Bestselling author and LGBT activist Armistead Maupin is in Brighton tonight on his first-ever UK theatre tour… acknowledgement of the fact that the UK is now his home, with husband, the photographer Christopher Turner.
Armistead is at Brighton Dome on Monday, October 14 (01273 709709 and https://faneproductions.com/products/armistead).
America’s “ultimate storyteller” will recount his favourite tales from the past four decades, promising his own engaging observations on society and the world we inhabit.
Oh, and he will also be offering a reading describing how he lost his virginity…
“It’s my first public appearance tour in the UK, an evening of chat and reading. The first half will be an interview by somebody intelligent… and then the second half will be reading.”
Maupin has been blazing a trail through US popular culture since the 1970s, when his iconic and ground breaking series Tales of the City was first published as a column in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The series encompasses nine hugely popular novels: Tales of the City, More Tales of the City, Further Tales of the City, Babycakes, Significant Others, Sure of You, Michael Tolliver Lives, Mary Ann in Autumn and The Days of Anna Madrigal.
The series is currently being adapted by Netflix into a new series, starring Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis and Ellen Page.
But in some senses, Armistead has moved on. The UK is now home to him.
“We have moved. We moved to the UK in April. We moved to London, my husband and I. He spent a year here 25 years ago and I have been here off and on visiting various cousins over the years and also for book-related events.”
Leaving San Francisco wasn’t too much of a wrench: “We lived there for 40 years. We knew it very well. We revered it in public, but I didn’t feel a moral obligation to stay there. It has been so much overrun by the billionaires. The technology companies have made a lot of money and a lot of people have bought their cute little houses there.”
The move went smoothly: “But it is always easier when you have got someone else to share the adventure.”
Plus there is a little bit of unwanted continuity as he moved from Trump’s America to Johnson’s Britain: “We have swapped one narcissistic *********** for another. The world is pretty messed up for everyone at the moment. The most frightening thing is that we are all frightened and no one seems to know what to do about it. We are struck with these ridiculous elections that are damaging the moral fibre of the world…”
But don’t look to Armistead for the answers: “I am just a writer.”
His 1992 novel, Maybe the Moon, which followed the serio-comic adventures of a dwarf actress working in Hollywood, was named one of the ten best books of the year by Entertainment Weekly. The Night Listener 2000, a psychological suspense novel inspired by an eerie episode in Maupin’s own life, became a 2006 feature film starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette. In 2017 he wrote a memoir titled ‘Logical Family’ which grew out of his critically acclaimed one-man show of the same name.
Armistead has won numerous awards including the ‘Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement’ from the Publishing Triangle of New York, the ‘Lambda's Pioneer Award’ (which is bestowed on individuals who have broken new ground in the field of LGBT literature and publishing) and the Visionary Award from the 2014 Outfest Legacy Awards for his collected novels. Maupin is also the subject of a new documentary titled Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin.