40 Years of Gay's The Word: A Celebration

Gay's the word

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  • Full Price: £10.00 Member: £10.00 Under 18: £7.00 Other concessions available

An evening of conversation, stories and author readings

Damian Barr hosts an evening of conversation, poetry, stories and author readings from a range of special guests, including Kirsty Logan and Juno Dawson, to mark the 40th anniversary of the iconic bookshop, Gay’s the Word. Created to be a community resource as well as a bookshop, it is famed for nurturing the curiosity and wellbeing of the LGBT+ community. Surviving police raids, book seizures and homophobic harassment, today it is celebrated as a much-loved London institution with an international reputation.

Gay’s the Word, in Bloomsbury, was founded in early 1979 and named after the last musical written by Ivor Novello.  It was the UK’s first dedicated lesbian and gay bookshop. Numerous groups have met at the bookshop throughout its history. From 1984 to 1985 Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners convened there and collected money outside, as immortalized in the 2014 film Pride.

Damian Barr is an award-winning writer, journalist and host of his own infamous Literary Salon which premieres work from established and emerging writers.

Kirsty Logan

Kirsty Logan is a professional daydreamer. She is the author of two novels, The Gloaming and The Gracekeepers, and two story collections, A Portable Shelter and The Rental Heart & Other Fairytales. She lives in Glasgow with her wife and their rescue dog. She has tattooed toes.

Rikki Beadle-Blair is a playwright, director, actor, singer, songwriter,mentor and choreographer. Creator of the classic Channel 4 series, Metrosexuality, he also wrote and directed the critically acclaimed plays Bashment (Theatre Royal, 2005); Familyman (Theatre Royal, 2008), and FIT (Stonewall/Drill Hall, 2010). He is the creator and creative director of Team Angelica. Rikki is currently working on his next Feature film Taken In. A thriller set in the world of homeless youth. His self-help book What I Learned Today is available now through Team Angelica Books.

Jay Bernard (FRSL FRSA) is a writer from London. Their work is interdisciplinary, critical, queer and rooted in the archive. They won the 2018 Ted Hughes Award for Surge: Side A, a cross-disciplinary exploration of the New Cross Fire in 1981. Jay’s short film Something Said has screened in the UK and internationally, including Aesthetica and Leeds International Film Festival (where it won best experimental and best queer short respectively), Sheffield DocFest and CinemAfrica. Jay is a programmer at BFI Flare, an archivist at Mayday Rooms and resident artist at Raven Row. Their first collection, Surge, is out with Chatto and Windus in 2019.

Juno Dawson is an author of dark teen thrillers. Her first non-fiction book, Being a Boy, tackled puberty, sex and relationships in a frank and funny fashion, and a follow-up for young LGBT people, This Book is Gay. Her book, The Gender Games, is her look at gender and what that it means in science, society, media and culture today. Juno is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, GT and the Guardian, lives in Brighton and writes full time.

Philip Hensher’s novels include Kitchen Venom, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, Other Lulus and The Mulberry Empire. The Northern Clemency was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008 and Scenes From Early Life won the 2013 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. Philip is also a columnist for the Independent and chief book reviewer for the Spectator. He lives in South London.

UK poetry slam champion and Rio International Poetry Slam Winner, Keith Jarrett is a PhD scholar at Birkbeck University, where he is completing his first novel. His monologue, Safest Spot in Town, was aired on BBC Four, and his book of poetry, Selah, was published in 2017.

VG Lee is the author of five novels and a collection of short stories. In 2012, Lee was nominated for a Stonewall Award for writing. Her most recent novel, Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire was runner-up for the YLVA Publishing Literary Prize for Fiction 2017.  Lee is also one of the judges for the prestigious Polari First Book Prize established in 2007. Her second collection, Oh You Pretty Thing will be published in February 2019.

Jim MacSweeney came to the UK from Cork in 1982 to study drama. While living in London he came out as a gay man. After working for a number of years with Minority Rights Group he joined Gay's The Word in 1989 which he's managed for the last 22 years.

Richard Scott's poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies including Poetry Review, Poetry London, Swimmers, The Poetry of Sex and Butt Magazine. His pamphlet Wound, published by Rialto, won the Michael Marks Poetry Award 2016. His debut collection Soho was published Faber & Faber in 2018 and is shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and Costa Poetry Prize.

Andrew McMillan's debut award winning collection, physical, was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award and was shortlisted for numerous others including The Dylan Thomas Prize. His second collection, playtime, published in 2018, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for autumn 2018. He is senior lecturer at the Manchester Writing School at MMU and lives in Manchester.

Gregory Woods is the author of Articulate Flesh: Male Homo-eroticism and Modern Poetry, A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition and Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World. His main poetry collections, of which An Ordinary Dog was the most recent, are published by Carcanet Press. He is Emeritus Professor of Gay and Lesbian Studies at Nottingham Trent University.

Mary Jean Chan is a poet, editor and academic from Hong Kong. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem, and came Second in the 2017 National Poetry Competition. Her debut pamphlet, A Hurry of English, was selected as the 2018 Poetry Book Society Summer Pamphlet Choice and as one of the 2018 Gay's the Word Best Books of the Year. Mary Jean is a Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry) at Oxford Brookes University, a Ledbury Poetry Critic and an editor of Oxford Poetry. Her debut collection will be published by Faber & Faber in July 2019.

In partnership with Gay’s the Word


Name: 40 Years of Gay's The Word: A Celebration
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £10.00
Member: £10.00
Senior 60+: £8.00
Student: £7.00
Registered Unemployed: £7.00
Under 18: £7.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546