Creatures! The fabulous Knight Errant Press are currently crowdfunding to get their first publication, F, M or Other – Quarrels With The Gender Binary, off the ground. KEP discuss why Queer Quarrels is important:
“Gender is an elusive subject. Gender is deeply personal and subjective. It depends on who’s asking, who’s looking and who is living it. But it is also objective, rooted in history and a harsh, confining, reality for some. This anthology – a collection of short stories, essays, poems and comics – explores the subject without forcing certainty and definition upon it’s reader in a quarrelsome, uncompromising way. We think it offers something for everyone through a wide range of perspectives on the nature of gender, how we define it and ultimately how we identify ourselves.”
I’ve contributed the essay Authentic(ated) Author – Writing and (Gender) Identity (below is a teaser to give you a little taster). The essay covers identity, gender, authenticity, race, political correctness, appropriation, the idea that women can only write women characters authentically and men can only write male characters authentically, the still sadly prevalent and ridiculous idea that women writers are inferior, examining the way we tenaciously cling on to gender norms and what implications this has for authorship, and questioning our obsession with an author’s (authentic?) identity in the first place. You might not agree with all or some of my essay, but the purpose of Queer Quarrels is to get you thinking, discussing, debating. As well as being a great anthology for all, I think it will be a brilliant tool for writers and other artists.
Queer Quarrels is just over halfway funded with 8 days to go. It’s an important book – snap up one of the rewards on offer and help make it happen.
Authentic(ated) Author [extract]:
“Why are we so obsessed with authenticity? The Laura Albert/JT LeRoy story is an extreme example of this. When it was discovered that Albert wrote the novels, that J.T. LeRoy’s backstory was made up and he was actually Albert’s sister-in-law playing the part of author, many of the headlines read ‘Literary Hoax’. Leaving aside the ethics of having relationships (both personal and professional) with people under false pretences, it wasn’t a literary hoax; the work was written by Albert and it’s fiction. The paratext and epitext surrounding Albert/LeRoy’s work raises many interesting questions about our obsession with an author’s identity, their lived experience, and authenticity.
Authenticity rests on the assumed stability and coherence of the identity of the author, as well as the assumption that an author’s identity, or biography as presented to the public, is a ‘truth’. For example, Sarah Gamble writes about the life and writings of Angela Carter, and stated that in Carter’s life, as well as in her work, “nothing is ever unified, or exists on one level alone” (Gamble, 2006). Carter states that “writing is not necessarily a personal activity, not a personal experience of my feelings or personality, but an articulation of a whole lot of feelings and ideas that happen to be around at the time” (Gamble, 2006). She goes on to say that a part of what she does in her writing is “demythologising things” (Gamble, 2006). There wouldn’t be scope for this if she could only write female protagonists, and if these characters then had to conform to gender norms to be ‘authentic’.”