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

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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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A Little Metathesiophobic by David Swatling

Somehow between Book Expo America and the Lambda Literary Awards, I managed to squeeze in some time to write this short reflection for the Bold Strokes Book Festival in Nottingham, where I’ll be on a couple of panels June 6 & 7 at Waterstones. More on the Lammys later – probably while I’m on a plane, train or bus in the next couple of weeks!

Bold Strokes Books, UK

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Metathesiophobia: fear of change. It’s something we all share to some extent. Humans like routine. It’s a natural survival instinct that’s ingrained in us. We resist change so that we always feel in control.  Fear of change isn’t a bad thing – unless it results in full-blown anxiety attacks, which can paralyze us, force us to reject anything and everything new.

Like most of us, I’m seriously resistant to change; and yet, I adapt to it quickly – almost seem to embrace it. What’s more, I’ve always been a huge fan of reinvention. “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” (A timely shout out to Walt Whitman, today being his birthday!)

For me there’s a subtle difference between reinvention and change – one is a choice, while the other is thrust upon us. I choose to become something new, when I’m…

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Bedtime ReadingSo much has happened since I did this interview six weeks ago for Bold Strokes Books Authors Blog – not least of all the official release of Calvin’s Head. I had to give it a read to remember what I talked about. But as it happens, I did delve into my darker side, which is appropriate for this particular time of year.

Early readers tell me it gave them a scare or two. So, maybe it’s not the ideal bedtime reading for the faint of heart. Or maybe you’ll need to keep the lights on!

Trick or Treat!