Gary L. Atkins is an award-winning journalist whose works include Gay Seattle: Stories of Exile and Belonging and his new book, Imagining Gay Paradise: Bali, Bangkok and Cyber-Singapore. He specializes in creative non-fiction journalism, fusing an easy-to-read narrative style powered by strong characters with questions about history, geography, communication, and social justice.
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In Gay Seattle, Atkins follows the 100-year-long saga through which gay men and women imagined their “coming home” – rather than just their “coming out” — in the context of the Pacific Northwest’s famously wet landscape and roguish history. Similarly, in Imagining Gay Paradise he journeys through a century of imaginings of paradise and manhood by gay men in the tropical geography of Southeast Asia. The saga stretches from the end of the Dutch and British colonial empires to the present world of cyberspace, ranging across the development of the aesthetic paradise of Bali in the 1920s and 1930s to the erotic paradise of Bangkok fostered from the 1960s onward, and to the cyber-paradise promoted since the 1990s in Singapore.
Gay Seattle was published by the University of Washington Press in 2003 and received numerous accolades for its fusion of journalism and scholarship, including a Washington State Book Award and a national Jesuit Book Award. The University of Hong Kong Press is publishing the hardback edition of Imagining Gay Paradise and is joined by Silkworm Books of Thailand as co-publishers of the paperback edition. Imagining Gay Paradise is also being made available as an e-book through Amazon and Project Muse.
Atkins first became interested in writing about age six when his parents gave him a rubber-type printing press. He immediately started producing a newspaper for his local neighborhood in New Orleans. In high school, he initially thought he might become a historian or a biologist – two other strong interests – but eventually he realized that if he entered journalism, he could write about all three of his interests: current political and legal events, history, and nature. He graduated from Loyola University and then Stanford University, served an internship on the Washington Post and joined the Pulitzer-winning Riverside Press-Enterprise in California — where he won numerous awards for his narrative and environmental reporting and writing.
Seattle University hired him to teach in its Communication Department and, in 2005, named him a full professor in communication. He also holds an associate appointment in gender studies. Atkins teaches courses in non-fiction narrative writing, communication justice and law, and sexual justice/gender issues.
Buy Imagining Gay Paradise from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Columbia University Press, Hong Kong University Press, Silkworm Books, Kinokuniya Thailand, Kinokuniya Singapore, University of British Columbia Press, Eurospan