Katherine V. Forrest on the Book that Changed Her Life
Author: Lilia Shrayfer
December 2, 2019
Books can tell us who we are. They are there for us just when we need them the most, which is why at Lambda Literary, we lift up LGBTQ voices every day.
We recently asked some of our favorite writers what they read when they were young. Legendary writer and editor Katherine V. Forrest told us:
A lesbian pulp fiction paperback first appeared before my disbelieving eyes in a drugstore rack in Detroit, Michigan in 1957. Overwhelming need led me to walk a gauntlet of fear up to the cash register. Fear so intense that I remember nothing more, only that I stumbled out of the store in possession of what I knew I must have, a book as necessary to me as air. The book was Odd Girl Out by Ann Bannon. It opened the door to my soul and told me who I was. It led me to other books that told me who some of us were, and how some of us lived.
Finding this book back then, and what it meant to me, is my touchstone to our literature, to its value and meaning. Yet no matter how many times I try to write or talk about that day in Detroit, I cannot convey the power of what it was like. You had to be there. I write my books out of the profound wish that no one will ever have to be there again.
You can help us make sure that no one will have to be there again.
Lambda Literary helps to bring the work of thousands of LGBTQ writers to a wider audience, books that are “necessary as air.”