Edmund White

Edmund White
Tuesday, April 3, 7:30 PM
Atherton Union, Reilly Room

Edmund White is America’s preeminent gay writer. In biography, social history, travel writing, journalism, the short story, and the novel, this prolific and versatile author has chronicled the gay experience in the United States from the closeted 1950s through the AIDS crisis and beyond.

His first novel, Forgetting Elena, published in 1973, is the story of an amnesia victim, set at a stylish resort reminiscent of Fire Island. With the classic coming-of-age tale A Boy’s Own Story, White cemented a place for himself—and for gay fiction—in the cultural consciousness. His celebrated fiction also includes Nocturnes for the King of NaplesCaracoleThe Beautiful Room Is Empty (winner of the 1988 Lambda Literary Award), The Farewell SymphonyThe Married ManFanny: A Fiction, Hotel de Dream, and Jack Holmes and His Friend. His latest is Our Young Man.

White has been involved in the gay rights movement since the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969 and has acted as one of its canniest observers. His pioneering The Joy of Gay Sex: An Intimate Guide for Gay Men to the Pleasures of a Gay Lifestyle was published in 1977 and served as a national coming-out announcement for the entire gay community.

White has also made his mark as a highly accomplished biographer. Genet: A Biography is recognized as a definitive work on writer and playwright Jean Genet, and in 1993 it won both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Lambda Literary Award. He also authored the well-received Marcel Proust and Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel. His memoir Inside a Pearl: My Years in Paris recounts the fifteen years he spent living there—one of the most productive and creative phases in his career.

White is a regular contributor to The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Times Book Review, and Vanity Fair, and is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.