fine writing by lesbians and gay men since 1999
‘Congratulations to Paradise Press for surviving so long in a hostile climate (or worse, an indifferent one). Small-press years are like dog years, and it's great that you're still wagging your tail.’ Adam Mars-Jones
A Life’s Tales, a charming and sensitive memoir of a lost age by Joseph Hucknall,
and Nothing Stays the Same, Elizabeth Lister’s final novel in her trilogy which picks up where she left off at the end of My Life Outside,
are now available as e-books AND paperbacks. ALL our e-books are available for kindle and e-pub formats and can be downloaded from our website.
US Accolade for Paradise Press author Rod Shelton
His novel, Bokassa’s Last Apostle is shortlisted in the ‘gay mystery’ category of the prestigious Lambda Literary Awards in the USA.
Now in their twenty-fifth year, the Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2012. Winners will be announced during a ceremony on Monday evening, June 3, 2013, in New York.
In Bokassa’s Last Apostle, we follow the fortunes and misadventures of Everton Jones, a mixed-race gay boy from Dudley, who is in London for a mysterious meeting with a solicitor who has ‘something of his father’s’ to give him. A father who went back to Africa and promptly vanished when Everton was two years old. But things do not go according to plan, when he is lured into an alley and beaten unconscious and then robbed of everything he had … including his clothes. When he comes to he runs for safety, arriving unwittingly on Hampstead Heath after dark. He is rescued by a couple of outreach workers distributing condoms and together they romp all over the London gay scene to find out how the father he never knew stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and – more importantly – where he hid them before his followers – or ‘Apostles’ – the world and his brother get there first.
Rod Shelton’s first novel competed against established authors, some with many titles to their name, in this category and we are delighted his book has been found worthy by the judges to make the shortlist against strong competition.
‘a fast paced and picaresque romp – funny, sexy and intriguing’ – Polari Magazine
‘Alice in Wonderland on poppers’ – Gay Times
‘pounds with a fury towards a brilliantly neat ending’ – Gscene Magazine
‘blackly comic – high drama meets high camp’ – Polari Magazine
‘I enjoyed every page of it’ – Gscene Magazine
‘you’ll be laughing at this little diamond all the way back to the airport’ – Gay Times
‘pacy and funny’ – Midland Zone Magazine
‘reminiscent of Tom Sharpe – like Great Expectations full of memorable characters’ – Gscene Magazine
Pictures from the launches of four new Paradise Press titles and our celebration of LGBT poetry in February
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And we launched two further titles at Housmans bookshop on Wednesday 27th Feb. See below for details. Pictures are above.
Two Book Launches in February
as part of LGBT History Month
We will be at the Canada Water Library, at 7pm on 5 February to launch The Best of Gazebo – A collection of short stories drawn from our in-house short story journal, Gazebo which, now in its fourteenth issue contains much we are proud of. Selected and polished until they gleam by editor Michael Harth the best of our unpublished work-in-progress is collected here for your delight.
At the same event, Paradise Press author Elizabeth Lister will launch Nothing Stays the Same, the final book of her trilogy. Completing the story where Prisoner 537 and My Life Outside left off, it charts the life and loves of Dee Livesey and Helen Burns. (see below for more details).
The library is right next to Canada Water tube station on the Jubilee line and Overground. Both are fully accessible. Refreshments will be available. The event is free and there is no need to book. There is a map here. (Supported by a grant from Southwark LGBT Network.)
Eros at Large, an anthology of ‘tales of desire’ by members of the Gay Author’s Workshop is published at the same time. Twenty-seven stories by seventeen authors each with a different take on the theme of how the erotic impulse affects our lives. Some funny, some raunchy, some for boys and some for girls and all entertaining.
There is a map here: http://tinyurl.com/2oq9vv and the bookshop's website is: www.housmans.com. The venue is fully accessible. Refreshments available. The event is free and there is no need to book although facebook users can get further details and RSVP by clicking the button below. If you do, don’t forget to invite your friends!
We are delighted to announce that we have arranged an e-book distribution arrangement with Troubador. This will see our e-books in all the principal e-book retailers. So look for them in the Apple ibookstore, Barnes & Noble’s nook shop, Kobo store and many others, as well as on Amazon’s Kindle store. Of course, our e-books will remain available to download from our own website.
A celebration of LGBT poets past and present – the evening will feature a number of Paradise Press authors. Jeffrey Doorn co-editor of Oysters and Pearls: poems by gay men and women will talk about and read from the anthology which was published to mark Gay Authors’ Workshop 30th (pearl) anniversary. John Dixon will read from his book Seeking, Finding, Losing – a sequence of short poems charting a brief affair. There will also be readings of classic poems – including work from W. H. Auden, Audre Lorde and Langston Hughes – and an opportunity for the audience to contribute some of their favourite LGBT poems.
Nearest Tube: Elephant and Castle. There is a map here. The event is free and there is no need to book.
My Life Outside, by Elizabeth Lister joins Prisoner 537 in e-book form. The third book in the trilogy, Nothing Stays the Same, hot of the presses as a paperback will join them as an e-book early next year.
Gay Life, Straight Work, Donald West’s frank memoir of a career working as distinguished professor of Criminology, psychology, sexology and the paranormal and simultaneous adventures with rent boys and hard sex, available in paperback since March now appears as our eigth e-book.
A short History of Lord Hyaena, Elsa Wallace’s hypnotic novella about a fantasy realm soaked in blood and drugs and its transformation by her gender-bending hero, has gone out of print and is brought to life as an e-book only, completed with a new and deeply poignant final chapter.
ALL our e-books are available for kindle and e-pub formats and can be downloaded from our website.
Best of Gazebo is a collection of the best unpublished ‘work in progress’ gleaned from our short story journal, Gazebo. These little gems have been selected and polished by editor Michael Harth and now appear for the first time in book form.
This selection of 28 titles by 18 different authors covers a variety of forms: short stories, excerpts from novels, work in progress, some non-fiction and the odd poem. The majority have a decidedly gay or lesbian outlook, with a variety of settings, genres and time-scales, but the emphasis throughout is on entertainment.
Nothing Stays the Same, the final book in Elizabeth Lister’s trilogy charting the life and loves of Dee Livesey and Helen Burns is also published this year.
Dee Livesey’s long term relationship is challenged by the increasingly unsettled situation between herself and her now retired partner, Jane Pennyfields. Her friends Helen and Annabel return from Paris to live in England. Difficult times are ahead for all four friends.
In this third story of her trilogy Elizabeth Lister presents issues that are not just the substance of heroines and fiction but problems that have to be tackled by women in all walks of life.
After Prisoner 537 and then My Life Outside (both now available as paperbacks AND e-books), Elizabeth Lister’s third story reveals her confident knowledge of her characters and a sensitive handling of the plot … ‘It’s very real’ – from one of her critics.
Click on the image to go to the book’s page to get yours!
launch on 20 August 2012
TWO more titles from Paradise Press are being launched on 20 August 2012 in a party on board the Wibbly Wobbly floating bar, moored alongside Greenland Dock, Rotherhithe, SE16, on Monday, 20 August, 2012 at 7pm.
An unusual venue, chosen because it features as an important setting in Rod Shelton’s Bokassa’s Last Apostle. Elizabeth Lister is also launching the sequel to her novel, Prisoner 537: My Life Outside, second in a trilogy to be completed probably next year.
Bokassa’s Last Apostle is a funny, racy, pacy thriller, in which we follow the exploits of naïve mixed-race gay boy, Everton Jones, beginning with him running stark naked onto Hampstead Heath.
We follow his adventure as, aided and abetted by a colourful cast of characters, he romps all over the London gay scene to find out how the Central African father he never knew stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and – more importantly – where he hid them before this followers, or ‘Apostles’, get there first.
Read about the author’s journey, a reading on Hampstead Heath which had an totally unexpected outcome, the e-book version and book promotions here: www.rshelton.org
The details of the launch event are here for both books.
Gay Life, Straight Work at Gay’s the Word bookshop
on 1 March 2012
Ever likely Gay’s the Word was crammed to the rafters as distinguished Professor of Criminology, Sexology and the Paranormal, Donald West launched his memoir Gay Life, Straight Work on 1 March 2012.
Maybe it was because he wrote a book called Homosexuality back in 1955 which, whilst viewed with post-modern eyes might be considered differently, argued for tolerance in an age where that was in very short supply and, it could be said, was influential in making the law reform decriminalising gay sex possible.
Or had word got out that he was going to spill the beans on how a private life visiting rent boys sometimes got in the way of a prominent public career?
Whatever the reason, his book, which is currently selling like hot cakes – or should that be ‘glowing buns’ (?) – seems to be hitting a nerve.
After the launch, QX Magazine featured an interview with Donald, pictures from which are reproduced below. The entire issue of QX can be downloaded from here.
We are rightly proud that Paradise Press author Rex Batten’s Rid England of This Plague was selected to be read at the monthly LGBT book group at Gay’s the Word bookshop.
Set during the 1950s purge of gay men and the attendant risks of arrest, social disgrace, blackmail etc., Rex chose to write a fictional account of two men trying to live what we would nowadays consider just a normal gay relarionship.
Written five years ago it has consistently sold well, and explained a bygone era to a new audience for whom the paranoia of the period must seem almost completely incomprehensible.
at Gay’s the Word Bookshop
The Monkey Mirror – a collection of animal ghost stories by Elsa Wallace, Seeking, Finding, Losing – a collection of short poems by John Dixon, People Your Mother Warned You About – an anthology of short stories by members of the Gay Author’s Workshop (GAW), Behind the Mask – a novella by emerging black gay writer Winston Green and Oysters and Pearls – an anthology of poetry by GAW members all launched at Gay’s the Word Bookshop on 14 November 2011.
The Queer Businessman by Paul Mann launched at the same event, as did the e-book version of Ian Stewart’s short story collection Cocksuckery
See below for details. Here are the photographs:
for the 2011 Polari First Book Prize
Homo Jihad has been shortlisted for the inaugural Polari First Book Prize 2011, it was announced on 19 September 2011 at the Southbank Centre.
Named after ‘London’s peerless gay literary salon’ Polari (set up by Time Out’s Gay & Lesbian Section editor, Paul Burston) this is the 1st year of the Polari First Book Prize, which celebrates poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction exploring the queer experience. The judging panel includes Paul Burston, Suzi Feay (associate editor at The Financial Times), Rachel Holmes (Southbank Centre’s Head of Literature and Spoken Word), Fiona McMorrough (Founder and CEO of FMcM Associates) and Joe Storey-Scott (books buyer at Prowler). Rachel Holmes said: ‘This is a very strong list of robustly diverse voices and genres’.
The winner will be announced at the Polari 4th Birthday on 21 November at the Southbank Centre.
Homo Jihad is the debut novel by first-time author Timothy Graves. Set in 2005 against the backdrop of suicide bombings both in London and Jerusalem, Homo Jihad centres on David Underwood, a hopeless romantic and regular on the gay scene in London, who meets Yossi, an Israeli Jew, at a nightclub. A long distance relationship develops and David gradually uncovers the truth behind Yossi’s past.
Things become complicated when Ahmed, his ex and a Muslim from the UAE, suddenly reappears. The novel takes in religious intolerance and homophobia, GHB abuse, a mysterious veiled woman and a flatmate who discovers enlightenment through Buddhism.
The book’s title comes from the alternative interpretation of ‘jihad’ as being an inner, personal struggle to overcome difficulties – the jihad of the heart and soul, as opposed to the jihad of holy war.
In one sense, each of the main characters faces their own inner jihad or struggle. David faces the inner demons of drug addiction, Yossi begins to grieve for his murdered ex-partner and part of Ahmed’s struggle is to begin the journey of becoming an openly gay Muslim.
‘Homo Jihad is frank, fierce, and could not be more topical.’ —Suzi Feay, literary critic and associate editor of the Financial Times
‘Comparisons are drawn between the violence perpetrated in the name of religion and the self harm associated with the excesses of the gay scene. There is much to admire. Homo Jihad is an impressive debut from an exciting new voice in gay fiction.’ —Time Out
‘Graves has created a truly extraordinary first novel a writer to watch.’ —Attitude
‘Homo Jihad is a high-octane account of a gay love affair set in a world of chemical highs and religious fervour.’ —Paul Burston.
‘For all the jet setting and cross-cultural fraternising (Jews, Arabs, Vauxhall club kids) the heart of this novel is quintessentially British. In the end, everything turns out as sweet as an EM Forster novel.’ —Gay Times
‘An inspiring culture clash.’ —QX magazine
‘Its a beautiful book. It’s fun. It’s funny. It’s great to read a book where you recognise yourself in the pages and the city you live in. Graves writes about the male body and the intimacy between men very beautifully.’ —Gaydar Radio
Homo Jihad is published by Paradise Press and was launched at Gay’s The Word bookshop on 20 May 2010.
FIVE NEW TITLES FROM PARADISE PRESS TO LAUNCH AS PART OF GFEST IN NOVEMBER
download the full press release here
Join us at Gay’s the Word bookshop in Marchmont Street at 7pm on 14 November as we celebrate the launch of our latest titles. Wine is available and there's no need to book, just turn up. Nearest tube: Russell Square.
Elsa Wallace’s third title from Paradise Press is The Monkey Mirror, a collection of fourteen unsettling short stories depicting situations where human and animal lives meet. Set in Britain and Africa, some outcomes are good and some less so.
Behind the Mask by Winston Green. A semi-fictional no-holds-barred account of an affair between a British-Caribbean and an African man charting the gradual decline in the relationship as differences in outlook and sexual mores come to the fore.
John Dixon’s sequence of short poems, Seeking, Finding, Losing chart a brief affair - outside - casual to a comeback-overnight, a return visit to live-in, more detailed exploration, uncertainty, rejection of proffered verse, uncertainly confirmed and back to casual. Fifteen other poems on a wide range of topics complete the collection.
People Your Mother Warned You About, edited by G Abel-Watters, is an anthology of writing by lesbians and gay men. Who did your mother warn you about? Friends who are not all they seem? Suspicious neighbours or that black-sheep relative? Dirty Old Men, or young ones on the scrounge? Falling in with drunkards and criminals, or coming to the same bad end as your sister? Foreign tourists or the clan in the next valley? Or just people Like That?
Paul Mann’s The Queer Businessman published by Paradise North, is also launching at the Paradise Press event.
Oysters and Pearls, a collection of poetry by lesbians and gay men, re-launches alongside our other titles
And, if that weren’t enough, as part of a programme to roll out our titles as e-books as well as in print, we are delighted to announce the return of Ian Stewart’s Cocksuckery in e-book form, alongside e-book versions of The Monkey Mirror, and Behind the Mask. It is anticipated that the other Paradise Press titles launching this November will be ready in time as e-books.
The short story journal from Gay Authors Workshop is now available from Paradise Press. Check out the latest number here
The latest publication from Paradise Press is Homo Jihad, a powerful first novel from Timothy Graves - one of the rare titles to depict the contemporary gay scene in London.
Londoner David Underwood must choose between his new lover, an Israeli Jew, and his ex, Ahmed, who suddenly comes back into his life. It's a "compelling gay love story capturing the zeitgeist" (Amjeed Kabil, author of Straightening Ali), that is bound to grip readers from every social and religious background.
Click for more details and to order your copy (p&p free).
Gay's The Word bookshop in London was full to overflowing at the launch of Homo Jihad in May as these pictures show. Extracts from the novel were warmly received, particularly because it is one of the rare books to depict the contemporary gay scene in London.
Best of Gazebo
A selection of some of the best writing, prose and poetry, from our short story journal Gazebo. Edited by Paradise Press authors, Elizabeth Lister and Michael Harth.
Eros at Large
A selection of Erotic writing by members of the Gay Authors’ Workshop. Edited by Paradise Press author Michael Harth.
Guru on Hire
Michael Harth’s forthcoming novel, about a male escort and his relationship with a client who turns out to be a Guru with a number of disciples.
A Life’s Tales
Joseph Hucknall’s memoir, spanning decades of change and a personal journey in search of self-improvement.
The Open Season for Mongooses
The latest Paradise Press offering by prolific author Paul Mann. The Open Season for Mongooses is a collection of short stories.