Close reading: Lou Sullivan
On the 22nd of October we will dive into the radical diary writing of activist and writer Lou Sullivan. Sullivan’s writing in We Both Laughed in Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of Lou Sullivan chronicles his life as a gay trans man and was awarded the Lambda Literary Award for Best Transgender Non-fiction in 2020 and a finalist for the Publishing Triangle Award. Brussels activist Robin Brettar will select fragments from Sullivan’s work and guide us through the text.
Reading, a lonely occupation?
Curling up with a good book is something you generally do on your own, right? But reading doesn’t have to be an individual, let alone lonely activity. Like our new ‘Leesclubdelecture’, this series of ‘Close Readings’ proves the opposite.
A ‘Close Reading’ is a reading club without any preparatory reading work. During a close reading a central guest reads excerpts from a work close to their heart. Together with this passionate moderator, a small group of participants dives into the text, discussing literary forms and political issues that matter today.
Lou Sullivan’s achive today
Towards the end of his life, Lou Sullivan began editing his journals for publication, a task he was unable to complete. Now made public for the first time (Nightboat Books, 2019), we want to take the time to go through this archive of diaries with you. An archive of notes, experiences and ‘ephemeral expressions of identity formed alongside his queer community of family, friends, and lovers.’
Louis Graydon Sullivan (b. Milwaukee, 1951; d. San Francisco, 1991) was a writer, activist, typesetter, trans historian, and queer revolutionary. He was perhaps the first transgender man to publicly identify as gay, and is largely responsible for the modern understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity as distinct, unrelated concepts.
Robin Brettar studied painting and philosophy (kask, Ugent, CEU, KULeuven). They identify as non-binary trans-masc feminist and have a fierce passion for community organizing and collaborative projects. Robin is a member of Mothers and Daughters - a lesbian* and trans* bar and co-founder of Transemble. Currently, they are studying conflict mediation and hope to further develop these skills professionally.
This is one of three close readings Passa Porta will host in collaboration with Rile*. Rile* is a bookshop and project space for publication and performance, based in Brussels. Rile* is into poetry, theory, choreography, artist writing and various other text-based experiments. Rile* organizes performances, meetings, launches, and readings.