Coming Out: 50 Years of gay literature

Hosted by the Royal Society of Literature and LSE Literary Festival

Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building,


Dean Atta

Dean Atta

Neil Bartlett

Neil Bartlett

Maureen Duffy

Maureen Duffy


Mel Kenyon

Mel Kenyon

How has literature and performance engaged with changing attitudes since the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967? This panel talk about themes of gay identity, both in their own work and the work of other writers, over the last 50 years.

Dean Atta (@DeanAtta)'s debut collection, I Am Nobody’s Nigger, was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize. He was named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday Pink List and featured in Out News Global Pride Power List. He has performed across the UK at festivals such as Brighton Fringe, Cheltenham Book Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Hay Festival, Latitude Festival, Secret Garden Party and internationally at Biennale of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean (Italy), CrossKultur (Germany), Ordspark (Sweden) and Word N Sound (South Africa). He is a member of Keats House Poets Forum and Malika’s Poetry Kitchen, as well as an Associate Artist with Mouthy Poets and New Writing South. He has been commissioned to write poems for BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service, Dazed & Confused, Keats House Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern. He is currently working on his second poetry collection The Black Flamingo.

Neil Bartlett is a theatre-maker and a novelist and from 1994 to 2005 he was Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith. His most recent theatre piece was STELLA, for the London International Festival of Theatre. His most recent book is the novel The Disappearance Boy, which earned him a nomination as Stonewall Author of the Year. His marathon six-hour solo reading of Oscar Wilde's De Profundis, recorded live at Reading Gaol in September 2016, has since been watched online in over fifty countries. 

Maureen Duffy is a poet, playwright and novelist. Her first openly lesbian novel was The Microcosm (1966) and she is said to have been Britain’s first lesbian to ‘come out’ in public, and made public comments during the debates around homosexual law reform. She is the author of 34 published works including fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays for stage screen and radio, and is a Vice-President of the Royal Society of Literature.

Mel Kenyon is Head of the Theatre Department at agency Casarotto Ramsay & Associates Limited and represents the work of Sarah Kane and Simon Stephens among others.

This event is organised in association with the Royal Society of Literature (@RSLiterature). Membership of the Royal Society of Literature is open to all. For just £50 a year, or £30 for under 30s, it offers free entry to around 20 events each year. Speakers in 2017 include Alan Ayckbourn, John Burnside, Carol Ann Duffy, Helen Edmundson, Olivia Laing, Hisham Matar, John Mullan, Michael Rosen, Kamila Shamsie, Iain Sinclair and Evie Wyld.

Suggested Twitter hashtag for this event: #LSELitFest

This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2017, taking place from Monday 20 - Saturday 25 February 2017, with the theme “Revolutions”.


A podcast of this event is available to download from Coming Out: 50 Years of gay literature

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.

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