In The News: Alan Hollinghurst, Justin Torres, Gertrude Stein and James Earl Hardy

We’ve all had to deal with the nonsense of being seen singularly as one who acts on behalf of a minority group. To much of the mainstream, we are “gay” writers— with emphasis on the gay. British novelist Alan Hollinghurst addresses that issue head-on in an interview with Arminta Wallace of the IrishTimes.Com:

The problem with the ‘gay writer’ tag was that it was assumed that gayness was the most interesting and significant thing about what you were doing. Gays don’t spend their whole time being furiously gay, you know? They’re actually living their lives as richly and fully and complicatedly as other people, with all sorts of other interests.

The interview comes in the midst of wild fanfare over Hollinghurst’s forthcoming novel, The Stranger’s Child, which has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. This will be Hollinghurst’s fifth novel, the first in the seven years since he last won the Booker Prize, for his novel The Line of Beauty.  In his interview, Hollinghurst further discusses the topic of gay writers, his upbringing and education, his love of architecture, and his past and present writing.

“A fellow of the inaugural Lambda Literary Writer’s Retreat, Justin Torres is a writer to watch out for.” Lambda Literary writer Courtney Gillette wrote these words a little over one year ago, when Torres had just graduated from both the Writer’s Retreat and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. With the anticipation for his new book, We the Animals, ever-rising, Gillete could not have been more right. Just google Torres and you’ll see what we’re talking about.  We the Animals has been featured on Dzanc Books’ Ten Anticipated Books of 2011 and Lambda Literary’s own 23 Highly Anticipated Books of 2011. Of particular note, Torres’ work has recently been featured in The New Yorker, appearing in the August 2011 issue. The short story, “Reverting to a Wild State,” is a beautifully penned ode to a relationship’s end and a young man’s dedication to himself. The author was interviewed about the piece in another New Yorker post, “This Week in Fiction,” where he discusses his writing style, We the Animals, and what he’s up to in the remotest areas of Alaska.

Imagine a giant rainbow filled bubble of joy – a bubble so gay and bright that everyone knows it exists and comes to visit it specifically because it is so gay and bright. Now, imagine some buffoon fumbling over to your balloon and bursting it with his claim that it is too bright and too gay and no one likes it. If you’re wondering, this balloon is San Francisco and this buffoon is a security guard at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. According to, the guard witnessed a lesbian couple holding hands and immediately demanded that they stop, attempting to shoo them out the door once the couple began to make a scene and called for a supervisor. The kicker? The couple was viewing an exhibit on lesbian ex-pat, writer, and poet Gertrude Stein. As it turns out, the guard was covering for another employee and had never been to the museum before. He has since been reprimanded and ordered to never return to the museum. His employers, Guardsmark, intend to implement ‘sensitivity training’ to pre-empt future misjudgments.

It looks like the stories of queer people of color are finally finding a favorable audience on the big screen! Only a month ago, we wrote that E. Lynn Harris’s novel Invisible Life, would be the first in a series of books by the gay black author made into film. Now, award-winning choreographer and creative director Frank Gatson Jr. will be making his film directorial debut with an adaptation of author James Earl Hardy’s 1994 novel B-Boy Blues, taking the reins from original director Maurice Jamal. The novel, which has spawned six sequels, focuses on the story of an educated and upper-middle-class black gay male who falls into a passionate and dangerous relationship with a bike messenger. Hardy’s themes range from homophobia in the black community as well as racism and privilege in the culture at large  . Read more about the film here.