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Film, Radio, Print

We are always delighted when someone wants to speak with us about the bookshop, especially when it's not about a smashed window! In the sections below, you'll find links to videos, radio programmes, and articles where staff members have spoken about the bookshop, what we do, our history, and, of course, queer books. Take a look or listen at your leisure.

TV & Film
40 Years of Gay's The Word: A Celebration

40 Years of Gay's The Word: A Celebration

An evening of conversation, stories and author readings Please watch me in HD. Rikki Beadle Blair, VG Lee, Gregory Woods, Neil McKenna, Kirsty Logan, Juno Dawson, Philip Hensher, Jay Bernard, Richard Scott, Mary Jean Chan, Keith Jarrett and Andrew McMillan with video messages from Sarah Waters, Edmund White, Armistead Maupin, and Neil Bartlett. The British Libray 22 February 2019. Uli Lennart hosts an evening of conversation, poetry, stories and author readings from a range of special guests, to mark the 40th anniversary of the iconic bookshop, Gay’s the Word. Created to be a community resource as well as a bookshop, it is famed for nurturing the curiosity and wellbeing of the LGBT+ community. Surviving police raids, book seizures and homophobic harassment, today it is celebrated as a much-loved London institution with an international reputation. Gay’s the Word, in Bloomsbury, was founded in early 1979 and named after the last musical written by Ivor Novello. It was the UK’s first dedicated lesbian and gay bookshop. Numerous groups have met at the bookshop throughout its history. From 1984 to 1985 Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners convened there and collected money outside, as immortalized in the 2014 film Pride. Juno Dawson is an author of dark teen thrillers. Her first non-fiction book, Being a Boy, tackled puberty, sex and relationships in a frank and funny fashion, and a follow-up for young LGBT people, This Book is Gay. Her book, The Gender Games, is her look at gender and what that it means in science, society, media and culture today. Juno is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, GT and the Guardian, lives in Brighton and writes full time. Philip Hensher’s novels include Kitchen Venom, which won the Somerset Maugham Award, Other Lulus and The Mulberry Empire. The Northern Clemency was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008 and Scenes From Early Life won the 2013 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize. Philip is also a columnist for the Independent and chief book reviewer for the Spectator. He lives in South London. UK poetry slam champion and Rio International Poetry Slam Winner, Keith Jarrett is a PhD scholar at Birkbeck University, where he is completing his first novel. His monologue, Safest Spot in Town, was aired on BBC Four, and his book of poetry, Selah, was published in 2017. VG Lee is the author of five novels and a collection of short stories. In 2012, Lee was nominated for a Stonewall Award for writing. Her most recent novel, Mr Oliver’s Object of Desire was runner-up for the YLVA Publishing Literary Prize for Fiction 2017. Lee is also one of the judges for the prestigious Polari First Book Prize established in 2007. Her second collection, Oh You Pretty Thing will be published in February 2019. Jim MacSweeney came to the UK from Cork in 1982 to study drama. While living in London he came out as a gay man. After working for a number of years with Minority Rights Group he joined Gay's The Word in 1989 which he's managed for the last 22 years. Richard Scott's poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies including Poetry Review, Poetry London, Swimmers, The Poetry of Sex and Butt Magazine. His pamphlet Wound, published by Rialto, won the Michael Marks Poetry Award 2016. His debut collection Soho was published Faber & Faber in 2018 and is shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize and Costa Poetry Prize. Andrew McMillan's debut award-winning collection, physical, was the first ever poetry collection to win The Guardian First Book Award and was shortlisted for numerous others including The Dylan Thomas Prize. His second collection, playtime, published in 2018, was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation for autumn 2018. He is senior lecturer at the Manchester Writing School at MMU and lives in Manchester. Gregory Woods is the author of Articulate Flesh: Male Homo-eroticism and Modern Poetry, A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition and Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World. His main poetry collections, of which An Ordinary Dog was the most recent, are published by Carcanet Press. He is Emeritus Professor of Gay and Lesbian Studies at Nottingham Trent University.
Aesop Queer Library Returns for Pride Month 2023

'The books [in the Aesop Queer Library] range from forgotten titles to culture-defining classics, and also puts a big focus on independent names and emerging authors.' Eric Brain, Hypebeast, 15 June 2023

New York Times: 36 Hours in London

'Bloomsbury is the heart of literary London...and there is no better place in the city to go book shopping' writes Desiree Ibekwe in the New York Times, 22 December 2022. 

Peter Dorey, Co-Founder of Gay's The Word Bookshop, Dies Aged 73

'It is clear that generations of LGBT+ people owe Peter Dorey a debt of thanks' reports Will Stroude for Attitude Magazine, 16 February 2021.

Bigoted British tiger that bit off more than it could chew

Graham McKerrow writes for talking humanities about Operation Tiger, the British state’s attempt in the 1980s to prohibit the importation of all queer books, newspapers and magazines, including a raid on Gay's The Word in 1984.

'The importance of Gay's The Word...'

'...the first place I'll be going after lockdown', writes Colin Crummy in Penguin Features, 14 April 2020.

Jonathan Cutbill Leaves 'Phenomenal Collection' of LGBTQ Literature

Jonathan Cutbill, one of the founders of Gay's The Word who passed away in 2019, leaves his LGBTQ Literature collection to University of London, writes Steve Brown for Attitude Magazine, 24 January 2020.

The Best LGBTQIA+ Literature

British Vogue asks 'icons of the LGBTQIA+ community' to share what we queer writing we should be reading, including Ernest Hole, founder of Gay's The Word bookshop, written by Liam Freeman, 21 June 2019.

Gay's The Word Wants You To Notice It

The Londonist profiles the bookshop, asking about visibility and pride, written by Harry Rosehill, 11 June 2019.

Celebrating 40 years of Gay's The Word, London's glorious LGBTQ bookshop

Dazed Digital profiles the bookshop for its 40th anniversary, written by Louis Staples, 27 February 2019.

Inside England's [First] LGBT Bookshop

i-D Magazine interviews Gay's The Word's in light of its 40th anniversary, written by Jake Hall, 18 January 2019.

[NB: The original headline reads 'England's only LGBT bookshop' as it was prior to the opening of the The Portal Bookshop in York.]

Gay's The Word turns 40

'How a small LGBT bookshop became an unlikely battleground in the fight for gay acceptance', writes Thomas Stichbury for Attitude Magazine, 17 January 2019.

Bookshop of the Month - Damian Barr's Literary Salon

Gay's The Word is profiled for Damian Barr's Literary Salon in November 2018 with a Q&A with Uli Lenart.

The Birth of Gay's The Word

Ernest Hole writes the history of the bookshop for the first time in Polari Magazine, 17 January 2012.

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