Lots of people seem to be all excited about the presence of various books, named authors, lesbians or not, etc etc on the Green Carnation Prize longlist. Sigh. If I had an advance for every time I or a book of mine hasn’t made it on to some purportedly ‘gay’ list, I’d be a wealthy woman.
Other than the Stonewall Award (for The Room of Lost Things, not a partic ‘gay book’ in my opinion, though written by me, and with two gay characters), the only time a book of mine did make it on to a ‘gay’ list was the Big Gay Read, when Calendar Girl came 5= out of 100 or so, in a public vote. What cheered me no end about this was that Calendar Girl was the ONLY book in those top 5 that hadn’t been made into telly. Presumably then, the people voting for it had actually read the book. All good.
Every list will excite some kind of controversy. Personally I’m feeling for the people who’ve created the Green Carnation now, if I were them I might be thinking it’s more hassle than it’s worth. And isn’t that always the way with things for our gay ‘community’, we almost never just say “yep, that’s nice, I’d have chosen this book or that one instead, but well done for doing it anyway, for free and in your own time.”
Could we not just be pleased that ANYONE feels like taking on the onerous task of recognising gay* lit at all, at a time when, according to so many commentators gay lit is being ignored/hidden/silenced? (Though I’m not sure about this myself, the clear indication being that many – all? – of the books on this list are from mainstream publishers, and isn’t that a good thing?)
* Yes, gay = men in this case, but that’s hardly unusual, and I’d suggest to the lesbians complaining that it doesn’t include lesbian novels that er, we could do it ourselves if we wanted?!