50 years in 50 weeks: 1997 got booked
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Back in the mid-1990s, an explosion of lesbian and gay books continued to be published. I refrain from using the full LGBTQ acronym (few books by transgender or bisexual authors were published back then, and queer was still iffy).
But every author —and their eager publicists— knew the value of a good or even bad review in the Bay Area Reporter. It got your book noticed.
As an author myself, I understood that value. As the Arts Editor, now I'm on the receiving end, getting press releases every day for yet one more tome after another; memoirs, cookbooks, children's books, illustrated books, all kinds of books.
Unfortunately we can't publish them all these days, and we usually get PDFs instead of review copies, which back then would pile up in a box for freelancers to rummage through. We also had an annual entire section devoted to books.
One deserved standout was the work of Scott Heim, who revolutionized the literary world with poetic, disturbing, and beautiful prose about abuse, alien abductions and family interactions.
In our July 3 issue, Heim spoke with arts writer and editor Roberto Friedman about his inspiration, his work's rural settings, and his readers. He discussed his novel In Awe as his debut novel, Mysterious Skin, had yet to be adapted into the critically acclaimed film.
"A lot of my audience are people who maybe don't know the atmosphere of Kansas and that's one thing that sets me apart from another rider so why not just go crazy with it?"
For more literary history, visit https://archive.org/details/bayareareporter
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