Cover image for Gay fiction speaks : conversations with gay novelists
Gay fiction speaks : conversations with gay novelists
Canning, Richard.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Columbia University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxvii, 439 pages ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS374.H63 C36 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A collection of in-depth analytical interviews with twelve of the best-known gay novelists writing in English today, including Armistead Maupin, David Leavitt, Alan Garganus, and others.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Toward the end of his interview here, David Leavitt abruptly states that asking if "gay literature" exists is the wrong question: "[T]o me the important question is: `Is there such a thing as a gay reader?' That's infinitely more relevant. What's important is whether there are people who seek out books with gay content." This shift in focus gives much of this volume a fresh sense of purpose and meaning. Canning, who teaches American and English literature at Britain's Sheffield University, has produced in-depth interviews with 12 noted gay American and British novelists (John Rechy, Dennis Cooper, Patrick Gale, James Purdy, Edmund White among them). Aside from placing themselves within a social and historical tradition of "gay writing," the featured authors offer little evidence of an innate "sensibility." The pleasure of the interviews comes from Canning's ability to prompt quirky and ingenious responses from his subjects. Often, these include bluntly negative assessments of the works of others, though more commonly they are supportive and incisive, as when Dennis Cooper graciously underplays his enormous influence on other writers, or when Alan Gurganus discusses the place of homosexuality in the tradition of the Southern gothic. Each of the pieces clearly conveys the voice of the writer (James Purdy's idiosyncratic speech is captured beautifully), while as a whole, the book illustrates how these serious artists negotiate the cultural minefields of literary and identity politics in a marketplace that both values and devalues them as "gay." (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Canning (English and American literature, Sheffield Univ., UK) conducted interviews with 12 of the English language's best-known gay fiction writers. Presented in a delightfully rambling, conversational style, the interviews include Edmund White on the writer's voice, Armistead Maupin on gay identity, David Leavitt on the tradition defined by a gay readership, and John Rechy on the long, often unrecorded history of gay culture. The authors address such topics as AIDS, art, and activism and discuss their own literary influences and writing habits. From time to time, they engage in a little literary gossip. Reminiscent of the Dick Cavett interviews of the 1960s and 1970s, the pieces here offer an intelligent, witty, and thoroughly entertaining look into the creative souls of some of the masters of contemporary gay fiction. Recommended for most larger collections. Jeff Ingram, Newport P.L., OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

ForewordDavid Bergman
IntroductionJames Purdy and John Rechy and Edmund White and Andrew Holleran and Armistead Maupin and Felice Picano and Allan Gurganus and Ethan Mordden and Dennis Cooper and Alan Hollinghurst and David Leavitt and Patrick Gale