Eastbourne Rainbow

Books with an LGBTQ+ theme that may help to pass away the winter months and any 'Fear of Going Out'

To help pass the time here are a some books that make for a fascinating read.

Playing Gay in the Golden Age of British TV by Stephen Bourne

The book looks at the depiction of gay people on the small screen up to the 1980's

Fabulosa! - The Story of Polari, Britain's Secret Gay Language by Paul Baker

Polari was used by mainly by camp gay men in the first half of the twentieth century as a means of talking with each other in a sort of code or dialect. It came to mainstream attention in the radio broadcasts of Round the Horne in the 1960s starring Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick as Julian and Sandy.

Fantabulosa! - Definitely worth a vada 

Another book by Stephen Bourne you may like to read is Fighting Proud - a history of gay men who served in the armed forces in both World Wars and those who contributed on the Home Front such as Ivor Novello, Noel Coward and Terence Rattigan.

If you have a taste for small town gossip and a comedy of manners you could try The Mapp and Lucia novels by E F Benson.They are set in the fictional town of Tilling which is really Rye in the 1920s and 30s.

The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson by Robert Hofler

This is the story of Hollywood's star maker, Henry Wilson who took Roy Fitzgerald from a truck driver to become one of the most popular movie stars Rock Hudson.

One of Them: From Albert Square to Parliament Square by Michael Cashman

A memoir of his life, growing up in the East End of London, becoming an actor ( remember that kiss in Eastenders!), one of the founders of Stonewall, campaigner and member of the House of Lords.

The Naked Tuck Shop - Growing up Gay in the 1950s by Tim Hughes

An autobiography from being a grammar school boy in the 1950s, discovering the hidden gay life, becoming a theatre director, journalist then social worker in New York at the start of the AIDS epidemic

Shuggie Bain - by Douglas Stuart

Winner of the Booker Prize 2020

Set in Glasgow 1981, Shuggie tries to save his mother from alcoholism and the writer describes the effects of poverty and being trapped in a depressed mining town.

Perhaps not a light read


All the Young Men by Ruth Coker Burks 

How One Women Risked It All To Care For The Dying

The true story of a young single mother living in Arkansas in the 1980s and 1990s who cared for people with AIDS when no one else would. She created a network of care, feeding and getting medicines for those gay men afflicted and arranging their funerals.

The Velvet Mafia by Darryl W Bullock

The Gay Men Who Ran the Swinging Sixties

To quote -  'In the fifties and sixties, in the period leading up to the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality and the founding of the Gay Liberation movement, a group of gay men behind the scenes of rock 'n' roll was changing pop,politics and society for good'

The book details the lives of impresario Larry Parnes, Beatles manager Brian Epstein, songwriter Lionel Bart, record producer Joe Meek and Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood

Address Book by Neil Bartlett

A series of short stories of lives and locations through decades of change. Seven different times, seven different situations, seven different characters, each seeking to feel at home somewhere or with someone.


Eastbourne Rainbow