Tag Archives: lesbian author

Pioneering Author, Nancy Garden has Died Aged 76

Author, Nancy Garden – a lesbian pioneer in young adult fiction –  has sadly passed away

Garden was best known for the lesbian themed novel Annie on My Mind, about two girls at a New York high school who fall in love.

Published in 1982, the book received critical acclaim for its positive depiction of a same-sex relationship. Sadly, it was also attacked by social conservatives and the religious right and was banned by Kansas City schools for two years, until students brought a First Amendment lawsuit to put it back on shelves.

The book won Garden the ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Lee Lynch Classic Award by the Golden Crown Literary Society, and the Robert B. Downs Award for Intellectual Freedom. It was also ranked in School Library Journal among the top 100 books to have shaped the 20th century.

Annie on My Mind was one of the earliest American novels to depict a lesbian relationship that did not come to a tragic end, and in the 32 years since it was first published the book never went out of print.

When I was growing up as a young lesbian in the ’50s, I looked in vain for books about my people. I did find some paperbacks with lurid covers in the local bus station, but they ended with the gay character’s committing suicide, dying in a car crash, being sent to a mental hospital or “turning” heterosexual.’

Nancy Garden

Her literary career spanned four decades, writing more than 30 books – most aimed at teenagers, though some were written with younger children in mind. Supernatural themes were a recurring theme in her works with many of the stories she wrote involving werewolves and vampires.

She is survived by her long term partner Sandy Scott and their golden retriever Loki and their cats.

Writers Creating Awareness – Sarah Waters New Book Coming Out Soon

Sarah Waters is our ‘Writers Creating Awareness’ favourite for the month, and that is with good reason. The novelist, best known for her novels set in Victorian society and featuring lesbian protagonists, such as Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith, is back with a new book ‘The Paying Guests’. This week The Bookseller previewer Alice O’Keeffe dubbed the new novel “gripping tale of class, sex and the consequences of a passionate affair” and “indisputably at the top of her game”.

About the book – Well, it is set in 1922, and the backdrop of London is tense. Ex-servicemen are disillusioned; the out-of-work and the hungry are demanding change. And in South London, in a genteel Camberwell villa, a large silent house now bereft of brothers, husband, and even servants, life is about to be transformed, as impoverished widow Mrs. Wray and her spinster daughter, Frances, are obliged to take in lodgers. When Len and Lillian move in, Frances begins a tentative friendship with the latter, which soon grows into a full-blown affair.

The Paying Guest has taken Waters four years to write. The author told The Bookseller:

“I slowed down a bit because I had to get to know the period and [it] always takes time to feel at home in a period. There was more research than I’d had to do for the last book (The Little Stranger, 2009); I already knew the 1940s quite well. It was a much more challenging book to write than the last one, which was a very straightforward haunted house story. Even though there’s a strong plot to it, it’s quite character-driven.”

Waters also said:

“I always use lesbian desire to sort of upset something that we are familiar with. So with the other novels it would be taking a Victorian scenario that has been done to death a million times and putting lesbians into it and seeing what that does to it. With this novel it was a similar adventure.”