Tweet this: Maupin's coming
January 10, 2011 - 4:47PM
America's chronicler of gay life, Armistead Maupin, keeps a finger on the pulse while setting his sights on Sydney.
Armistead Maupin, famed as a chronicler of gay life and the first novelist to tackle AIDS, is heading to Australia. He will read from his latest book at the Opera House on March 3.
The author of the best-selling Tales of the City novels extends his famed three-decades-long series with an eighth instalment - Mary Ann in Autumn. The story follows Mary Ann Singleton as she finds herself back in the city of her youth at 57, taking refuge in the backyard cottage of her oldest friend, Michael “Mouse” Tolliver, a gay gardener with a younger husband. As she re-engages with her past (with the help of Facebook, naturally), Mary Ann finds certain things come back to haunt her.
Maupin, who has been busy Tweeting about his impending visit (sending love to his followers in washed-out Queensland and joking about finally knowing what a map of Tassie is), will read from the new novel in the Concert Hall before chatting to journalist Julie McCrossin and taking questions from the audience. His appearance is part of the 2011 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras program.
His iconic novels grew out of a newspaper serial published in the San Francisco Chronicle from 1976. At the time it broke new ground with its candid insights into San Francisco’s gay community as well as its frank discussion of AIDS. Maupin’s willingness to broach the subject at a time when many wouldn’t ensured his place in literary history. He also had the advantage of having his work published soon after writing, allowing him to tap into the zeitgeist and deal with issues in a timely way.
His first three Tales novels became even more widely known when they were turned into three mini-series starring Olympia Dukakis as the eccentric dope-growing landlady Anna Madrigal and Laura Linney (to whom his new book is dedicated) as Mary Ann. His novel The Night Listener also became a film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette.
As an author, social commentator, gay soldier in Vietnam and advocate of homosexual rights, Maupin has led a fascinating life. Today, between attending writers’ festivals, readings and signings around the world, he lives in San Francisco with his husband Christopher Turner.
Maupin has also embraced the role of international spokesperson for gay rights. In his second novel More Tales of the City, Michael Tolliver (the most autobiographical of Maupin’s characters) writes a coming-out letter to his mother. Maupin’s words have since been used as a template by other people struggling to reveal their true selves.