equal4all

Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

Meet Christopher Rice … From Author to Head of the Lammy Awards

In Being Gay, Dating, Gay Business, Gay Celebrity, Gay NYC, Literature, NYC, Relationships on May 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm

 

Author Christopher Rice

Author Christopher Rice

 

 

Christopher Rice – you’ve heard of him without a doubt. Perhaps you’ve even read one of his novels. The accomplished author and all-around pure talent talks to Equal4all about how he came to head the Lambda Literary Foundation, how he has been involved philanthropically in the past, and what may be in store for him in the near future.

E4A: Mr. Rice, please tell us a little bit about how you first got involved with Lambda Literary Foundation:

My first novel A Density of Souls was actually nominated for a Lammy (I lost to a great mystery writer named John Morgan Wilson.). I was aware of the Foundation but I didn’t know much about them. Years later, the great Katherine Forrest decided to spearhead an effort to bring Lambda into the next century. She asked me to join her on the Board, and after a year of listening to me contributing ideas about how the Foundation could respond to the seismic changes taking place in the publishing industry, she asked me to succeed her as Board President when it came time for her to step down.

 

The Bottomline Magazine featuring author Christopher Rice

The Bottomline Magazine featuring author Christopher Rice

E4A: How long have you been involved with the LLF?

Almost three years. This year’s Awards will mark my first anniversary as President.

E4A: How many attendees are you expecting this year?

We are expecting around three hundred attendees, which is wonderful news for us. We traditionally hold the Lammys in concert with the Book Expo of America. Publishers are in the habit of flying many of their authors in for the Expo, so this means a lot of our nominees will be in attendance. But New York always brings out a wonderful crowd. The last time we held the Awards in New York was two years ago and we were packed to the rafters!

E4A: What other big names in the LGBT world have been involved with the LLF in the past? How many are taking part in this year’s soiree?

In past years, our Bridge Builder Awards have honored such luminaries as Judy Shepherd and Betty DeGeneres. This year, we’re very thrilled to have Broadway veteran Joe Hardy directing the ceremony itself. And personally, I’m most excited about the recipients of our Pioneer Awards. One of them is Leslie Feinberg, author of Stone Butch Blues, and one of our nation’s most esteemed transgender activists. And I have the personal honor of presenting our other Pioneer Award to the remaining members of the Violet Quill Club: Edmund White, Felice Picano and Andrew Hollerhan. The evening will be hosted by Scott Nevins, a charming and adorable up-and-coming cabaret performer, and the audience is sure to be a who’s who of LGBT publishing, including the great Don Weise, who just took over Alyson Books.

E4A: What do you and your team look for while compiling a list of those who qualify as finalists for this event?

Each category has its own individual panel of judges who review and discuss all of the submissions in their category before narrowing down a list of finalists. Judges are asked to give primary consideration to the quality of the work and its LGBT content. Their discussions are absolutely confidential. Because we give out so many different awards in so many different genres, Lambda works tirelessly to handpick appropriate and dedicated judges. It’s a massive task and I think we do a fine job of it.

E4A: Where do you feel that the LLF fits in in the fight for LGBT equality and the struggle with human rights?

The truth about our lives is most effectively communicated via the written word. Despite proliferating representations of LGBT people in film and television, books continue to offer clear portraits of who we are and how we love. And when so many forces in our society seek to render us invisible, the act of recording our history and collecting our personal stories remain a critical tool for advancing our civil rights.

E4A: Have you been philanthropic in the past? If so, with what organizations?

I’ve given to many organizations, but Lambda Literary is truly my calling.

E4A: Please give advice to those in the LGBT community who are struggling with who they truly are:

What other people think of you is none of your business. What other people do to you is an opportunity to respond with the best of who you are.

E4A: Besides being an amazingly talented writer, what other qualities and attributes would you like to acquire in the future?

You are too kind. How can I even answer this question? Currently, I think it’s important for me to do what I can, with what I have, where I am. Isn’t that how the saying goes? I’m very grateful for the life I have been allowed to lead. I have been provided with tremendous opportunities and I hope that I can help bring visibility to LGBT writers who are suffering in the current marketplace.

E4A: How would you describe your writing style?

Lean, visual, suspenseful and dark.

E4A: What’s in store for you in the next 5 months or so career wise?

I just finished up a rewrite on my forthcoming novel The Moonlit Earth, which Scribner will publish in April 2010. It’s circulating at the house right now which means notes will be forthcoming. Aside from that, I’m toying with the idea of writing a screenplay for a horror film. But for the next few weeks, Lambda Literary is first and foremost in my mind.

E4A: Are you currently dating anyone? What’s your idea of the “perfect” man?

Is this a literary question? I am not currently involved in a serious relationship. I do not believe there is any such thing as “the perfect man.”

E4A: What are your thoughts on LGBT marriage?

It is absolutely essential the gay and lesbian people are treated equally under the law.

QUICK, ON YOUR TOES:

Snickers or Milkyway?

Snickers

Favorite pizza topping?

Sausage

What kind of car do you drive?

Lexus

If you could have lunch with any writer, living or deceased, who would it be with and why? What you like to gain from that encounter?

Ross MacDonald. His mysteries has a profound impact on me, and from what I’ve read, he could be a gentle, considerate man. He is responsible for popularizing a vision of Southern California that drew me here, a vision with more depth and subtlety in it that the hardboiled noir landscapes of Raymond Chandler.

*Black and white photo credit: Gwen + Eddie Photography

Interview conducted and edited by J. Federico

Advertisements