In this episode, we’re celebrating Pride Month with British author and screenwriter Simon James Green. Simon joins host Suzanne McCabe to talk about Gay Club!, his hilarious new novel for young adults. The story revolves around Barney Brown, a self-described chess geek who wants to lead his high school’s LGBTQIA+ Society to better days. But Barney faces unexpected competition in the group’s presidential election from rival Bronte, who manages to have the voting opened to the entire student body at Greenacre Academy. Little by little, the stakes are raised, showing the teens at their worst—and, ultimately, their best.
Simon is also the author of Heartbreak Boys, Alex in Wonderland, Noah Could Never, and You’re the One That I Want, among many other acclaimed titles.
Read With Pride: These LGBTQIA+ books for kids are relatable and eye-opening for all readers.
Learn More About Simon James Green: Find out why Simon is considered one of the UK’s leading writers of LGBTQIA+ fiction for teens.
Order Gay Club! on Amazon: Barney is a shoo-in for president of his school's LGBTQIA+ Society until he’s not. Simon James Green’s new YA novel offers “shade, scandals, and sleazy shenanigans.”
Simon James Green, author, Gay Club!
“You can't help but look at the state of politics, both in the UK and the U.S., and all around the world, actually, and just see how increasingly ridiculous things seem to be getting…. I wanted to capture a little bit of that sort of craziness.”
“When I go into the schools and visit students, I am filled with a sense of hope because my overwhelming impression is that they are very open, very accepting. They really don't understand this pushback from various adults in their communities. They don't get it. They think it's ridiculous.”
“It's very hard to work out who you are as a young person if you never see yourself represented in a book. And certainly for me, in the ‘90s . . . I never got to see an LGBT character in a book or an LGBT storyline. And so I grew up having no real idea about that. It would've had such an amazing effect on me if I'd seen a kid going through what I was going through, feeling similar things. It gives you an enormous amount of reassurance and comfort. It lets you know you're not the only one. And beyond that, of course, even if you're not LGBT yourself, what it does is it opens your eyes to the whole world, the wider world, the stuff that your friends, your peers, are going through.”
“What you need to do is stand together, united, to fight for your rights and for freedom, and for the freedom to read whatever book you want to read in the school library.”
“I wrote my first book when I was 12 years old on my grandmother’s typewriter in her little study at home.”
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Producer: Maxine Osa
Sound engineer: Daniel Jordan
Music composer: Lucas Elliot Eberl
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