Award-Winning British Novelist Visits N.Y.

Alan Hollinghurst, the gay author of “The Line of Beauty,” addresses fans at LGBT center

Fresh from picking up the prestigious Man Booker Prize for his critically acclaimed new novel, “The Line of Beauty,” British author Alan Hollinghurst treated a packed audience to an illuminating reading at the LGBT Community Center on Friday, December 10. Mel Wolf, the director of a speakers’ program at the Center, hosted the event.

Hollinghurst’s tale of gay sex and love and the pursuit of beauty in the Thatcher-era of 1980s Britain—a period the author called “ghastly”—has an upcoming review in Gay City News.

The author, who just finished teaching a course on writing at Princeton, talked about his own writing habits. “I spend a lot of time not working,” he said, “but when I get going I work rigorously—unplugging the telephone, putting in ear plugs, and closing the curtains.” Not surprisingly, Hollinghurst’s prose style and keen social observances have been compared to the writings of Marcel Proust.

The UK Observer has hailed his latest novel as a “masterpiece.” It follows three other well-received works—“The Swimming Pool Library,” “The Folding Star,” and “The Spell.” The 50-year-old author was asked what’s next and said he only had a “glimmer” of what that work would be, though he said he might publish some short stories.

Notoriety from winning the Booker Prize will ensure that Hollinghurst’s work reaches an audience beyond gay readers. Hollinghurst said that he has optioned “The Line of Beauty” to BBC Films. A screenplay by Andrew Davies, screenwriter of the “House of Cards,” a1990s drama about a rising Conservative politician, will adapt the novel for a three-part series.

—Andy Humm

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