ON LGBT PUBLISHING
Publishers Weekly features a story today titled On the Front Lines: LGBT Publishing in 2011. Very smart comments from Don Wiese, Raphael Kadushin, and Tony Valenzuela among others. What is mind-numbing about this article is the list of forthcoming LGBT books in 2011. It is in the middle of the article, so keep reading.
The offerings? At least two books by celebrities, a book about manners (really? It's probably fun and delightful, but I question how it is enhancing our literary lives.) and the book mentioned of lesbian interest? A memoir about being straight for a year. If this list is representative of what we can expect in the forthcoming year (and I feel confident it isn't, rather it is what mainstream publishing has chosen to highlight), it is going to be a bleak and dismal year.
The banality of these books demonstrates the way gay and lesbian readers are regarded by New York publishing houses. It is discouraging to say the least and even frightening. I don't know what the answer is, but this is an issue that deserves more attention and activist interventions if we are to preserve and continue LGBT literary culture.
Meanwhile, check out great books being published by independent and small presses. Ed Madden has a collection of poetry coming out from Lethe Press that excites me. Minnie Bruce Pratt's newest collection Inside the Money Machine from Carolina Wren Press is gorgeous and exciting. (You can see my review at Lambda Literary here.) And Monique Truong's stunning book, Bitter in the Mouth, which was released last August and didn't receive the recognition it deserves, is worth picking up to see the vibrancy, creativity and excitement of LGBT literary culture.
Our literature deserves more than we are getting from New York publishing. We need to demand it and find a way to hold mainstream publishers and all involved with publishing accountable.