Category Archives: Fiction

What Narcissus Saw in Whistler

Calgary Gay History Project volunteer, Gordon Sombrowski, heads to Whistler, British Columbia today. His book of short stories, What Narcissus Saw, is a finalist at the Whistler Independent Book Awards. Selected from hundreds of submissions, he said he was excited to make the short-list—now it is down to the final three books.

What Narcissus Saw is competing against Churchill at Munich by Michael Carin of Quebec and Rez Dog Blues and the Haiku: A Savage Life in Bits and Pieces by William George Lindsay of BC. The award winner will be announced at a Friday night event during the Whistler Writers Festival.

Sombrowski said it was a great honour to have been selected as a finalist.

“Like every writer who seeks to publish I set out to write stories that I hope readers will want to read. Having a jury of accomplished writing peers select my work helps me to feel like I have done that,” he explained.

Tomorrow, keep your fingers crossed for Gordon! 🤞😘✨

What Narcissus Saw event last month at Shelf Life Books, photo by Noel Bégin.

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Holiday Reads from @YYCGayHistory

Calgary-Gay-History-Project-adjacent author, Gordon Sombrowski, launched What Narcissus Saw this month. It is the second short story collection from the acclaimed Fernie/Calgary based writer. Holiday shoppers can find What Narcissus Saw at a handful of independent bookstores and online. His Calgary launch party at Loft112 was on Saturday, December 11th.

Athabasca University Press just released Bucking Conservatism: Alternative Stories of Alberta from the 1960s and 1970s edited by Leon Crane Bear, Larry Hannant, and Karissa Robyn Patton. Calgary Gay History Project researchers Nevena Ivanović and Kevin Allen contributed a chapter to the book with editor Larry Hannant called, Gay Liberation in Conservative Calgary. Bucking Conservatism was produced under a creative commons license and is free to read online or download.

Our Past Matters has had another stellar year. It is now a textbook in two University of Calgary courses—one in Social Work, the other in Gender & Sexuality Studies—despite not being an academic read! The Our Past Matters ebook also had a short run as an Amazon #1 Best Seller in its category.

Readers note: this is our last post for the calendar year. Thank you for your ongoing support and enthusiasm for local queer history. Consider these books as our good read recommendations for this holiday season. If you enjoy them, leave reviews on sites such as GoodReads and Amazon for other readers to discover.

Happy reading!

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Reading History for Calgary Pride

Wordfest kindly asked Calgary Gay History Project’s Kevin Allen to participate in their Community Book List series. The task was to come up with a list of 20 books that were meaningful to him. It proved challenging to limit the list to only 20! So, he chose his favourite theme—queer history!

Kevin writes: ““One can learn a lot from reading historical queer fiction to see how the LGBTQ2S community has evolved over the decades. This list includes some of the most celebrated, award-winning novels from our community, plus a few of my fan favourites. On this list, I have included some Calgarian authors as well as a couple of non-fiction historical surveys—one Canadian, one American—for those looking for an accessible and comprehensive understanding of our human rights struggles. I can read any of these books over and over and over; they have a special place on my bookshelf.”

Wordfest cleverly has included links to where readers can find the books (or e-books), through the Calgary Public Library as well as local independent bookstores. As we approach the season of Calgary Pride, consider a read from Kevin’s curated list.

Bonus: yycgayhistory project links for further reading/watching on six of these authors: Hall, Maupin, Cullen, Highsmith, Baldwin, Forster.

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