Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Nicola Griffith on 'Hild,' a medieval novel with a bisexual protagonist
by Sammy Caiola

This article shared 8050 times since Wed Nov 27, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

For a woman who once earned her beers by challenging bargoers in arm-wrestling competitions, British-born author Nicola Griffith has grown into the world of fine wine and international literary acclaim with surprising ease. Her sixth and most recent novel, Hild ( a thick, gold-embossed item containing the tumultuous life story of Saint Hilda, a gifted young leader and warrior of 7th-century England ), was released Nov. 12 and has already received glowing reviews from NPR and The Chicago Tribune.

Windy City Times hopped on the phone with Griffith for a chat about martial arts, nervous English housewives and the challenge of writing bisexuals.

UPDATE: Due to health reasons, Griffith had to cancel her visit to Chicago.

Windy City Times: Hild has gained a lot of traction off the bat. How has the public reaction to this novel compared to that of novels past?

Nicola Griffith: This publication is the best publication ever. It's the handsomest looking book, it's the best launch, it's the best reception I've ever had. The world has changed. My first book came out 20 years ago, so it may have been received very well but I didn't know about it because I didn't have a website, a Twitter, a Facebook.

WCT: Hild is set in the early middle ages and based on an actual person, which seems to be a departure from some of your previous sci-fi and crime works. What drew you to this period and this particular character?

Nicola Griffith: What drew me to Hild was Hild herself. I really wanted to know who this woman was. She changed the world and there are no books about her. There's nothing … The only way to do that was to build the 7th century and grow her inside it and see what happened. I used all my science-fiction skills to build that world.

WCT: How long did you research before you started writing?

Nicola Griffith: On some level I've been researching my whole life. I first heard the name in Whitby Abbey in my twenties in Whitby, a town in the northeast of England. … I think it changed my life going to that place. I discovered that this woman called Hild founded it and that's when I started wanting to know about her. I didn't start writing until 2008 and, by then, I'd be researching pretty seriously for nearly ten years.

WCT: Considering its focus on an adolescent girl and her newfound sexual desires, will Hild be appealing to the YA [young-adult] demographic, especially teens interested in LGBT fiction?

Nicola Griffith: It's about a girl who starts at age 3 and ends at 19, but it's not designed for a young adult audience. I think some young adults could handle it, but it's really designed for grown-ups. But how does it speak to that experience of burgeoning sexuality? That was actually one of the difficult parts about writing the book.

Writing from the point of view of a child is really different. I spent most of my life being a sexual being. I see the world from sexual eyes. It was easy once she got to have sex, I was like "oh yeah I know how this works." But the part in between—trying to remember what it was like to feel desire for the first time or how to think about it, how to approach it—that was really interesting.

WCT: You've written lesbian stories before but Hild is your first bisexual character. What has that been like?

Nicola Griffith: I've had some mentions online of people saying they're pleased about having a bisexual character in a really well-written book. I think bisexuals are underrepresented in a realistic way. I think they're overrepresented for the male gaze. But for actual bisexuals, I don't think there's enough representation at all.

WCT: When you incorporate non-heterosexual love stories or identities into your writing, how different are the reactions from American versus British readers?

Nicola Griffith: In the UK publishing is a little more nervous. With the "out" books, I would get these plaintive emails from readers saying "I didn't know she was going to be a lesbian and then I read it and I really liked it but I'm married you know!" They were really puzzled that they could enjoy reading a book with a lesbian in it. It just freaked out a lot of people. And I just say lesbians are people. I read books about men, about straight women. Why can't you read a book about a lesbian? I'm not talking about a lesbian story. It's not a coming story in that way. It's just a story of a person who happens to like girls. As I climbed the publishing tree going to vic-fic, people just don't mention it really. The world has changed a lot. People don't seem to care so much.

WCT: What you want people to come away with when they close the back cover of the book? What do you want them to keep with them?

Nicola Griffith: Everything. I want this book to feel like their own memory. I want them to shut the book and think 'yes, that's how it was, in that time with those people'. Almost like it really happened, like a news report. I want it to be fiction in such an immersive way, that Hild's experience is their experience, her joys are their joys. Her lessons are their lessons. … It's like Google Glass—an overlay on their world and an internal change. I want them to see the world differently.

UPDATE: Due to health reasons, Griffith had to cancel her visit to Chicago, which was to have been Dec. 4 at Women & Children First.

This article shared 8050 times since Wed Nov 27, 2013
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Dozens of celebrities, companies set to take part in Spirit Day on Oct. 21
--From a press release - New York, NY, Thursday, October 14, 2021 - Today, GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, announced a preliminary list of celebrities, shows ...

Gay News

LGBTQ History Month: Pauli Murray, architect of history
By Victoria A. Brownworth - (Note: The pronouns she/her are used in keeping with Murray's own writings, but Murray was a transmasculine and gender-nonconforming lesbian.) Some say Pauli Murray is the most important U.S. activist many have never heard of. An ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Activist Peter Staley's Memoir 'Never Silent' is a real-life thriller
--From - "Attention must be paid to such a man." — Arthur Miller Peter Staley's much-anticipated new memoir, Never Silent, opens with almost unbearable nail-biting suspense, sweeping us into the behind-the-scenes machinations of an ACT UP takeover of ...

Gay News

MUSIC Janis Ian's last Chicago concert May 14
In what is being advertised as her last concert in Chicago, LGBTQ singer Janis Ian will be performing at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave. on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at 8 p.m. Tickets ($48-$50) will ...

Gay News

President Biden appoints Debra Shore to key EPA position
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today President Joe Biden appointed former LGBTQ Victory Institute board chair Debra Shore to be the next Region Five Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency — representing six states in the Midwest and ...

Gay News

Donations needed for LGBTQ+-affirming spiritual leader's recovery
In July, Sofia G. Sarabia—an activist and community leader who provided spiritual counseling to LGBTQ+ youth and undocumented immigrants—suffered an unexpected stroke that injured her brain and left her immobile and unable to speak or eat. ...

Gay News

Achy Obejas' bilingual poetry book Boomerang/Bumeran explores immigration, liberation
By Max Lubbers - Achy Obejas is a Cuban-American writer, translator and activist. Boomerang/Bumerán, her newest book, confronts questions of immigration, love and liberation. Like a boomerang, these ideas return throughout the collection, even ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Victory Institute, LGBTQ books, youth items, NASA, LGBTQ Nation
LGBTQ Victory Institute and nine additional candidate-training organizations announced a partnership with Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, to provide a native-to-mobile tool to encourage young people to run for office, a press release noted. ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race' winners, Playboy, punk band, The Dinah, Daniel Craig
Video below - As part of VH1's #LGBTQHerstoryMonth project, five winners from the RuPaul's Drag Race winner's circle—season one's BeBe Zahara Benet, All Stars 4 winner Monet X Change, season 11 winner Yvie Oddly, season 12 victor Jaida Essence ...

Gay News

WORLD Japan politics, video games, lesbian tennis player, Mr. Gay World
LGBTQ+-rights activists were hoping Japan would finally allow same-sex marriage if Taro Kono, who has publicly supported same-sex marriage, became the country's next prime minister—but their hopes were dashed. Japan's ...

Gay News

Sally Ride to be among women on U.S. coins next year
The United States Mint announced the official designs for the first five coins in the American Women Quarters Program. The 2022 coins will recognize the achievements of author/social activist Maya Angelou; physicist/astronaut Dr. Sally Ride, a ...

Gay News

Book about musician Tori Amos' works coming out
The book Tori Amos: every album, every song—by rock journalist Lisa Torem—will be out in the United States on Friday, Oct. 29, courtesy of Sonic Bond Publishing. In 1992, Amos—an acclaimed singer, pianist and composer—achieved fame ...

Gay News

Monday, Oct. 11, marks both Indigenous Peoples' Day and National Coming Out Day
The Trevor Project's Coming Out: A Handbook for LGBTQ Young People is a resource that covers a wide range of topics to support LGBTQ young people in exploring what coming out safely can mean for them. ...

Gay News

Affinity's 'Virtual Black Gold' on Oct. 23
Affinity Community Services—a social-justice organization serving the needs of the Black LGBTQ+ community, with a particular focus on Black women—will hold its "Virtual Black Gold" casino event Saturday, Oct. 23. ...

Gay News

Sisters in Cinema, DocuClub providing consulting opportunities to filmmakers
Sisters in Cinema—a Chicago-based 501(C)3 that aims to center and celebrate Black girls, women and gender non-conforming media makers—and DocuClub, a work-in-progress screening series, have entered into a strategic partnership ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.