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SGN talks with Gay City Volume 2 editor Vincent Kovar
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SGN talks with Gay City Volume 2 editor Vincent Kovar

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN Contributing Writer

PREMIERE Book Launch
July 23, 7 PM
Bailey-Coy Books


Seattle's Gay City has been dedicated to helping promote AIDS awareness since April 1995. Gay City has set its mission to "building a healthy Gay community" and through various resources, including "Gay City University," discussion groups in public forums and by the publishing of its own Gay City anthology and now, Gay City Volume 2, which boasts a list of contributors of local and national talents. With a book launch party at Bailey-Coy (July 23, 7 p.m.), the book's editor, Vincent Kovar, took time to discuss the anthology and the upcoming book launch.

Eric Andrews-Katz: How did you come to work with Seattle's Gay City?

Vincent Kovar: Originally, I proposed doing a literary journal back in the 1990s. I remember reading collections of Christopher Street journals and I became frustrated with the lack of availability. Four years later, I revised my proposal with a self-funded and volunteered position, and we were able to make a contribution to Gay City instead of asking money from them. That made the difference in getting the first volume published.

Andrews-Katz: Why the need for the second edition?

Kovar: While working out details on the first, I quickly discovered a journal or periodical wasn't practical; at that time I was incapable of putting one out more than once a year. While working on the first, I swore, "Never again," but as it finished and fell into place, I was proud of the assembly. People had favorable responses, saying it met the mission of "talking about community" and brought awareness of HIV infections without being preachy. Watching the various works come in and seeing the different visions made me excited about the project again. It was more of exploring the different themes and concepts the second time around. Also, thanks to the power of the almighty dollar, it was a lot easier getting funding for the second edition.

Andrews-Katz: Are stories of AIDS still relevant, or have people become impervious to them?

Kovar: I think that the age of "great AIDS literature" was in the mid '90s. Almost everything we [the Gay community] wrote and read was in that circle, and I think it is still as important. But we've started to look at things in a different way. It's seen more as a disease now, not an identity. In early literature, it was still synonymous with "Gay," and it's not so much anymore. We started to examine different perspectives of the issues. There's an ongoing dynamism that is the last great expression of Gay literature; everything seemed to have faded after that. We don't produce as much of "our stories" anymore. Most "Gay literature" seems to be written for mainstream.

Andrews-Katz: For the two Gay City anthologies, why the different art types - poetry, short stories, drawings/photographs - versus an anthology of one type on a single subject matter?

Kovar: Originally, I was looking at just a visibility issue. I wasn't sure I'd get enough of any one type to complete the project. Once I decided to open and extend it to five different art types - fiction, poetry, comic art/drawn art and photography - it became easier. We wanted to get as many different voices included as we could.

Andrews-Katz: You've written in different genres; writing plays, short stories non-fiction and interviews. Which is your preference and why?

Kovar: Actually, I don't believe in separating out different types of writing. The way I teach [writing classes] is that it is its own content; as long as you are writing something, it's the same, but with different variations in form.

Andrews-Katz: When putting together an anthology such as Gay City Volume 2, do you receive your submissions from open calls, or do you solicit certain artists?

Kovar: Both. I actually have gone through other anthologies and sent out submission call invitations to every author that publishes an e-mail address in their bios. I'll send out submission call sheets to webpages and other postings as well. I found Tom Spanbauer by hunting him down. Also, references from other people helps a great deal. We had over 450 submissions, and it was difficult to write some of the rejection letters.

Andrews-Katz: How did Hugo prizewinner Ursula Le Guin or NPR commentator Marc Acito come to be a part of the anthology?

Kovar: I wrote certain authors and tried to make contact to invite them to submit their work. Many writers will publish [on their websites] rules for contacting them about their writing. After following the procedures, I was able to contact and work with Ursula Le Guin.

Andrews-Katz: Who won the "Editor Pick" awards in each available category?

Kovar: They will be announced at the publication release party on Thursday, July 23 at Bailey-Coy Books.

Andrews-Katz: What's happening at the Book Launch Party?

Kovar: There will be a few short readings, some wine served, and discussions of the works involved. It will be the first day that the book is for sale, not from a website. We thought that if people could meet some of the artists, then hopefully it might encourage others to produce art of their own.



Vincent Kovar teaches writing at Antioch University and is the author of several stage plays. His short stories have appeared in The Oregon Literary Review and Blithe House Quarterly. He has worked with Seattle's Gay City for over five years and is the editor of both Gay City anthologies.

Volume 1 of the Gay City anthology was published in 2008. Gay City Volume 2 includes contributions by: Marc Acito (How I Paid for College), Eric Orner (The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green), Ursula Le Guin (The Wizard of Earth Sea) as well as many other talents.

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