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Literary Festival 2014: It's OK to be Gay


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Speaker(s): Alice Arnold, Charlie Condou, Evan Davis, Stella Duffy, Claire Harvey, QBoy
Chair: Shelley Silas

Recorded on 26 February 2014 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

For many lesbian, gay and bisexual people, coming out to family and friends can be a frightening moment in their lives. Our panel of well-known figures will add their own coming out stories to a collective narrative which hopes to make the coming out experience a positive one for future generations. These stories and others are featured in Alison Stokes’ edited collection It’s OK to be Gay.

Alice Arnold (@alicearnold1) studied politics at university before going on to drama school. She was in the BBC radio drama company and performed in over 400 radio plays as well as television and stage work. She then became an announcer and newsreader for BBC Radio 4. Since 2012 Alice has been a freelance writer for Telewonderwoman, and Good Housekeeping. She regularly reviews the papers for BBC and Sky news. She gave evidence to the Equal marriage select committee and regularly writes on equality issues. She has been a campaigner for equality for as long as she can remember and has been in a civil partnership for 7 years.

Charlie Condou (@Charliecondou) is an actor, and can currently be seen on Coronation Street playing Marcus Dent. He writes a weekly column for The Guardian called 'The Three of Us'.

Evan Davis (@EvanHD) is a presenter of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, a role he took up in April 2008. He is also well-known as the presenter of the BBC2 business reality show, Dragons Den. And on Radio 4, he also presents a weekly business discussion programme, The Bottom Line. For the six and a half years prior to working on the Today programme he was the Economics Editor of the BBC, the most senior economics reporter in the corporation. In the last year, Evan has won numerous awards including the Political Studies Association broadcaster of the Year.

Stella Duffy (@stellduffy) has written thirteen novels, fifty short stories, and ten plays. The Room of Lost Things and State of Happiness were both longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and she has twice won Stonewall Writer of the Year. She won the 2002 Crime Writers’ Association Short Story Dagger for Martha Grace and again in 2013 for Come Away With Me. She adapted her novel State of Happiness for feature film with Zentropa/Fiesta and HBO have optioned her novels Theodora, Actress, Empress, Whore and The Purple Shroud for a TV mini-series. In addition to her writing work, Stella is also a theatre director, artistic director of Shaky Isles Theatre, associate artist with Improbable, and is currently heading the Fun Palaces project, a nationwide celebration of the arts and sciences in October 2014. She blogs at www.stelladuffy.wordpress.com.

Claire Harvey (@harveyvolley) is assistant director of the Youth Sport Trust, an independent charity devoted to changing young people's lives through sport. She captained the London2012 GB women's sitting volleyball team.awarded 'Hero of the Year' at the 2013 European Diversity Awards.

QBoy (@QBoyMusic) was the UK's first openly gay hip-hop artist and has become synonymous with all things 'gay rap' since his debut 2004 E.P. Even The Women Like Him. Now he is the promoter and DJ behind hit London parties R & She and Gully at Vogue Fabrics and Put It In Your Mouth at Dalston Superstore. He is a regular floor-filler at Hoxton's East Bloc and is a well loved performer and DJ on the international stage. The official DJ for Hello Kitty brand Pynkiss during Milan Fashion Week, he also supported Boy George LIVE, and helped generations of young gay teens with his Channel 4 documentary Coming Out To Class.

Shelley Silas (@shelleysilas) writes for radio, theatre and TV. Her radio plays include a co-adaptation of Paul Scott’s The Raj Quartet and the award-winning I am Emma Humphreys. She has written several short stories and compiled and edited the anthology, Twelve Days. She is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the LSE for 2013-2014.

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