Allen Lane wins 'radical new history' of queer identity in four-way auction

Allen Lane wins 'radical new history' of queer identity in four-way auction

Allen Lane will publish Nothing Ever Just Disappears, a new history of seven queer lives and the places that made them by writer and academic Diarmuid Hester.

Maria Bedford, commissioning editor at Penguin Press, acquired world English rights in a four-way auction from Matthew Marland at RCW. The book will be published by Allen Lane in 2023.

Nothing Ever Just Disappears will plot a "radical new history" of queer identity from the late 1800s to the present, by following seven artists and writers whose lives and work are "inextricable from a sense of place", including E M Forster, Josephine Baker, Claude Cahun, James Baldwin and Derek Jarman. 

Hester will interweave the artists and writers stories with his own experiences as a queer person and the book will argue for the centrality of place in the formation of identity, culture and politics, while showing all that is lost when queer spaces are forgotten, says the publisher. 

Bedford said: "Diarmuid is a tremendous new talent with a very long career ahead of him. We are all absolutely thrilled to be publishing this book at Allen Lane – I was spellbound on the page by the quality of Diarmuid’s writing, and also by the expansive possibilities of his thought: this is a brilliantly original new way of thinking about identity and place that will transform all those who read it. His mesmerising cast of characters, located everywhere from 19th-century Cambridge to interwar Paris, from 1970s San Francisco to the shores of Dungeness, are just so much fun to spend time with, too."

Hester is a writer and academic based at the University of Cambridge. He is described as a radical cultural historian and an authority on sexually dissident literature, art, film and performance. He is the author of Wrong: A Critical Biography of Dennis Cooper (University of Iowa Press, 2020). 

He commented: "Places make us: every day they shape our culture, society, and sense of self in small but important ways. They also have an enormous influence on our sexuality—who and how we love is massively dependent on where we are. Nothing Ever Just Disappears is a history of queer sexuality and its relation to space, viewed through the fascinating lives of seven (or so) artists and writers. Working with an editor like Maria on a book like this is a dream come true and I can’t wait to publish it with Allen Lane."

Photo credit: Steve Heywood