Writers on Writing

Inspired by pride and our bookstore window celebrating LGBTQIA authors this month we decided to look to some of our favorite authors writing about the queer perspective.



Chinelo Okparanta:

"like Achebe, I am the product of the Igbo oral storytelling tradition; this tradition has perhaps had the strongest influence on my work. It is also true that I write a lot about Nigerians. But no, I don’t feel that I am writing as part of an established Nigerian canon. I’m simply writing: Writing from a place of emotional truth. Writing about things that move me. I think it would be a mistake for any writer to write with the intention of entering a particular canon, or with the intention of being part of any trend. By the time the work is done, the trend might have moved on; the canon might have been redefined and re-set. Canons often change."

From Electric Literature




Nicole Dennis-Benn


But before I could begin to accept the rejection that comes with being a writer or begin to write freely, I had to welcome myself — including the part of me that I threw in the trash can behind my father’s building years before. I had to face life’s other rejections head-on — the rejection that comes with being the daughter of the other woman; the rejection that comes with being from a working-class background; the rejection that comes with being a darker-skinned Jamaican; the rejection that comes with being an immigrant; the rejection that comes with being a woman; the rejection that comes with being black in America; the rejection that comes with being lesbian; the rejection that comes with veering away from tradition to pursue my passion; the rejection that comes with finally having the courage to embrace my truths.

From PowellsBooks.Blog



Edmund White


States of Desire was an attempt to see the varieties of gay experience and also to suggest the enormous range of gay life to straight and gay people—to show that gays aren’t just hairdressers, they’re also petroleum engineers and ranchers and short-order cooks. Once I’d written States of Desire I felt it was important to show one gay life in particular depth, rather than all of these lives in a shorthand version. A Boy’s Own Story and its sequel, The Beautiful Room Is Empty, grew out of that.

From The Paris Review



James Baldwin


When you’re writing, you’re trying to find out something which you don’t know. The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don’t want to know, what you don’t want to find out. But something forces you to anyway.

From Brain Pickings



Sarah Waters


Critics, and people in general, are less inclined now to refer to you as a gay writer than when you started out. Does that cheer you?

I do feel cheered about it, but at the same time if I do an event where it doesn’t get mentioned, I think: “Hang on a minute, the book is about lesbian experience; this story could only happen in this particular way because the characters are involved in a lesbian relationship.” I’d hate that to get blurred or lost.

From The Guardian