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Ann Bannon has been called “The Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction” for her landmark “Beebo Brinker Chronicles,” a series of five original paperback novels published by Gold Medal Books in the 1950s and 60...
Ann Bannon has been called “The Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction” for her landmark “Beebo Brinker Chronicles,” a series of five original paperback novels published by Gold Medal Books in the 1950s and 60s. The books tell the stories of young lesbians in the gay Mecca of pre-Stonewall Greenwich Village. In the intervening years, having gone through many editions and reprints, Ann’s books have become something more than ardent and engaging tales; to a new generation of readers, they provide historical insights into gay life in those faraway days.
When she started writing in 1955, Bannon was a twenty-two year old housewife living in Philadelphia. She found the book that became the inspiration for her own writing on a drugstore shelf: it was Vin Packer’s Spring Fire, a story of two college sorority sisters who have an intense affair. The book sparked a fire in Bannon, only a year out of college herself, and eventually led to her own lesbian narrative. With surprising and welcome help from author Vin Packer, to whom Bannon had written for advice, the manuscript found its way to Richard Carroll, editor-in-chief of Gold Medal Books. Carroll’s suggestions tightened the manuscript and focused it on the romance between the two girls. As Odd Girl Out, it became Bannon’s first published work — the second best selling original paperback of 1957. Bannon followed it up with four others: I Am A Woman, Women in the Shadows, Journey to a Woman, and Beebo Brinker, all published between 1957 and 1962.
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