No Room at the Inn by David Swatling

As a disquieting year draws to a close, I was asked to write a few words on change and looking forward, and thereby conjured an astronomical anomaly, a childhood memory, and a roll-top talisman… as you do.

Bold Strokes Books, UK

Perhaps you’ve heard about the celestial peace offering the universe will gift us as 2020 approaches an eagerly awaited end. On December 21st – yes, the winter solstice – the planets Jupiter and Saturn align close enough in the night sky that the conjunction will appear as one ultra-bright star. Such an astronomical anomaly has not occurred in almost 800 years, back during the time of Knights Templar and the Crusades, Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. The phenomenon is also know as the Christmas Star, suggesting a similar (albeit apocryphal) heavenly occurrence led the Three Wise Men to Bethlehem.

This exceptional event brought back memories of my earliest experience of narrative writing. At the age of eleven or so, I wrote and staged nativity plays in our basement with my three siblings and the three daughters of close family friends. As a good Methodist boy who attended Sunday school…

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They Could be Better by David Swatling — Bold Strokes Books, UK

During recent months, many friends have been posting their dreams. Not necessarily nightmares, but strange and unsettling nonetheless. Stress is said to trigger more vivid dreams and we all have enough anxiety these days to fill a Jungian encyclopedia. I’m no stranger to bizarre dreams—I’ve had some real whoppers. However, lately they’ve been, for the […]

via They Could be Better by David Swatling — Bold Strokes Books, UK

Edmund White: Literary Life

One might say gay author Edmund White’s 80th birthday celebration began last year. In the spring, ITNA Press published Crashing Cathedrals: Edmund White by the Book, a scintillating compendium of essays, which together create a comprehensive biography of the iconic writer’s adventurous literary life.


And in November, the National Book Foundation honored Edmund White with the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. “Most writers don’t set out to break barriers or trail blaze, but rather to share their unique perspectives and stories on the page,” said executive director Lisa Lucas. She added that by looking at the body of work, one sees his career as “revolutionary and vital, making legible for scores of readers the people, moments and history that would come to define not only queer lives, but also the broader trajectory of American culture.”

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Small Town, First Pride

Small Town, First Pride

IMG_1665My plans for celebrating Stonewall 50 Pride began a year ago. I’d be in New York City where it all started, where I lived for ten years before escaping to Amsterdam. With the city hosting World Pride as well, I knew it would be epic. Grace Jones would be there. And Lady Gaga. Even Madonna. I booked Megabus tickets from Albany early–only a dollar each way! I ordered new Keith Haring designer sport shoes. I texted friends I wanted to meet up with. I was ready!

Then I got an email from my publisher. Bold Strokes Books was invited by a group called Queer Connect to participate in the first-ever Pride Parade and Festival in the small town of Bennington, Vermont. Interested authors should contact the events coordinator. But there was a catch­—a big catch! It was being held on the same dates as the big weekend in New York City. Nope. No way. Not a chance.

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“You’ve got a real sexy voice…” by David Swatling

Before I head to the airport to catch a plane to Nottingham for the Bold Strokes Books Festival this weekend, I’ve just enough time to repost this piece I wrote for the BSB-UK Blog. I’ll get back to posting here on my own site soon. I promise. Time to break the radio silence!

Bold Strokes Books, UK

Calvin's Head 300 DPIIMG_0468

Amsterdam, 1998. On the way home after an evening of pinball, pool, and porn at my local gay watering hole, I stop at a snack bar called The Penguin for a late-night bite to eat. I order my favorite Dutch treat – a kaassouffle (deep fried cheese) – and while I wait, strike up a flirtatious conversation with the attractive young guy behind the counter. All of a sudden, he gives me a quizzical look.

“I know you,” he says.

“I don’t think so,” I say. Although I’d like to get to know you, I don’t say.

“Yeah. I recognize your voice.” He grins from ear to ear. “You read those dirty stories on the radio.”

My cheeks blush bright red, dooming any attempt to deny the truth.

“You listen to Alien?”

“Every Sunday,” he says with a wink. “Sometimes customers stick around so they can hear the end. You’ve…

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