A Boxful of Ideas Contributors

Rex Batten was a student at RADA in the same class as Joe Orton. He eventually took up teaching. He has written plays for radio and produced several local history publications. He became a gay activ­ist and wrote Rid England of this Plague, based on personal experi­­ence of the 1950s purge when simply being gay was a crime. The book became a set book at Gender Studies courses and led to several television appearances.

Chris Beckett grew up in Ethiopia. He won the 2001 Poetry London Competition and second prize in Chroma 2006. His collec­tion, Ethiopia Boy, came out from Carcanet/Oxford Poets in 2013 and he is now trying to write about hunger in an Ethiopian context, and not just the Live Aid kind! Meanwhile, he is collaborating with his partner, the artist Isao Miura, on translating Bashō’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North into visual and textual images. The first ‘outing’ of this work, Sketches from the Poem Road, was shown at the Poetry Café, 2015, and the book from Hagi Press was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award. A much larger Sketches exhibition was held at the Glass Tank Gallery in Oxford Brookes University, summer 2016.

‘Lemon for Love’ was previously published in Ethiopia Boy and also in Ambit No. 208, April 2012.

Kathryn Bell was born in Glasgow and went to work in Africa where she met Elsa Wallace. She has been writing for about 25 years. Her stories have been published in Sappho, Capital Gay, Gazebo, The Green Queen and Queer Haunts. She produces the quarterly GAW Newsletter and edits The Green Queen. She would like to write a novel but – so she says – lacks the stamina. She enjoys folk music, chocolate and arguing.

‘A Dog’s Life’ was first published in The Green Queen, No. 6, May 2001. A version of ‘Hetty Garbage’ was first published in The Green Queen, No. 15, July 2010.

Tim Blackwell lives in North London with his dog, Olaf. He trained as an actor at The Webber Douglas Academy, and has wide experience performing in theatre and film. Tim writes prose and drama. Several of his plays have been produced at venues including The Young Vic and The Crucible Studio, Sheffield. A collection of his short fiction, The Bingo Caller and other stories, is published by Connaught Books.

Les Brookes is the author of Gay Male Fiction Since Stonewall: ideology, conflict and aesthetics. He published his first novel Such Fine Boys in 2013 and is currently at work on a second. He has twice been a prize-winner in the Cam­bridge Writers Short Story Competition. www.lesbrookes.com.

Ross Burgess lives in Purley with his husband, Roger, volunteering with LGBT groups and creating online articles for the UK LGBT Archive, www.lgbtarchive.uk. Before retirement he worked as an IT consultant and tech­nical author, and produced books on computer subjects. Having edited Out of the Shadows (Bona Street Press, 2010) and Diverse Performances (Paradise Press, 2014) he became com­missioning editor for Amiable Warriors, the history of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (Paradise Press: Volume One published 2015). Encouraged by Gay Authors Workshop, he’s recently started writing fiction for the first time since leaving school.

Andrew Cheffings writes: I am a Buddhist, practising Soto Zen and Pureland traditions. I have had OCD for 45 years and am currently having EMDR therapy. My writing is an important part of my healing journey and I have written hundreds of hymns called Hymns of Change in which I am working on the spirituality of moving from a very difficult mental outlook to, hopefully, a calmer one. I have been with my partner, Ian, for 26 years.

Daniel Clements lives in Cambridge as close as he can contrive to be to his office to save on bleary-eyed morning walks. While he now works in IT for the NHS, in the past he has dabbled in archaeology, education and cookery. Writing has always been a private affair, a way of organising different thoughts and feelings by pinning them on a piece of paper. This is, therefore, a terrifying experience for him. His interests outside of writing include board games, com­puters, science and anything else that can have the word ‘nerd’ ascribed to it.

Simon Dessloch studied Creative Writing at Birkbeck College. His stories have appeared in Nthposition, Faster than Life, Rouge and Mr X and in People Your Mother Warned You About.

‘The Worm Boy’ was previously published in the horror anthology Worms, edited by Alex Davis (Knightwatch Press, 2014).

John Dixon has had poems in Envoi, Chroma, Iota, Orbis, Nomad, Gazebo and Haiku Quarterly. His first volume was Seeking, Finding, Losing. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies and his volume of short stories, The Carrier Bag, includes the Bridport Prize-winning title story. The story ‘Comrades’ included in this volume won a prize at the Chorley Writer’s Competition. His novel Push harder Mummy, I want to come out is due for publication shortly.

He has edited Fiction in Libraries, and a volume of Ivor Treby’s unpublished poems. He co-edited the poetry anthology Coming Clean. He is at present drawing up an inventory of the stories and song lyrics by the late Michael Harth.

Jeffrey Doorn was born in New Jersey, and now lives with his civil partner in South London. His work has appeared in Gawp and Gaze, Queer Words, The Quarterly Review, Mandate, Gazebo, Queer Haunts, People Your Mother Warned You About, plus the poetry anthologies Slivers of Silver, Oysters and Pearls and Coming Clean, all of which he co-edited. He is active in his local civic society and Library Friends group, and also contributes to local history publications.

Pat Dungey writes: I was born in Luton, Bedfordshire. I came out at 31. I have recently stopped full-time teaching and am focussing on writing about my experiences and researching 1920s and 1930s women in London and Paris. I enjoy giving talks and visiting London galleries and museums for inspiration.

Writing these poems has got me through some difficult times. I hope the reader recognises the feelings in these words and feels less alone, at such times.

Steve Ferris writes: I am not a poet, I am a painter. It controls and colours everything I do. I have, despite that, written many poems including several sequences. Poems have appeared in the anthology Coming Clean. I am currently devoting my time to artwork, getting ready for summer shows and competitions. I recently had to move house and shifting the 10,000 finished paintings caused me no end of trouble: perhaps it will lead to another sequence?

David Gee has worked in London, Bahrain and Qatar. His first novel Florence of Arabia (under the pen-name David Godolphin), re­published as David Gee’s Shaikh-Down, anticipated the ‘Arab Spring’ by ten years, with a gay banker and an air hostess kick-starting a spicy revolution on a Persian Gulf island. He has pub­lished two dark social comedies set in his native Sussex: The Dropout and (from Paradise Press) The Bexhill Missile Crisis. Coming soon to Kindle, Howl and the Pussy-Kat features a soap-stud and a porn star cast in a remake of a Bette Davis weepie. Website and blog: www.davidgeebooks.com.

Ramon Gonzalez was born in Galicia (Spain) and has lived in London since 1971. He studied art first at Chelsea School of Art and later at Wimbledon School of Art where he obtained a degree in Fine Arts in 1982. One of his paintings was used to illustrate the book cover of A Life’s Tales by Joe Hucknall, his partner. Apart from the combined activities of painting and poetry, another main inter­est is philosophy on which subject he is writing a book (now near completion) which he intends to publish in the near future.

Michael Harth, who died in April 2016, was a founder member of GAW and a prolific writer and lyricist. He early gave up a conven­tional life and for many years was one half of a piano duo, performing original lyrics set to newly-composed music. He was editor of Lightning Fingers, a symposium on the British composer-pianist Billy Mayerl.

His short stories appeared in various gay magazines, going back to one of the first, Quorum. He produced three volumes of short stories, and edited two short story anthologies, as well as editing the GAW in-house magazine, Gazebo. He wrote three novels and at the time of his death was preparing for publication a trilogy about a gay priest.

Michael gave unfailing support and encouragement to other members of GAW and it is only right that his considerable volume of unpublished work be listed and prepared for safe-keeping in a gay archive, and an interim selection of un­published work be published by Paradise Press.

Joseph Hucknall was born in Cumbria and educated by seven siblings who came before him, then drafted into the army before drifting south as a protégé of Woolworth. Joe worked the system until he was found out and paid to take early retirement. He travelled extensively in comfort, picking up and dropping relation­ships until, late in life, he met his soulmate, Ramon Gonzalez, and handcuffed him into a civil partnership.

His first work, A Splendid Book for Lucky Children, written at four­teen, never made it into print. Joe has contributed to Gazebo and defunct minor poetry publications. For greater insight and reve­lations from boy to man read his memoir, A Life’s Tales.

Zekria Ibrahimi writes: I am a schizophrenic – someone always in fear of being sectioned. The psychiatric establishment is about middle-class conformity. I am doubly-disadvantaged – mentally disabled, and swarthy and ethnic, under a racist British society that cannot accept difference. Being categorised as elderly, I have grown scared of ageism everywhere.

Jeremy Kingston is a poet and playwright, the author of two novels and two children’s books, and for many years he was a theatre critic, for Punch and then for The Times. His most recent plays have been Oedipus at the Crossroads and Making Dickie Happy. His two poetry collections are On the Lookout (2008) and Who is he, who am I, who are they? (2013); a third, Risking It, is planned for 2017. He has recently completed a sequence of linked short stories, Eye to Eye, tracing responses to homosexual love down the centuries.

V. G. Lee lives and writes in Hastings, East Sussex. She is the author of a collection of short stories, As You Step Outside, and four novels. Her fifth novel, Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire, will be published in September 2016 by Ward Wood Publishing. In 2014 she won The Ultimate Planet award for Best Established Author. In her sixtieth year, she decided to become a stand-up comedian and is a regular per­former at Laughing Cows comedy nights in London, Birming­ham and Coventry. www.vglee.co.uk, www.facebook.com/‌val.g.lee, twitter.com/vglee_lee.

Elizabeth J. Lister began to write seriously after her seventieth birthday. Her aim to create suspenseful stories, in which her charac­ters live comfortably with their homosexuality, has resulted in short stories and five consecutive (stand-alone) novels in which women tackle real-life problems like prison sentences, rehabili­tation, single parenthood, unfaithful partners and homophobia. Love interweaves the plots! 1: Prisoner 537; 2: My Life Outside; 3: Nothing Stays the Same; 4: Tracy Manners; 5: Consequences.

Drew Payne has had work published in Chroma, Velvet Mafia, Creative Week, Out in the City, Gay Flash Fiction and ImageOut Literary Magazine; and in the anthologies, The Monster in My Closet, Eros at Large, and Boys in Bed. He writes regularly for Nursing Standard and NRC magazines. His sketches have been performed in the News Revue, the longest running satirical review show.

Christopher Preston is a playwright and dramaturg/director. His first play The Davids played to sell-out audiences for the London New Play Festival in 1999. His development of Underbelly (LNPF 1998) and Babel Junction (Maya Productions 2006) are favourite projects. Twenty-two Eighty-four was published by Paradise Press in 2014 and he is currently preparing an anthology of his plays. After working in UK theatre for 35 years, Christopher now lives in New Zealand, writing fiction and blogging about travel and the arts on www.christopherprestonwrites.com.

David Reade was born during the Second World War and grew up in Chelmsford before settling in London for 30 years. He now lives in Thailand. He has always distrusted all kinds of authority, including his father and his headmaster. He has composed many short stories, several appearing in the GAW Newsletter and the anthologies People Your Mother Warned You About and Eros at Large. He has written four novels and many poems.

Ivor Treby, who died in 2012, was a poet, early gay activist and member of Gay Authors Workshop. He produced five volumes of poetry between 1988 and 2000, but virtually abandoned writing to edit the poems of Michael Field, the pseudonym of two lesbian poetesses of the late nineteenth century. He resumed writing in 2006 and until his death wrote over sixty poems. A handful of these were published in small magazines, and a few surfaced at readings he gave to gay groups. These unpublished poems 2007–2012 were edited by John Dixon. The poems are generally short, genial and formally constructed. It seemed appropriate that his early un­published poem Another Gay Anthology should be included in this volume.

Leigh V. Twersky lives in London, where he was born. While he has had poems and short stories published before, he is delighted that this is his first for Paradise Press. He is currently adding the finishing touches to a gay-themed novel set in a dystopian Britain and working on a couple of novellas in what he recently learned could be described as the ‘gay insect horror’ sub-genre.

Elsa Wallace lived in Africa for the first 30 years of her life, and has been writing for 40 years, mostly short stories, which have featured in several anthologies. Her collections of short stories include The Monkey Mirror, Ghosts and Gargoyles and Kissy-Face. She has written a novel Merle and the novella Lord Hyaena. Her favourite authors are Dickens and Ivy Compton-Bennett.

Donald West studied medicine and specialised in psychiatry and sexology. He has authored eleven books on psychiatry and crimin­ology, including the pioneering Homosexuality (1955, rev. ed. 1968); Sexual Crimes and Confrontations (1987): Male Prostitution (1992) and Children’s Sexual encounters with Adults. His memoir Gay Life, Straight Work was published by Paradise Press in 2012. He has had several short stories published in anthologies. He was thrice Presi­dent of the Society for Psychical Research and is now an Honorary Vice-President of CHE.

Alice Frances Wickham is an Irish writer, living in South West London. She edits the popular blog site, newlondonwriters.com, which started out as a street zine in 1998 and featured such luminaries as Bette Bourne of Bloolips and the late, great Quentin Crisp. Alice works as a Medical PA and in her spare time, writes, blogs, edits, runs writers’ workshops, and occasion­­ally acts as a literary scout for London-based literary agencies. Alice has been published in Litro Magazine, Edge Maga­zine, and one or two other slipstream outlets. Currently working on a humorous novel set in Dublin about the problem of her non-binary identity.

Gregory Woods is the author of five poetry collections from Carcanet Press, the latest being Quidnunc (2007) and An Ordinary Dog (2011). Peter Porter called him ‘the poet with the sharpest technique for social verse in Britain today’. Sinead Morrissey called him ‘prob­ably, the finest gay poet in the United Kingdom’. His non-fiction includes Articulate Flesh: Male Homo-eroticism and Modern Poetry (1987), A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition (1998) and Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World (2016), all published by Yale University Press. He was the first professor of gay and lesbian studies in the UK. www.gregorywoods.co.uk.

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