Should It Be Storyline or Author, Fiction or Non Fiction, or All of Them?

One of the publishers made a very valued point yesterday when they asked “so does the author have to be gay, or is it just a gay storyline… and what about non fiction and e-books?” Well that opened a can of worms! I hadn’t originally thought about Non Fiction and e-books or whether the author should be gay, so I gave it some thought and…

Does it have to be a book by a gay author?

No, I think if it’s a straight author that has written a book which features a great gay storyline character (or even a poor one) should be included. If I decided not to do this then I think I would be not only discriminatory, I would also be missing out on a wealth of great books. I mean look at books (well it’s a short story) like Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx thanks to the film and being superbly written that made it into the top ten of The Big Gay read. There are also the cult novels by Mary Renault including The Persian Boy which fictionalised Alexander The Great and his adventures and times. I simply cant those novels and the many, many more out there. There are also a lot of authors who have written gay books that have an ambiguous sexuality and they should be included.

Does The Storyline Have To Be Gay?

I am a bit 50/50 on this one but I am going to say no. The reason for this is that I think there are some great gay writers out there who we should all be supporting and why do gay authors have to write gay books? I know there is some debate with certain gay authors I have interviewed before that ‘gay people should be writing gay books’ but why? I think that fiction is fiction and people should be free to write what they write and not put into boxes. People might say that if there isn’t a gay story line then its not a gay novel, well maybe those ones wont make it into the Top Great Gay Reads later in the year but I think that they should be included as gay authors have written some brilliant fiction like Tom Rob Smith with Child 44.

What About Non Fiction and E-Books?

I don’t think I am going to include e-books I think that’s maybe something for the future at the moment I want to concentrate on what’s out in book stores now or physical books that might have gone out of print. Plus as I am finding from the research there is so much fiction out there in shops etc that I have quite enough to be getting on with. So why am I including non-fiction? Memoirs mainly, not autobiographies by gay celebrities really but autobiographies like Edmund White’s A Boy’s Own Story or The Beautiful Room is Empty were really influential books for me growing up. In recent years Augusten Burroughs seems to be doing the same for future generations sort of with novels like Running With Scissors. However I don’t know if books about gay culture etc will be making it in, we will see how it goes.

I think that covers all the bases. Have I missed anything out?


~ by greatgayreads on February 4, 2009.

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