G Abel-Watters has a well-established association with ghosts, having investigated many sites of reputed hauntings, without ever finding totally convincing evidence of a supernatural manifestation. The hunt continues, with editing this anthology a welcome respite from the relentless pursuit, while a long-time ambition is to visit Dracula territory. Favourite colour, if anyone is interested, is pink, while the obligatory black cat is known as Aleister.
Rex Batten (1928–2017) studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, as a contemporary of Joe Orton and Alan Bates. He spent a few years in touring companies and doing bit parts in films before deciding that acting was not for him. After some freelance writing for radio, Rex spent most of his working life as a teacher.
Ross Burgess took up creative writing after years of editing and technical writing. He’s a retired IT consultant with degrees from Oxford and the Open University. A life-long supporter of gay campaigning groups, he’s commissioning editor for Amiable Warriors (Peter Scott-Presland’s monumental history of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality; Volume One published by Paradise Press in 2015) and is a principal editor at the UK LGBT Archive – www.lgbtarchive.uk. He edited Diverse Performances after the author’s death, and two of his short stories are included in A Boxful of Ideas, for which he did the typography and page design. He and his new husband now divide their time between Purley in South London and Falkland in Scotland. He’s currently editing a major book about Falkland in the early 20th century.
Andrew Cooper has retired from his work as a nurse/counsellor, and continues to live with his husband in Central London. He maintains his interest in theatre, cinema, reading and running a book club. He also does two classical ballet classes a week.
Stephanie Dickinson trained as a primary school teacher in her thirties, and that job, and her children, took all her time and energy! Now retired she has the time and opportunity to develop a range of diverse interests. These include writing; working as a voluntary woodland ranger; photography; walking, especially with her two dogs; and doing archival work. This last activity has mainly involved cataloguing the Kenric archive at the London Metropolitan Archive. This is particularly relevant as she is currently writing a book covering Kenric’s long history as a lesbian organisation.
John Dixon has published a collection of stories The Carrier Bag, which includes the Bridport Prize-winning title story. He won a prize from the Chorley Writers’ Circle for an online story. His monologue ‘Binkie and the Snowbirds’ was performed at the Space Theatre in 2017. His first poetry collection was published in 2012. Other poems and stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. He edited Ivor Treby: Poems 2007-2022. He co-edited four Paradise Press titles, Coming Clean, A Boxful of Ideas and Michael Harth: Selected Stories and Selected Lyrics. For the Library Association he edited Fiction in Libraries. Articles on Brigid Brophy have appeared in an Edinburgh University symposium and in the Shavian. He co-edited his father’s stories and his mother’s memoirs
Jeffrey Doorn was born in New Jersey and now lives with his civil partner in south London. His work has appeared in Gawp and Gaze, Queer Words, Gazebo, The Quarterly Review, Mandate, Queer Haunts, People Your Mother Warned You About and The Best of Gazebo.
He has contributed to local history publications plus the anthologies Slivers of Silver, Oysters and Pearls, Coming Clean and A Boxful of Ideas, all of which he co-edited. He also co-edited Michael Harth Selected Stories (2019) and a collection of Selected Lyrics by Michael Harth, published in 2021. He has edited the anthology Lost Places, due out in 2023.
Pat Dungey was born in Luton, Bedfordshire. She came out at 31. Once retired from her full-time teaching she could focus on writing about her experiences and researching 1920s and 1930s women in London and Paris. She co-edited the anthology We Want to Tell You How … with Stephanie Dickinson and contributed her own poems to the anthology. Writing these poems has got her through some difficult times. She hopes the reader recognises the feelings in these words and feels less alone, at such times. Ill-health has curtailed her writing at present but, hopefully, she will be able to take this up again in the future.
Martin Foreman After spending much of his adult life living and working on five continents, has returned to his native Scotland where his creative energies are now devoted to theatre. In addition to two novels and two collections of short stories, he has written, produced and directed several plays and won two awards as a playwright. His theatre work and his fiction can be found on martinforeman.com.
David Gee has worked in telecommunications and journalism in London and the Persian Gulf. This year (2021) he has published Lillian and the Italians, a sequel to The Bexhill Missile Crisis (published by Paradise Press). His previous novels are Shaikh-Down and The Dropout. He lives on the South Downs outside Brighton. His website and blog are at: www.davidgeebooks.com
Timothy Graves studied English and Drama at The University of Exeter. He has also published a short story, Bright Fire of Morning in The Mechanics Institute Review 8 and completed his Master’s degree in Creative Writing at Birkbeck college, University of London in 2012. His debut novel, Home Jihad, was published in 2010 and shortlisted for The Polari First Book Prize and his second novel, Pharmakeia. was published in 2016. His first stage play, Among Angels, directed by Peter Taylor, opened for a 4-week run at The Courtyard Theatre, Hoxton, in April 2019. Timothy lives in London.
Biography coming soon
Michael Harth (1926-2016) was a founding member of Gay Authors Workshop. His stories have appeared in various gay publications, as far back as Quorum, one of the earliest gay magazines. He wrote the words and music for Going Gay, a revue produced on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and later in London, while his one-act science-fiction musical, Briefer Encounters, was put on with two other one-acters during Gay Pride week in the 1990s. He edited and contributed to Lightning Fingers, a symposium on the British composer-pianist Billy Mayerl.
Joe Hucknall was born in Cumbria a long time ago – probably the Ice Age. Educated by seven siblings who came before him, then drafted into the army before drifting south as a protégé of F. W. Woolworth. Joe worked the system until he was found out and was paid to take early retirement. Travelled extensively in comfort, picking up and dropping relationships along the way until, late in life, he met his Lothario and handcuffed him into a civil partnership.
Has contributed to Gazebo and defunct minor poetry publications, following his first work, A Splendid Book for Lucky Children written at age fourteen and understandably never making it into print. Read his Memoirs, A Life’s Tales, for greater insight and revelations from boy to man.
Jeremy Kingston is a playwright, poet, and former theatre critic.
He was born in London and brought up in various Home Counties before returning to live in London. Two of his stage plays have been performed in the West End and more on the Fringe, most recently Making Dickie Happy and Oedipus Retold, a double-bill consisting of Oedipus at the Crossroads and Oedipus the King (A version of the Sophocles original). After selling cookery books, working as a junior clerk in chambers at the Inner Temple, a sculpture model at the Royal Academy Schools and secretary to John Lehmann on the London Magazine, he was for ten years the theatre critic on Punch and then for twenty-five years a theatre critic on The Times. He is the author of two novels, Love Among the Unicorns and Sherlock Holmes and a Scandal in Batavia, as well as two children’s books. His two previous poetry collections are On the Lookout (2008) and Who Is He, Who Am I, Who Are They? (2013). His fourth collection of 37 poems, Perhaps a Whale Singing, was published by Paradise Press last year and covered a range of topics including childhood and family memories. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
David Haldane Lawrence
David Haldane Lawrence (1940–2009) was born in New Zealand but lived in London most of his life and worked for the British Library for many years. He became known as an expert on theatre history, and studied English Literature at Birkbeck, taking first class honours, followed by an MA and a PhD. His published papers and articles cover subjects such as chorus boys, the ‘fallen man’ in melodrama, and Charles Dickens and the world of opera, but Diverse Performances was his major life’s work.
Elizabeth J. Lister
Elizabeth J. Lister enjoys writing stories that combine life experience with fiction. She claims that marriage and divorce, single parenthood and years of school-teaching have provided the material. Retirement has allowed time for creative productivity.
Elizabeth is a natural performer, has written and acted in her ‘coming out’ play Imago; painted pictures which promote positive images of women and exhibited them in Stoke-on-Trent, London and Berlin.
She now lives on the Scottish Borders, inland from Berwick-upon-Tweed.
Christopher Preston Born in New Zealand, where he read Biology and Ecology at Massey University, came to London in the late 70’s to study drama and stayed. He has worked as an actor, director, producer, dramatist and playwright, specialising in new work. His first play The Davids was produced in 1999 by the London New Play Festival. His first novel Twenty-Two Eighty-Four was published in 2014. His second novel, The Donors, about two gay men becoming fathers, was published by New Generation in 2019. He is currently researching and writing Donald & Hilda, the story of his grandparent’s stormy relationship in New Zealand.
For latest blogs IGLA at Melbourne 2020 see www.christopherprestonwrites.com. Twitter @ChrisPplaywrite
Adrian Risdon‘s heyday was in the 1970s, when he directed Antony Gormley in verse drama, drank with Peter Ackroyd and commenced his role as amanuensis to the blind poet John Heath-Stubbs. From 1980 onward, however, Adrian’s luck deserted him. He now lives in the Hampshire countryside.
Peter Scott-Presland is an author, songwriter and playwright who has been working within the gay movement for nearly fifty years. His musicals La Ronde, Dorothy’s Travels and Here It Comes have all been nominated for awards, while his interest in history is reflected in A Gay Century, a 16-part cycle of scenarios covering 1900-2001, from the death of Oscar Wilde to the first experimental civil partnerships in London [homopromos.org/gay-century.html] He has been working on a three-volume history of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality. Amiable Warriors since 2011, of which the first part, A Space to Breathe, was published by Paradise Press in 2015. Website: www.homopromos.org.
Rod Shelton has a PhD in physics from Manchester University and has worked briefly for NASA. Whilst working at Oxford University he helped establish the Oxford Lesbian and Gay Centre and edited their magazine. He has been a teacher since 1995 and is now focusing on designing e-books. Bokassa’s Last Apostle was his first novel.
Ian Stewart having lived secretly in poverty in central London for some years, has now returned to his native Canada.
Ivor Treby (1933–2012) was one of the very first UK gay literary activists. He had approaching 400 poems in print in anthologies, magazines and journals worldwide, and gave readings in Rotterdam, San Francisco, Houston, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as in London at the Oval House, the Cockpit Theatre, Motley College, the ICA, the Jermyn Street Theatre, and the Poetry Society. In 1984 Brilliance Books issued a set of ten poem cards, The verse-cycle Woman with Camellias was performed by Jane Manning and the Endymion Ensemble (music by Robin Bone) in St James’s Church during the 1985 Piccadilly Festival. There are six published collections (most recently Blanche’s Last Fling 2006), and five books on the Victorian poet (actually lesbian couple) Michael Field (most recently Binary Star 2006). After a ten-year silence he was writing again towards the end of his life.
Elsa Wallace (1939-2018) grew up in Central Africa and came to London in 1969. She worked with voluntary organisations concerned with human and animal welfare. A novel, a novella and three collections of her short stories have been published by Paradise Press.
Donald West, (1924-2020), an over-protected only child from a distinctly working class home, Professor, MD, LiItt.D., became a socially withdrawn gay man attracted to studies of the psychological problems of sexual and social outcasts. He gives a raw account of a fraught private life of love and sex, constantly under threat of public exposure, and tells how this interacted with a professional career.
After obtaining a medical degree, he abandoned hospitals in favour of research into the paranormal, publishing his first Penguin book, Psychical Research Today, in 1954. By then he was training as a psychiatrist and, protected by a medical umbrella, he published a second Penguin, Homosexuality, 1955, arguing, in the hypocritical guise of a disinterested observer, for tolerance towards homosexuals, who were then despised criminals commonly depicted as psychopathic personalities.
On securing a post in the Cambridge Institute of Criminology, he continued researches among social deviants, such as The Habitual Prisoner, 1963; Murder followed by Suicide, 1965; The Young Offender, 1967. In 1961, he initiated a fifty year follow-up of the lives of a sample of London boys the early stages of which were published in The Delinquent Way of Life, 1977. Further sex studies included an analysis of a group of homicidal rapists, Understanding Sexual Attacks, 1978, a more general survey of Sexual Crimes and Confrontations, 1987, and a survey of London rent boys, Male Prostitution, 1992. His inquiries into children’s sex contacts with adults, and his criticism of panic reactions to paedophilia, aroused controversy.
Finally, he reflects upon persisting difficulties in the scientific study of the paranormal, changes in gay attitudes, and gays in old age.
His list of publications also includes his autobiography Gay Life, Straight Work.