In celebration of Pride Week 2022, Book Passage is proud to uplift LGBTQ voices and stories with a special series within the Conversations with Authors programming. This 3-night series will feature emerging authors on the literary landscape discussing their writings, the importance of Queer books- fiction and nonfiction- and issues within the community. Whether your part of the LBTQ community or an ally, these special conversations are for you!
From a young, gay environmentalist, a searing coming-of-age memoir set against the arid landscape of rural North Dakota, where homosexuality “seems akin to a ticking bomb.”
“I am a child of the American West, a landscape so rich and wide that my culture trembles with terror before its power.” So begins Taylor Brorby’s Boys and Oil, a haunting, bracingly honest memoir about growing up gay amidst the harshness of rural North Dakota, “a place where there is no safety in a ravaged landscape of mining and fracking.
In visceral prose, Brorby recounts his upbringing in the coalfields; his adolescent infatuation with books; and how he felt intrinsically different from other boys. Now an environmentalist, Brorby uses the destruction of large swathes of the West as a metaphor for the terror he experienced as a youth. From an assault outside a bar in an oil boom town to a furtive romance, and from his awakening as an activist to his arrest at the Dakota Access Pipeline, Boys and Oil provides a startling portrait of an America that persists despite well-intentioned legal protections.
Taylor Brorby is an essayist and poet. The coeditor of Fracture, his work has appeared in the Huffington Post, Orion, and North American Review, where he is a contributing editor.
Fenton Johnson is the author of At the Center of All Beauty: Solitude and the Creative Life, a meditation on the solitary artists, writers, and musicians who have inspired him and on the importance of solitude in contemporary life. He is the author of three novels: The Man Who Loved Birds, the award-winning Scissors, Paper, Rock, and Crossing the River, each recently reissued in new editions. He is professor emeritus at the University of Arizona and teaches creative writing workshops nationally. He is on the faculty of the low-residency creative writing program of Spalding University.
Taylor Brorby photo courtesy of the author