On May 4, Chicago’s Gerber-Hart Library was filled with rapt listeners who heard readings from five excellent books that illustrate the quality and diversity of LGBT literature.
Award-winning journalist Tracey Richardson began the program reading from her lesbian-romance finalist No Rules of Engagement (Bella Books) about Canadians in the Afghanistan war zone. We then heard several poems from Kristen Naca’s Bird Eating Bird (HarperCollins), a finalist in lesbian poetry. The poems explore love, language and culture from an Asian-Latina perspective. Bird Eating Bird has also been chosen by Pulitzer Prize winner Yusef Komunyakaa for the National Poetry Series mtvU prize.
Naca was followed by Arusha (Spinsters Ink), a finalist in bisexual-fiction written by first-time novelist J. E. Knowles. Knowles and her partner traveled from London to participate in the event. Next, Deborah B. Gould selected several sections from Moving Politics: Emotion and ACT UP’s Fight Against AIDS (University of Chicago Press) that revealed the emotional highs and lows of political activism. Her book is a finalist in LGBT Studies.
Gerber-Hart Board president Karen Sendziak finished the program with a reading from James Magruder’s Sugarless (University of Wisconsin Press), a finalist in Gay Debut fiction.
The evening continued into the night with drawings for prizes, wine, cheese and great conversation.