Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Dick-lit and glitterballs



Whoever would have expected that a night dedicated to talking about books -even gay ones - would be such a success? The glitter-ball-filled Freedom Bar in Soho was packed to the gunnels last night for just that - the Between the Covers event (organised as part of LGBT History Month 2008).

Rupert Smith as MC was a perfect representative of his "organisation" The House of Homosexual Culture. Waspish, witty and bedecked in a foppish cravat, he held the evening together with aplomb.

One of the original ground-breaking lesbian authors of the pre-equality 1960s Maureen Duffy gave a wonderful insight into the difference between writing on queer themes then and now - listening to her talk about the terror that girls felt on entering the famous Gateways club (immortalised in The Killing of Sister George), and the discrimination they received in their daily life was fascinating. Christopher Fowler was very entertaining as he gave his perspective on writing books that many consider to be more at the "erotic" end of the scale.

From the perspective of how the "mainstream" press deals with the tricky problem of reviewing gay literature as opposed to "genre publishing", Suzi Feay from the Independent on Sunday gave us her witty theory as to why gay authors rarely break through into the wider world of literature - they simply don't know how to handle them. (Unless of course you take the reviewer out for a champagne lunch!)

We had a discussion about the similar issues that face the book selling trade, with speakers from Gay's The Word (which almost closed down last year), Prowler Store and Foyles. But the piece de resistance was the dramatised version of Clayton Littlewood's forthcoming book Dirty White Boy - serialised in its original version as a blog on MySpace.

And with the campest music I have heard in a long time, courtesy of prize-winning author Mr Paul Burston, who jointly organised the evening - with his Rubettes-cum-Minets Sauvages flat cap and scarf ensemble - the evening was complete!

A great way to spend a Tuesday evening...

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