, Alan Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, and other Beat artists lived. Burroughs wrote most of Naked Lunch at the Parisian hotel, while Ginsburg penned his famous poem, Kaddish. (The Parisian hotel is now called Relais Hotel du Vieux and still accepts guests.) Burroughs 92nd Birthday Festivities at The Beat Hotel’s InterZone Beat Festival include a Harold Chapman photography exhibition, performances by Husker Du singer/songwriter Grant Hart, slide shows, and various book exhibitions.

A month of literary scandals: So much has been written and discussed elsewhere that I only have to mention a few names for anyone to know what I am referring to: James Frey, JT LeRoy, Nasdijj. A month of literary scandals. Boom! Wham! Pow! And each with some sort of queer connection. Let’s start with LeRoy, or should we say Laura Albert, a 40-year-old middle class white woman from Brooklyn, NY, and Savannah Knoop, a twentysomething wannabe model who hoodwinked an agent, publishers, critics, celebrities, and the book-buying public into believing they were a transgender, HIV-positive writer. And Frey? While every reporter on the beat was ready to shoot down A Million Little Pieces for its embellishments, the word still seems to be out about the gay title character on Frey’s follow-up book, My Friend Leonard. And Nasdijj? The Navajo memoirist turned out to be none other than gay-erotica writer Timothy Patrick Barrus (who is married to a woman and father of a daughter). And the impact of all this fiction in fact is only just beginning to be seen. St. Martin’s Press recently added a sticker to the dedication page of the advance readers’ copies of Augusten Burrough’s latest book, Possible Side Effects: True Stories, to be released in May. It says: “Author’s Note: Some of the events described happened as related, others were expanded and changed. Some of the individuals portrayed are composites of more than one person and many names and identifying characteristics have been changed as well.” According to the New York Post gossip column Page Six, St. Martin’s also added disclaimers to Burroughs’s other books, including Running with Scissors and Dry.

Passages: Betty Berzon, pioneer gay rights activist, psychotherapist, and writer, died January 24, 2006. She was 78. She was the founder of Southern California Women for Understanding, as well as co-founder of California Gay Academic Union. She was a founding board chair of Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services and board member of numerous gay and lesbian advocacy organizations, including the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, where she developed a gay and lesbian peer counselor training program; Whitman-Radclyffe Foundation where she created the personal growth program that resulted in the book, Positively Gay (1979); National Gay Rights Advocates, the first public interest law firm to focus on gay rights, and the Community Guild, a groundbreaking effort to assist low-income gay and lesbian seniors. She was also producer of Gaythink, the first national conference to bring together gay and lesbian faculty and students. In 1971, during a UCLA conference called “The Homosexual in America,” Berzon became the first psychotherapist in the country to publicly declare herself as a gay mental health professional. An expert in small group process, Berzon worked with renowned researcher Evelyn Hooker to develop a series of encounter groups for gays and lesbians, called the Quest for Love. Later, she developed a series for Bell and Howell called The Encountertapes, a growth program for leaderless groups, which led to her first edited book, Encounter Groups: First Facts. Berzon practiced psychotherapy with groups and couples for the last twenty-five years of her life, during which time she also wrote four more books, including the best-selling Permanent Partners: Building Gay and Lesbian Relationships that Last (1988); The Intimacy Dance: A Guide to Long-Term Success in Gay and Lesbian Relationships (1996); Setting Them Straight : You CAN Do Something About Bigotry and Homophobia in Your Life (1996); and Surviving Madness: A Therapist’s Own Story, which won the Lambda Literary Award for best autobiography in 2003. Berzon is survived by her partner of thirty-three years, Teresa DeCrescenzo. Also survived by her sister, Dr. Stephanie Miller of Lancaster Ohio; stepmother, Trude Berzon of Des Moines Iowa and North Palm Beach, Florida; stepsister Barbara Kaplan of North Palm Beach, Florida; cousins Sidney, Shirley, Jerry, Sandy, Mary, Dan, and Abbe Wool; and eight nieces and nephews. Teresa DeCrescenzo has requested that donations may be made in Betty’s honor to the Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services and Lambda Literary Foundation.

Anyda Marchant, a retired attorney, novelist and publisher, died January 11, 2006 at her home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. She was 94. Ms. Marchant was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, moving with her family to Washington, DC, at age six. After earning her undergraduate degree and, in 1933, her law degree from what is now George Washington University, she was admitted to practice in DC and Virginia, before the U.S. Court of Claims and the U.S. Supreme Court. She was one of the first female attorneys with the law firm now known as Covington and Burling. She served briefly in private practice and with the U.S. Commerce Dept. before moving to the legal department of the World Bank where she worked for 18 years until her 1972 retirement. In 1972 Marchant and her life partner Muriel Crawford created the Naiad Press with Barbara Grier and Donna McBride. The first novel published by Naiad was Marchant’s The Latecomer, written under the pen name Sarah Aldridge. In 1974, Naiad was formally incorporated, proceeding to publish eleven Sarah Aldridge novels, as well as a wide selection of other feminist and lesbian writers, including Jane Rule, Isabel Miller, Ann Bannon, and Sarah Schulman, among many others. Marchant served as Naiad’s president from its inception until the mid 1990’s. In 1995 Marchant and Crawford founded their own publishing company, A&M Books of Rehoboth Beach. A&M published the last three Sarah Aldridge novels (the latest in 2003), along with the book As I Lay Frying - a Rehoboth Beach Memoir by author Fay Jacobs. Passionate about supporting feminist writers, Marchant continued her publishing and mentoring activities until very recently, highlighted by the October 2005 release of the novel Celebrating Hotchclaw by feminist literary icon Ann Allen Shockley. Marchant is survived by Crawford, her partner of 57 years, as well as a large circle of loving friends. A Donations may be made in Marchant’s name to CAMP Rehoboth, Compassionate Care Hospice, or All Saints Episcopal Church Building Fund (all located within Rehoboth Beach, Delaware).

Tory Dent, an award-winning poet who was diagnosed with HIV at age 30, later developed AIDS and wrote three volumes of poetry about her years of coping with her illness, died December 30, 2005 at her home in New York City. She was 47. In lengthy poems made up of unusually long lines, Dent traveled through the maze of doctors, hospitals and treatments that filled close to 20 of her 47 years. She referred to her AIDS diagnosis as “my life totaled in an indifferent instant to a disappointing sum.” Dent explored her physical and emotional reality in graphic detail in her three volumes of poetry What Silence Equals (1993), HIV, Mon Amour (1999), and Black Milk (2005). HIV, Mon Amour won the James Laughlin Award given by the Academy of American Poets. Born Victorine Dent in Wilmington, Delaware, she graduated from Barnard College in 1981 and earned a master’s degree in creative writing at New York University. Besides poetry, Dent wrote critical essays and reviews for several literary and art journals. She contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from her college boyfriend, a hemophiliac who later died of AIDS. Nine years later she was diagnosed with AIDS. She married Sean Harvey in 1999. In addition to him, she is survived by a brother, Stephen, and a sister, Melissa.