“The Gay Novel Is Dead” – Alan Hollinghurst

Catching up with the British papers last night, I read that Booker prize-winning novelist Alan Hollinghurst (“The Swimming Pool Library”, “The Line of Beauty” etc), speaking at the Hay Literary Festival, claims that the age of the “Gay Novel” is over.

As a gay writer whose four books to date have featured aspects of the gay lifestyle in some way, I have some sympathy with his view that “…the gay novel has had its day. It rose in the seventies, eighties, nineties… … …there was a small body of male gay writing… the excitement of that opportunity 30 years ago was rather special.”

There is truth in this, upon reflection. In those years, I guess there was a certain ‘bravado’ in putting pen to paper and writing about gay men: old inhibitions forced upon gay folks had been relaxed, and so publishing slightly risque material generated a certain excitement perhaps not felt since the liberation which followed the D.H. Lawrence Penguin books trial over Lady Chatterley (before my time!!).

When I first put pen to paper (well, finger to keyboard actually) with what would become somewhere in the middle of Loving The Boy, I never thought of it that way. I just wanted to write about what I knew, what I liked, and about enjoying being in a gay relationship. As many of you will know, that adventure turned into a trilogy and was then followed by the tale of the 100% fictional gay outcast Sammy Three Rivers in Let The Future Find Me. For the benefit of those who have not read it, all I’ll say here is that future does indeed catch up with him.

It is entirely coincidental that the book I am working on now hardly features gay characters at all. I have learned from experience that what matters is telling a good tale, so I have taken a real-life tragedy (a drowning) as an inspiration together with the real-life history of a refugee family that I know, utterly re-written that history into my fictional ‘hero’, twisted time around so the books starts nearer to its conclusion than its beginning and added in what has perhaps become a trademark spiritual influence on the events… well, you know by now what authors do! Just keep an eye open around here for news of what will be entitled something like Known By The Tracks We Leave (that is part of a old Dakota Indian saying) – but that needs a bit of thought to focus more on the actual nature of the story and the boys whose life we follow (yes, another book, another boy!).

So there we are. I repeat my ‘catalogue’ here in the hope of some more purchases. Not Booker-Prize material, I fear… but Loving The Boy was nominated for the Polari Prize although it didn’t make the short list. Clicking on covers will guide you to publishers sites. E-books are also available but paper books are better, especially on the beach… so enjoy them if you can, and enjoy the themes of this blog anyway by visiting the picture-laden older posts and the more recent Fitness, Acrobatics and Gymnastics page (https://tonycavanagh.com/fitness-acrobatics-and-gymnastics/) and the Gay Expression page (https://tonycavanagh.com/gay-expression/).

And now, so as not to disappoint the folks who just come here for the pictures of fit young men doing their thing (and why not?), I’ve posted a new random collection of excellent physiques on the Fitness (etc) page (https://tonycavanagh.com/fitness-acrobatics-and-gymnastics/). Here’s a “starter for twenty”, an activity of which we heartily approve:

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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One Response to “The Gay Novel Is Dead” – Alan Hollinghurst

  1. Platinumboy says:

    Maybe one of these days, you’ll feel comfortable showing pictures of yourself in your act. I hope it will be soon!

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