Sunday, 11 September 2011

They Were What They Were: Last Night A Novelist Saved My Life

"Most of these authors were writing undercover in their lifetimes and have remained undercover ever since. Before the Chatterley trial, gay fiction was incredibly hard to find. As literature it rarely passed muster, but as a unifying force for lonely, isolated men it was invaluable."
"I asked lots of gay readers and writers of both sexes if they saw the development of gay and lesbian writing as two pieces of the same story. Nobody did, so I focused on men this time. I excluded most poetry because: a) there's a vast amount of it, poetry being a good way to write cryptically, deniably, about taboo subjects; and b) almost all of it is appalling."

Neil Pearson interviewed in The Independent On Sunday.
Pearson has just compiled They Were What They Were: A Catalogue of Early Gay Fiction 1862-1960.
Copies of the catalogue are available from Natalie Galustian Rare Books, 22 Cecil Court, WC2N 4HE (0207 240 6822).
Free download version.
The book above - The Boys On The Rock by John Fox - saved my life when I was 17, and meant as much to me as Morrissey.


  1. I will deffo read that.

    What's that poofs on the beach or whatever it's called like?

  2. It's amazeballs.
    I well up just thinking about it, and press copies on other people...
    I think I've got a spare somewhere if you want one.

  3. Send me your address -