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Interview with Sarah Schulman

In Sarah Schulman’s 1986 novel Girls, Visions and Everything she describes Gay Day, the gay pride march in New York City. Lila, the novel’s dyke-about-town protagonist, takes turns marching with each group, joining in with the ‘thousands of sweating faggots and dykes just dancing freely under the buildings of New York City.’ She marches with the Gay Psychologists, moves on to the Gay Catholics, then to Mirth and Girth, briefly joins the sadomasochists leading their lovers on leashes, then on to Gay Youth, Gay Teachers, Gay Grandmas (she skips over the Gay Cops), she wells up at Parents of Gays, ‘with their handpainted signs, “We Love Our Gay Children.”’ As the chapter progresses, the streets and sidewalks overflow ‘with screaming, cheering gay people of every color and degree of faggotry.’

 

As a novelist, historian, non-fiction writer, journalist, playwright and screenwriter, Schulman has spent the last 40 years documenting gay life in America. Across 20 books, Schulman turns over her central preoccupations: queer community in all its beauty and contradiction; the difficulty and responsibility of conflict and repair; the harm done by familial homophobia; gentrification, particularly in the Lower East Side, Schulman’s long-time neighbourhood; the legacy of AIDS; and the people who changed the course of the AIDS crisis. This is the story Schulman tells in her latest book, Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 (2021), ‘the story’, she writes, ‘of a despised group of people, with no rights, facing a terminal disease for which there were no treatments. Abandoned by their families, government, and society, they joined together and forced our country to change against its will.’

 

Every Monday night, ACT UP members would gather at what was then the Gay Center, where they ‘came to save lives with humor, commitment, profound innovation, genius, will, and focus, and sometimes wild acting out, ruthlessness, and chance.’ At its peak, 500–700 people joined the weekly meetings. Let the Record Show has its roots in the hundreds of interviews that make up the AIDS Oral History Project that Schulman ran with the filmmaker Jim Hubbard (together they also made the 2012 film United in Anger: A History of ACT UP). Drawing on these interviews, Schulman acts as a facilitator, letting ACT UP members describe how they forced the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to change its definition of AIDS so women could access treatment, and ended insurance exclusions for people with AIDS. ACT UP, in Schulman’s words, was a ‘human, complex, multifaceted society of activists who succeeded in winning significant victories, against great odds, that changed the world and literally saved lives.’

 

I spoke to Schulman over Zoom. We talked about what younger generations can learn from ACT UP, her conviction that deeply flawed people can change the world and activism as a way of making things possible.

 

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

Let the Record Show comes out of the ACT UP Oral History Project in your work with Jim Hubbard. The book isn’t chronological; rather, it’s a constellation of actions, voices, individuals, and often individuals who have been left out of the dominant narrative of AIDS – women, people of colour, drug users, the incarcerated. Sometimes you are present, guiding us through, and sometimes you retreat to the background. In that sense, it’s not your history of ACT UP. So how do you understand your role?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— My role? Well, I just think Jim and I took responsibility for something that had to happen. And I think we felt very accountable to our dead friends. AIDS has been misrepresented since the beginning. Even the first name for it, ‘gay-related immune deficiency’ – there’s no such thing as gay-related immune deficiency. There’s no biological marker for AIDS, for gay. So from the beginning, it’s been misrepresented. I started covering it very, very early – I’ve spent 40 years now trying to speak out in response to misrepresentations, often by very powerful individuals and institutions. My philosophy of this project has been: if the people who did this are actually given a chance to say what they think happened, even if they contradict each other, that is really the best corrective. So I facilitated that. For the most part in this book, I don’t represent very many opinions. I’m letting people contradict each other, lie, do all kinds of things, because they should be heard. That’s my role. 

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— Alongside the interviews with individuals, ACT UP members describe their campaigns and projects, narrating how ACT UP forced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to adopt a fast-track system for experimental drugs or made needle exchange legal in New York. I’m interested in the idea that ACT UP didn’t theorise itself at the time, and that theory cannot precede action but can only come after action. Do you see this book as an act of theorisation? Is ACT UP theorisable now?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

I don’t think I am theorising. I think that I’m cohering information that has never been collected before. It’s very, very hard to find out what activist movements actually do and did because the corporate press doesn’t cover it. So, right now we have a national movement in the US against police violence. It exists in every city in the country. But I don’t know who the people are. I don’t know what they’re doing because it’s not covered. It’s very rare that you have the opportunity to really find out how a quasi-successful political movement succeeded. There is a preceding book by Taylor Branch called Parting the Waters (1988) that does this for the Civil Rights Movement. Branch interviewed huge numbers of people, he cohered strategic decisions and tactics. He’s like the model. But unless you have had a front row seat all this time, you can’t do that. So that’s more what I’m doing – trying to give people information. It’s not a blueprint, just information that certain kinds of things are more effective than others. One of them is that trying to force everybody into one strategy or analysis does not work. And I don’t think that there’s any historical example of a movement where that has worked. That’s something that I think people need to know. Another is, if you use a tactic and it doesn’t work, don’t do it again. It sounds idiotic for me to have to say that, but people are constantly repeating tactics that fail. So even just those two things, I think, could help people.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— There’s a tension in the book between this coherence, where you act as a facilitator who brings material together, and at the same time a resistance to coherence, of not stepping in to correct inaccurate memories or lies, of letting things be discontinuous or contradictory.

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— I’m primarily a novelist. I think the novelist’s job is to show how people experience their own lives, how people understand their own lives, and how they feel about their own lives – not how I think they should feel about it, or how I wish they would feel about it, but how they actually do. And when you take that perspective, every single person has contradictions. And we’re suffering from the denial of the fact that every person has contradictions. There’s a demand for perfection that is impossible right now, that cripples people. So I’m just sticking to that – that belief, those values, that people who are highly flawed, who lie, who aggrandise themselves, they can change the world. You don’t have to be a hero to change the world, you could be a person. And I think that’s important information.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— I’m thinking about a particular moment in your earlier non-fiction book, The Gentrification of the Mind (2012) where you reprint part of your interview with the novelist Edmund White. And White describes a really beautiful moment of tension between with the playwright Larry Kramer, which is not just about conflict over the founding of institutions or bodies, but about how much sex Edmund White had. And Kramer has this moment of disbelief where he says, ‘But Edmund, you didn’t you didn’t do all that, surely you didn’t have all that sex?’ And White says: ‘but, Larry, I did!’ It’s very light, but you allow flawed individuals to speak, to stage disagreement. You just talked about the demand for perfection. What do you mean by that? And where do you think that demand comes from?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— There’s a distorted idea that activism means taking people down, saying what’s wrong with them. It doesn’t. That actually stops anything from happening. Activism is like opening up doors and new ideas and making things possible for people. And this kind of stopping people is very destructive.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— Was that demand for perfection there in the AIDS crisis years?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— Within ACT UP, I did not find a lot of examples of somebody having an idea that fit the statement of unity – of direct action to end the AIDS crisis – where they were not allowed to do it. In fact, in 188 interviews for The ACT UP Oral History Project, I don’t think anyone described having had that experience. It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Because don’t forget, these meetings were not recorded, and it was before the internet. But given that no one in 18 years ever described that experience, I would have to say it was very rare. 

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— There must have been plenty of conflict and disagreement.

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— Yes, lots of conflict. But it’s not conflict, it’s New York culture. This is pre-gentrification, Jewish and Catholic people who are not afraid to scream at each other. I think one thing that’s very important is that no one was ever kicked out of ACT UP (except for this cult called the New Alliance Party that tried to take over the organisation). But no individual was ever kicked out, no matter how crazy they were. And the situation was insane. We were very young people, and people were suffering profoundly, and dying, and everybody was upset. There was a lot of acting out, but no one was ever kicked out. I think that tells you ACT UP didn’t have supremacy ideology about themselves. Gay sex was illegal and homosexuals with AIDS were like the bottom of the barrel – they didn’t have any rights. And in order to kick people out, you have to think you’re better than them, and that you’re clean, and they’re dirty, and that they’re sullying you, right – it’s a supremacy position. And that never happened. Even when we decided, as an organisation after a great deal of debate, to do a silent die-in at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Instead, [ACT UP member] Michael Petrelis jumped up on the pews and started screaming at the cardinal and caused craziness. Some people were mad at him, but no one ever said he should be kicked out. It wasn’t a concept, and that tells you a lot.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— In the film United in Anger, you are interviewed immediately after Stop the Church. You are critical of the way it played out – you say that the silent portion of the protest was tremendously effective, but that people were praying and they were upset by the yelling and standing on the pews. Why was it important to show your disagreement with some of ACT UP’s action and tactics?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— But I was wrong about Stop the Church, actually. The noise was effective. I’m involved in Palestine Solidarity, and before ACT UP, I was involved in the reproductive rights movement. So I’ve been in movements where the other side is immobile, like anti-abortionist or Zionists or, in this case, Catholics who hate people with AIDS. They’re all in; you can’t move them. And what I didn’t understand at the time of Stop the Church –  this was 1989, so I was, whatever, 31 – and that I understand now, is that you engage in that theatre with people not to convince the immobile side, but because you’re performing ideas for the third party, which is the audience that’s watching. So when ACT UP did Stop the Church they were extremely successful. I interviewed Donna Binder, who was a photojournalist, for The Act Up Oral History Project in 2010, and she says that before Stop the Church she would bring ACT UP photos to USA Today and Time Magazine and these kind of places, and they would say no, we want to see emaciated people lying in bed dying. But after Stop the Church, they would take photos of people fighting for their lives. They changed their concept of what a person with AIDS look like. That’s very significant. So right in the moment, I was upset because we had agreed on something. But I was wrong.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— I’d love to talk more about form. In The Gentrification of the Mind you write that ‘the key to the gentrification mentality is the replacement of complex realities with simple ones.’ And you trace a process by which ‘mixed neighbourhoods become homogenous.’ Do you think that at the level of form, oral history can counter the gentrification mindset? By using this kind of arrangement of voices with differences of opinion, rather than say a novel written in a sustained way in a single voice with a single character.

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— My novels are not written in a single voice. Jim and I founded MIX, an experimental Queer Film Festival, in 1987. It lasted for 33 years, and then it died. But we found that very complex and difficult, formally inventive film spoke to broad, general audiences of queer people who did not have arts educations. Because it was a more accurate representation of their actual lives than conventional narrative structure or theatrical releases, especially at the epicentre of the AIDS crisis, the chaos of the AIDS crisis. I would extend that to all human life. I mean, people think that their life is romance, marriage, motherhood. That’s the female life, and now that’s the female life for a gay person also. And then for men, it’s romance, war, if you’re poor, or business, professionalisation if you’re rich, and for both marriage, parenthood. But a lot of people’s lives don’t go that way and so conventional narrative structure is not appropriate for telling those lives. What’s been interesting for me is that I write these highly formally inventive lesbian novels that can’t get recognition. But when I did it in a book about men, they’re like, ‘oh my God, you’re such a good writer, you’re so smart, this book is so important’. Then when I presented my next lesbian novel, which is highly formally inventive, to the very same publishers, they wouldn’t even have a conversation with me about it, because it’s not an important subject matter. You know, the ACT UP book has been more successful because it’s about men. But these are techniques that I have been using my entire career, and continue to use for nonfiction and fiction.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— It’s about men, but it’s also really explicitly putting women at the core of AIDS activism.

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— Not at the core. This has been interesting. People say, well, she’s centring women and people of colour. That is absolutely not true. I am centring white gay men. It’s just that I’m not excluding women and people of colour as the previous histories have. Plus, most white gay men were excluded. It was only the most elite who had their story told. When you actually show who was actually there, it’s so different than the misrepresentations that we’ve endured for the last decades. Because people can’t tolerate women and people of colour being represented in a white space. They’re like, oh my God, she’s centring them, but I’m not. If you actually count the numbers of people, the vast majority are white men, just like they were in real life.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— Given that you write across so many forms in so many genres, what motivates you to write a novel? Or not?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— I have no answer. I’m a natural, that’s all.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— So there’s a scene in Rat Bohemia (1995), where David describes the death of his boyfriend. And he writes that Don’s ‘deathbed scene was too huge to be cinematic. If there was a new art form combining nature, opera, and war, that might be sufficient.’ Across your work, you seem to be dealing with something like the insufficiency of genre, or trying to find a genre for AIDS. You know, Rat Bohemia is a very different novel to People in Trouble (1990) or Girls, Visions and Everything (1986). Do you feel a frustration with genre? 

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— I don’t have an opinion. It’s because I’m under-educated. This is why this whole thing started. Because I didn’t even know what an MFA was. I’m from a different kind of generation. So my very first book, The Sophie Horowitz Story (1984), I remember Sally Munt, who was a lesbian literary critic at the time in England, she interviewed me and she was like, ‘How did you make the decision to use pastiche’. And I said, ‘What’s pastiche?’ This is just how it works for me. I’m a stylist. But women are not supposed to be stylists if they have politics, and gay women are not supposed to be stylists at all. Britain is different. Nobody just says, ‘Sarah’s a good writer, she’s a stylist, let’s let her do this.’ There was like, ‘This is terrible.’ Because it’s unfamiliar, therefore, it’s wrong. Familiarity equals quality in our culture right now, and entertainment is telling people what they already know. There are a few people who are allowed to not do that, but not if they’re me. 

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— I have a deep frustration, when I walk into a bookstore, and I want to pick up a book about lesbians, in which they are entire individuals, they are people who are fully individuated, and they have sex lives. And nine and a half times out of ten, I don’t find one. Why is it so bad?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— It’s always been this way. It’s always been this way.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— Early on in Let the Record Show you write that ‘this is a story of the first generation of AIDS activists who experienced the virus in a way that no subsequent generation would ever have to experience it.’ That seems like the core of generational difference, that the struggles and the success of an older generation will necessarily mean that future generations will not know what it is like. I think elsewhere you say that it’s the way it should be – that younger generations won’t know what it’s like through experience, and they will have to do other kinds of work – they will have to listen, to read, to watch. How do you think that subsequent generations have experienced the AIDS crisis?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— I think it’s very uneven. It depends on all kinds of things, like did they have a teacher who showed them United in Anger, or did their mother’s brother die from mysterious reasons that no one ever discussed? I don’t think that it’s collective. I think it’s individual.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— I think about this a lot with my students. I’m 10 or 15 years older than them. So how do you meet younger people where they are, while still teaching them, still offering them knowledge? 

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— I spent 25 years teaching at the College of Staten Island, so my students are not cutting-edge people. I asked them, ‘What are you reading? What are you listening to?’ They’re very far behind, they don’t know what’s going on. But they have their own stuff going on. A lot of them are new immigrants or undocumented, they work at Amazon, and they take my night school class, bring their kids to class. They’re struggling, and I admire them. I just took a job at Northwestern University,  and that’s going to be very different. I have never had to put up with what a lot of my friends who teach at private schools have had to put up with, which is students denouncing teachers, because they triggered them. I hear stories constantly. We don’t have that [at the College of Staten Island]. Our students collaborate with us, we respect them, they respect us. We all have concrete goals. The classroom is not a theatre for them to prove something in the same way.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— Some of my favourite parts of Gentrification of the Mind and Let the Record Show are about teaching. I love the story of Karin Timour, a bookeeper who read about ACT UP in The New York Times Magazine and joined because she thought it was a place she might make some friends. Timour and the ACT UP health insurance committee researched insurance policies and exclusions, educating other ACT UPpers. They organised demonstrations in front of insurance company headquarters, built coalitions, and interacted with legislators in a complicated, multi-year campaign that won basic insurance rights for people with AIDS. I love that story partly because it’s so wonkish, so detail oriented; it involves a small group mastering information that they share with others. Could you talk to me about how pedagogy and teaching are part of activism?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— What’s interesting about ACT UP is that there were no spokespeople. Anyone could be a spokesperson. They had all these teach-ins, and when you look at the ACT UP Oral History Project many years later, people have very complex understandings of all kinds of policy, legal, medical questions, social issues. What’s also interesting is that they don’t all use the same words. They’re not bots, they weren’t just told what to think. They were all given information, and they processed it differently. Very rarely do people repeat the same phrases. There’s a couple of phrases that people repeat – ‘people with AIDS are the experts’, a number of people say – but not much more than that. But the people of ACT UP were a very particular type. This is a highly motivated, competitive personality, who has a lot of resilience, and who can stand a lot of pain and struggle and has a deep intelligence, an emotional intelligence. Look at people like Jim Eigo. He was a playwright and he could figure out the FDA and figure out how they could set up a parallel track so people who were sick could get experimental drugs that didn’t go through the approval system. He was smart. When you have that kind of a rank and file it really helps. The whole group was empowered and people were making treatment decisions for themselves, which were very difficult because there were no treatments. They had to understand very complicated things.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— There’s an offhand remark in Gentrification of the MindI think it’s literally in parentheses – where you say that AIDS ‘was and is a phenomenon so broad and vast as to permanently transform the experience of being a person in the world.’ And I often think that your writing, the work bringing people to consciousness that you do, is an invitation to be transformed, whether by grief or by rage or by horror. It seem to insist on memory.

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— You know, I don’t totally understand how all these books get written. I don’t even remember writing them. Like, Let the Record Show – I remember printing out one page, but I really don’t remember writing it. I don’t totally understand how it works, but it comes out a certain way. And then people react, and the reaction is unpredictable. There are things that I think are really normal that people get incredibly upset about. So, I don’t know. This book is not my best book or anything. The subsequent lesbian novel that I wrote, I can’t get a conversation about and it’s also formally inventive, like Let the Record Show, and it’s also about people’s contradictions – but it’s about lesbians. So, you know, it’s the book that’s the most palatable that they say is the best, but it’s not. It’s the worst on some level.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— Can you tell me about that lesbian novel?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— It’s very frustrating. I’ve had this experience in the past. I had ten years where I couldn’t publish anything. I wrote four books in those ten years, and then they all came out at once. Gentrification of the Mind was one of them. It was held up for four years because of a chapter about Palestine. I eventually had to take it out and write an entire book about Palestine because I couldn’t get the book through. I’ve had these obstacles my whole life, and now I’m having them again. And it’s very frustrating. But the book that people won’t have a conversation with, is not any worse than Let the Record Show. It’s just it’s not about men.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— I don’t deny that part of the recognition is that it’s about men, but is it also to do with the kind of authoritative weight of a book like Let the Record Show? And we also live in a moment with his tremendous appetite for nonfiction, right?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— Sure. But part of the problem of lesbian fiction is that, when you read fiction, you have to identify with the protagonist. And people don’t like lesbians, and they don’t want to identify with the protagonist.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— My favourite of your novels is Girls, Visions and Everything (1986).

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— That’s a really old one. It’s like 37 years old, or something. It’s older than you. That book has never gone out of print. And also people in the old days, when there used to be personal ads and newspapers, people would use that book, they would say, ‘I like Girls, Visions and Everything’, or something like that, because it meant ‘I’m a certain type of lesbian’. I think that my best novels are The Child (2007), The Cosmopolitans (2016), I also really like The Mere Future (2009) and Maggie Terry (2018). Those are four books that I really like. I think that they’re really doing something very unique. I mean, I like Empathy (1992) also. They have content and form, and a relationship between the two that has never been seen before. And that’s part of the reason that those books are less discussed, because they’re actually more achieved. 

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— I read The Cosmopolitans recently, and what stunned me about that was the ambition that you were working with, of doing this kind of rewriting Honoré de Balzac and thinking about James Baldwin and also thinking about Henry James, but you weren’t just rewriting Balzac, you were writing Balzac as he would have been translated at mid-century and that was providing the texture of the prose. What I really love about that book is that it’s not a book about families. It’s a book that’s desperately trying to escape the stronghold of the family. It’s about friendship. Right?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— I never understood why that book didn’t do better. I couldn’t get it published. I had to publish it with the Feminist Press and they did the best they could. It was picked as one of the best novels of 2016 by Publishers Weekly. But I mean, that’s a book that should be a movie. I’m describing characters that they’re not interested in. There’s no white male protagonist in that book. It kills their interest. And also because the people are troubled, you know, they’re complicated real people.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— Have you ever written poetry?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— Never.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— Why not?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— I’m not interested in writing it.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— What is your new novel about?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— I don’t have a really easy answer for that. But it starts in 1917 and it goes to 2020. But it’s only 190 pages. And it has two dynastic Jewish families on different sides of the psychoanalytic divide. So one of the centrepieces is the 1950s, when these Jewish refugee psychiatrists from Germany came to New York, and they confront the Russian Jews, Russian Jewish American psychiatry, and the Germans who, of course, are much more upper class and better educated and more sophisticated and all that. They speak languages and they play classical music. The German Jews believed that people heal in relationship. The Russian Jewish guys were working class, and their parents were illiterate, and they were interested in antidepressants. And there was a clash. So that’s one of the centrepieces of the book. And then Carson McCullers is a character who weaves in and out of the book. I’ve got a really great book here.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— You have the history of psychiatry, you have the history of Jews in America, and you have Carson McCullers: that’s the hat trick, right?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— Well, it could be post-mortem before you get to see it. Right now I’m pulling together my papers and there’s stuff in there with titles I don’t recognise. I have so much unpublished work, you can’t believe it. I have an entire novel called Innocent Ancestors that I forgot ever existed. I have seven or eight plays that have never been seen. At one point, I could wait ten years. But now I’m 63. How long do I have to wait?

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— The idea that people heal in relation – that feels like a summary for your work as a whole.

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— That was the original idea of psychoanalysis: that people heal in relationship. But now we know that it’s not either/or. Some people need medication and they need relational support. The only option that I think is wrong is the medication-only option. But they had a big debate in the 50s, when the first antidepressant was released, because they had all these guys from World War Two who were shell-shocked and depressed. And that’s what they were trying to treat. Whereas the German Jews were treating the elite, they didn’t have these mass problems.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— It strikes me that of these two methods, only one of them is widely available, which is antidepressants as medication.

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— Unless you are wealthy, then you can get endless psychoanalysis.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— On the subject of methods: ACT UP’s methods are incredibly various. As you were putting together the book, are there ideas or methods that still resonate that and particularly resonate and feel useful to you?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— I think no consensus, radical democracy, big tent politics, the opposite of praxis (theory that evolves from action) – all of those things would be very helpful right now.

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— I was thinking about a quote from Diane di Prima as I was rereading your work, from her Revolutionary Letters (1986): ‘no one way works, it will take all of us / shoving it the thing from all sides / to bring it down.’

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— You know, she and I went to the same high school. And so did Audre Lorde and so did Cynthia Nixon and so did Elena Kagan. Hunter High School. 

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— That would make for quite a high school reunion. Are you happy to have the description of your new book included in the interview?

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— Sure, why not? Maybe some British publisher will contact me. And we can do an original publication in the UK. I would love that. I’m very open to that. I wish somebody would follow up with that. That’s like the most important thing you can put in this interview. Help! Help! UK! Help!

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— If I could get this novel published…

A

SARAH SCHULMAN

— I’ll give you the 20% agent’s fee if you get it published.

 

Q

THE WHITE REVIEW

— Deal.
A

SARAH SCHULMAN

 

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ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

Sarah Schulman was born in New York City in 1958. She is a novelist, nonfiction writer, playwright, screenwriter and AIDS historian. Her novels include Girls, Visions and Everything (1986), Empathy (1992), Rat Bohemia (1995), People in Trouble (1990), The Child (2007), The Mere Future (2009), The Cosmopolitans (2016) and Maggie Terry (2018). Her non fiction includes Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination (2012) and Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993 (2021).

Kristin Grogan is an Assistant Professor in English at Rutgers University. She is finishing a book on poetry and labor.  

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