The Fabulous World of Queer Pulp, Yesterday and Today

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Join pulp icon Ann Bannon, historians Martin Meeker and Jenny Worley, and modern pulp writers F. Allen Sawyer and Monica Nolan for a lively discussion of the complicated, sleazy, and fabulous world of queer pulp paperbacks. We will look behind the lurid covers to explore pulp fiction's meaning for the queer community and celebrate the Barbara Grier and Donna McBride pulp collection-- the SFPL's one-of-a-kind treasure trove of pulp.

In the 1950s and 1960s, twilight women and lavender boys swelled the pulp ranks with titles like Odd Girl Out and Color Him Gay. Subject to censorship when they first appeared, the books have since been both dismissed as salacious stories for the straight reader and celebrated as identity-building tools for an emerging gay community. Either way, queer pulps are a crucial part of LGBT history, whose influence is still felt today.

Ann Bannon is know to readers around the world as the Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction. She is famous for the novels she wrote from 1957 to 1962 during the pulps' heyday, including Odd Girl Out, Women in the Shadows, and Beebo Brinker. Several of the books were adapted for the stage as The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, which premiered in New York in 2007 and has played around the country, including a 2010 productioin at San Francisco's Brava Theater.

Martin Meeker is associate director of the Regional Oral History Office ofthe Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley. He is author of the book, ContactsDesired: Gay and Lesbian Communications and Community, 1940s-1970s(Chicago, 2006).

 Monica Nolan is the author of The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories (with Alisa Surkis), and the Lesbian Career Girl series, the latest of which is Maxie Mainwaring, Lesbian Dilettante. She writes about film and pop culture for a variety of publications and blogs about lesbian pulp at

 F. Allen Sawyer is a playwright and director and the author of three “pulp” plays: Hot Pants Homo, Senator Swish and Lavender Lockeroom.

Jenny Worley (Moderator) is a scholar, filmmaker and teacher whose writing on sex work, queer history, and lesbian literary cultures has been featured in Bitch, Captive Genders, the Queerist, Outright Radio, and various scholarly collections.  She is currently working on a screenplay about a pre-stonewall queer youth group and a book about the Lusty Lady Theater.  Jenny teaches English, LGBT Studies and Women's Studies at City College of San Francisco.  


Gather, share knowledge and celebrate our unique identities at the queerest library ever. Visit the James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, the gateway to the Library’s broader collections documenting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and allies’ history and culture, with a special emphasis on the San Francisco Bay Area.

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