Bestselling novelist Patrick Gale talks about his life and work and its place in events to mark 50 years since the partial decriminalising of gay sex.
Gale is author of 16 successful novels, a book of short stories and a novella, most of which contain at least one gay or lesbian character – and a biography of the novelist Armistead Maupin. He has also written a new drama as part of the BBC's 50th anniversary Gay Britannia series, Man in an Orange Shirt, that chronicles a relationship between Army captain Michael Berryman and war artist Thomas March in World War II Italy. Scenes in the drama were inspired by Gale’s mother’s discovery of love letters between her husband and his best man and the subsequent disruption to family life. At the time such things could result in prison and were misunderstood to the extent that the young Patrick was never allowed to be alone with his father.
Gale says gay lives and loves are at the heart of his work but what really fascinates him is how they mesh with the whole mess of family life. Many of his novels are based on events in his own life. His recent works include A Place Called Winter, A Perfectly Good Man and The Whole Day Through. Much of his work is set in Cornwall where he lives with his husband on a farm where they rear beef cattle and grow barley.
Photo credit (c) Alex Efimoff
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