“Along their separate journeys, Greenwell and Conley crossed paths in the Balkans, and the two writers stayed in touch. The Gay Invasion was not intended as a pride parade through bookstores by promising new gay writers whose works have been praised for their lush, poetic prose, as well as their compassionate portrayals of the complexities that accompany the ongoing task of reconciling one’s queer identity within a conservative climate. The tour was, in fact, an extension of their bonded mission of LGBT youth activism. Having both taught in high schools, Greenwell and Conley said they continually encountered the same kind of shaming among their students that they had experienced in their own childhoods."
"Garrard Conley's 'Boy Erased' opens in a way that reminds me, eerily, of Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaid's Tale.'"
BOY ERASED is in the Sunday Times: "Many readers of “Boy Erased” will be as enraged as Conley. But they will also see the story through the lens of his compassion for those who genuinely thought they were trying to help, particularly his mother, who’s finally the one to say, “We’re stopping all of this now,” when Conley reaches the breaking point. And if nothing else, these books show how many different paths there are to helping. They’re all flawed in their own ways, but as Gaines writes of his imperfect family, “We were just another frayed thread in an infinite tapestry.” The key — for memoirists and for anyone, really — is knowing just how hard to pull."
I'll be teaching a series of classes on memoir at the following places this Fall. Check below for details:
Sackett Street Writers' Workshop - TBA
Love this post from Unabridged Bookstore: "This memoir about Garrard's time spent in an Ex-Gay camp in Arkansas will disarm you with its candid vulnerability and gut you with both its beauty and its horror. An important, absolutely captivating read."
Here's my latest article, in VICE: "The lie on offer from this year's iteration of the Republican Party is that freedom exists in a vacuum, that everyone in our country has complete access to freedom at all times, and that safety is a matter of personal choice."
My piece is up at TIME now. The GOP's introduction of language supporting conversion therapy is extremely dangerous. Help spread the word.
I loved speaking with Todd Summar for Lambda Literary. Our conversation lasted roughly 2 hours, and I never wanted it to end. Todd is thoughtful and sharp, and his words are so generous here:
"Boy Erased is not an expose, not a self-help book or sentimentally sensational tell-all. Instead, it is a nuanced, sharply written work of art. Conley’s prose is evocative and lush, allowing the reader to understand the confusion and frustration endured, not only by him, but also his mother and father whom, ultimately, regrettably, thought they were doing the right thing."
A few facts:
- Only 5 states in the US have banned conversion therapy
- 76% of LGBT population lives in states with no laws banning conversion therapy for minors
- Conversion therapy has been responsible for dozens of suicides, including trans teen Leelah Alcorn