Posts by Chris:
In November 2017, I got to travel to Austin, Texas for the Austin International Drag Festival. I’ve been a fan of drag for a long time, but I had noticed in the months preceding the trip that something had changed. After ten years under the radar, RuPaul’s Drag Race had moved into the mainstream (switching to VH1 and garnering several Emmy noms/wins). Suddenly, what was once relegated to the dark corners of gay bars was on TV screens around the world and flooding social media. There were drag tours, cruises, conventions, festivals. All of a sudden, having a full-time career as a drag queen seemed like a viable option.
When I found out about this new festival (where both queens and kings could perform, hone their skills and network) I knew I had to find out who was going. I pitched my editors and then they sent me, along with photographer Matt Nager, to capture the colourful people we met. And they came from all over – Canada, Australia, the UK, Berlin, Hawaii, Alaska.
I don’t think I’ve ever had this much fun on an assignment. And to be nominated for something I so loved doing is such an honour.
You can read the story here.
Blue Metropolis started last night. I’ve been meaning to write about it for some time, but keep putting it off. The last few months have been a downhill toboggan ride with all eyes focused on the destination: reading, emails, scripts, question lines, press relations. I am pretty exhausted. Wish me luck this week.
But regardless, I am very much proud of the program I pulled together for Violet Metropolis (the LGBTQ leg of Blue Metropolis). It wasn’t without its challenges (won’t go into that here), but in the end I was able to produce eight events in two languages featuring two dozen writers. It’s like its own festival within a festival. There are readings, on-stage interviews, round tables, an award ceremony, and events in both English and French.
You can read all more about Violet Metropolis here.
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The book has been out for five years now, so it’s always nice when someone draws attention to it again. So you can imagine how thrilled I was to see Victor Dwyer compare my book to Andrew Sean Greer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book Less on CBC Radio.
I haven’t read Greer’s book yet (I have it, and hope to get to it once I finish the books I’m reading for Blue Met) but I’m intrigued. I think Victor did a great job of explaining the parallels between the two. I hope this means more people will discover my book.
You can listen to Victor speak to Shelagh Rogers on The Next Chapter here.
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Like so many others, I’m getting sick of Facebook. I keep flirting with the idea of cancelling my account, but I can’t (at least not now). Facebook has also been making it difficult for me to reach Violet Hour members without spending money. I’ve also noticed that many people are not online and only learn of my events through friends or through Fugues. I need to find a way to reach them as well.
So, I’ve started the Violet Letter mailing list to keep people informed about various LGBTQ literary events in the city. Right now, it’s just for my events. But with time (and energy) I hope to extend it to include events curated by others as well.
If you want to keep informed, please sign up below.
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So, I’m starting a book club.
The Violet Hour Book Club will meet (hopefully) four times a year to discuss modern or classic works of LGBTQ literature. Ideally, the author will also join us (either in person, or by Skype).
The book we are starting with is The Sparsholt Affair, by Man Booker Prize-winning author Alan Hollinghurst. It’s a sprawling epic, following the lives of a group of friends from the 1940s to the modern age, exploring the changing times and evolving views of sexuality. Right now, I am on page 101 and loving it.
We’ll be getting together at Never Apart on Saturday, November 3 to discuss our thoughts, and, with Penguin Random House’s help, we’ve been able to get the author to join us for part of it via Skype (yikes!).
Paragraph Bookstore is also a partner and they have offered a 30% discount on the title for our members, which is great. Hopefully, with these partnerships in place, we can make a big splash to begin. And if this works, I’d love to turn it into a larger thing, where we can get funds to help bring the writers to town.
If you are in Montreal, and want to join us – please do!
Saturday, November 3, 2018
12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.
At Never Apart, 7049 St Urbain St.
Facebook event: Click here.
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