Queens Pride House Holds Book Fest

BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE    
Staff Writer

A World War I romance, a coming-of-age memoir and an AIDS-era odyssey are among the works that Jackson Heights’ Queens Pride House will feature at their first book festival next week.

The free and public Book Fest, organized by Queens Pride House executive director Pauline Park, will showcase LGBT authors and their books, with discussions, author presentations and Q & A sessions.

Pauline Park (center) organized the Queens Pride House’s first book festival.

Pauline Park (center) organized the Queens Pride House’s first book festival.

Participating authors will include Mariette Pathy Allen, a photographer who documented the Cuban transgender community in her book “TransCuba,” and Leslie Smith, whose novel “Sally Field Can Play the Transsexual” covers life and loss during the AIDS crisis.

Park said that the goal of the book festival is to introduce readers to the established and emerging authors who are covering a wide range of LGBT topics.

“The books as well as the presenters are diverse in so many different ways,” Park said, adding that the featured works come from both established and emerging authors, members of the LGBT community and straight allies, fiction writers and non-fiction writers.

Jackson Heights resident Nancy Agabian will attend the event to speak about her book, “Me as Her Again,” a memoir about coming of age as bisexual in a traditional Armenian family.

“Queens Pride House has a prominent place in the neighborhood and I’ve come to know just from living in the neighborhood how many writers live in Jackson Heights, so I think it’s great that we’ll get to find each other through their space,” Agabian said.

Park said that, growing up as a transgender woman during the 60s, literature was a crucial component in her coming out process.

“From personal experience, my first connection to the LGBT community came when I found a book in the library,” Park said. “They didn’t even use the term ‘LGBT’ in the 1960s, they didn’t even use the term ‘transgender.’

“And so now we have a book called ‘Trans Bodies, Tran Selves,’” Park continued, referring to the resource guide edited by Dr. Laura Erickson-Schroth, which will also be presented at the festival.

Rather than setting up a series of lectures, Park said that the discussion will consist of informal presentations and conversations with the audience.

“I want to make this fun and lively,” Park said, adding, “I strongly encourage non-LGBT people to come, because it will be an opportunity for them to familiarize themselves with LGBT authors and their books, and with the Queens Pride House.”

The Queens Pride House is located at 76-11 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights. The Book Festival will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday evening.

Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, jstrawbridge@queenstribune.com or @JNStrawbridge.