Gaylit in the North West.

Recently two, what could be termed as gay activists have had books published. They both happen to come from the North West. Gaylit, what I'm calling books written by gays, doesn't seem to be mainstream here in Northern Ireland yet.So it's interesting to see these books 'out' there.I've just finished a book by Patrick Gale who Bron Sibree says is 'hailed as Britains most succesful gay novelist'.It was an interetsing read showing his insight into the intertwined lives of a family of which only one person turned out to be gay. I'd love to read some work by local writers who are gay and get an insight into the way they think and interact.The books recently published were written by Mauk Donnabhain and Stephen Birkett.

Stephen's latest book 'Ulster Gay' was launched in Strabane a couple of weeks ago.Stephen has worked for over 20 years on gay-helplines and has written 'Ulster Gay'which he says is to chart Northern Ireland's gay history in novel form.Stephen first published a book entitled 'Ulster Alien' in 1999 which was set in the 1970s. The story of how Matthew, a young Protestant living in rural County Derry, discovers he is gay.The story follows the process of coming to terms with his sexuality and telling his friends in the climate of the troubles and the 'Save Ulster from Sodomy' campaign. 'Ulster Gay' takes Matthew and his friends through the 1980s and charts the rise of AIDS and the impact this had on gay people in Northern Ireland.

Stephen said, "Although that is the main theme, the novel explores all sorts of other issues like the problems that bisexuals experience and the difficulties of gay policemen in Northern Ireland."

The book is currently available @

The blurb for Mauk's book which is entitled Against The Walls reads...
The Northern Ireland Peace Process is rocked by a bomb on Derry’s Ferryquay Street, the weekend of the Protestant commemoration of the siege of that city. Behind the TV coverage and bland newspaper headlines, Against the Walls reveals the lives of nine people caught up in the bomb. We follow their histories, only passively aware of the political process that shadows their births, deaths, marriages and love affairs, trying to make some sense of human interaction, despite the pressures of an alienating world, love, hate and confusion through the streets of Derry, London and Detroit, people finding themselves crushed and disempowered.
Mark in his website describes his time in L/Derry
Working with communities torn apart by hatred and mutual suspicion, finding myself an unexpected spokesman for the city’s growing LGBT community, slamming poetry into outraged audiences in the Verbal Arts centre and elsewhere, producing a play about the lives of gay men in Derry, finding ourselves in dusty community halls, in crowds of Orange fury and guns.

 Mauk's book is available here...

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