Armistead Jones Maupin, Jr. (born May 13, 1944) is an American writer, best known for his Tales of the City series of novels, set in San Francisco.
1 Early life,
3.1 Tales of the City
3.1.1 Television miniseries,
3.1.2 Musical projects,
3.2 Maybe the Moon and The Night Listener,
3.3 Michael Tolliver Lives,
4 Personal life,
5 On being a 'gay writer',
6.1 Tales of the City,
6.2 Other novels,
9 Further reading,
10 External links,
Maupin was born to the parents, Diana Maupin and Armistead Jones Maupin, in Washington, D.C.. Soon afterwards, his family moved to North Carolina, where he was raised. He says he has had storytelling instincts since he was eight years old. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he became involved in journalism through writing for The Daily Tar Heel. After earning his undergraduate degree, Maupin enrolled in law school, but later resigned from it.
Maupin worked at WRAL-TV (Channel 5) in Raleigh, a station then managed by future U.S. Senator Jesse Helms, who also delivered the station's well-known editorial segments throughout his management of the station in the 1960s. Helms nominated Maupin for a patriotic award, which he won. Maupin says he was a typical conservative and even a segregationist at this time and admired Helms, a family friend, as a "hero figure." He later changed his opinions dramatically -- "I've changed and he hasn't" -- and condemned Helms at a gay pride parade on the steps of the North Carolina State Capitol. Maupin is a veteran of the United States Navy; he served several tours of duty including one in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.
Maupin's work on a Charleston newspaper was followed with an offer of a position at the San Francisco bureau of the Associated Press in 1971. He says he had known he was gay since childhood, but didn't have sex until he was 26 and only decided to come out in 1974 when he was about 30. The same year, he began what would become the Tales of the City series as a serial in a Marin County-based newspaper, the Pacific Sun, moving to the San Francisco Chronicle after the Sun's San Francisco edition folded.
Tales of the City:
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tales_of_the_City
Tales of the City is a series of novels, the first portions of which were published initially as a newspaper serial starting on August 8, 1974, in a Marin County newspaper, The Pacific Sun, picked up in 1976 by the San Francisco Chronicle, and later reworked into the series of books published by HarperCollins (then Harper and Row). The first of Maupin's novels, entitled Tales of the City, was published in 1978. Five more followed in the 1980s, ending with the last book, Sure of You, in 1989. A seventh novel published in 2007, Michael Tolliver Lives, continues the story of some of the characters. It was followed by an eighth volume, Mary Ann in Autumn, published in 2010. In Babycakes, published in 1983, Maupin was one of the first writers to address the subject of AIDS. Of the autobiographical nature of the characters, he says "I've always been all of the characters in one way or another."
The Tales of the City books have been translated into ten languages, and there are more than six million copies in print.
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tales_of_the_City_(TV_miniseries)
The first three books in the series have also been adapted into three television miniseries starring Olympia Dukakis and Laura Linney. The first airing was on the American television network PBS; subsequent miniseries appeared on the American cable television channel Showtime.
He collaborated on Anna Madrigal Remembers, a musical work written by Jake Heggie and performed by choir Chanticleer and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade on August 6, 1999, for which Maupin provided a new libretto. He also participated in a concert series with the Seattle Men's Chorus entitled Tunes From Tales (Music for Mouse), which included readings from his books and music from the era.
In April 2010, it was announced that a theatrical musical version of Tales of the City would debut in May 2011. The musical has a score and lyrics by Jake Shears and John Garden of the rock band Scissor Sisters, and a book by Jeff Whitty. It will be directed by Jason Moore.
Maybe the Moon and The Night Listener:
Maupin has written two novels, Maybe The Moon and The Night Listener, which are not part of the Tales canon, though both books occasionally glance in that direction.
Maybe The Moon is a story Maupin describes as 'partly autobiographical', despite the main character being a female heterosexual Jewish dwarf. The character was also based on his friend Tamara De Treaux, who played the title character in the 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
The Night Listener is a roman à clef, inspired by Maupin's real-life experiences concerning the Anthony Godby Johnson hoax. He says that he wanted to create a psychological thriller, while being able to put autobiographical elements in it. The issues he addresses include the ending of his relationship with his long-term partner and his relationship with his father. The book very lightly references the Tales world via Gabriel Noone's assistant, who is one of DeDe Halcyon-Day's twins from Tales. It was serialized on the internet, on Salon.com, prior to its print publication.The Night Listener has been adapted into a movie that was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in late January 2006 and released by Miramax the following August.
Michael Tolliver Lives:
Main article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Tolliver_Lives
Prior to the 2007 release of Michael Tolliver Lives, Maupin had been quoted on his website as saying that another Tales of the City novel was unlikely. Although Maupin originally stated that this novel was "NOT a sequel to Tales of the City and it's certainly not Book 7 in the series," he later conceded that "I've stopped denying that this is book seven in Tales of the City, as it clearly is ... I suppose I didn't want people to be thrown by the change in the format, as this is a first person novel unlike the third person format of the Tales of the City books and it's about one character who interrelates with other characters. Having said that, it is still very much a continuation of the saga and I think I realised it was very much time for me to come back to this territory."
The novel is written from the first-person perspective of Tales character Michael 'Mouse' Tolliver, now in his fifties and living as an HIV-positive man. It also features appearances by familiar Tales characters, such as Anna Madrigal. Maupin said: "I was interested in pursuing the life of an aging gay man, and Michael was the perfect vehicle ... However, as soon as I started writing, I found that, one by one, all the other characters stepped forward and asked to be present. It felt natural, so I went with it." He calls it "a smaller, more personal novel than I've written in the past." The book was released on June 12, 2007, declared 'Michael Tolliver Day' by the mayor of San Francisco.
His next project is another Tales volume: "Whatever I have to offer seems to come through those characters ... And I see no reason to abandon them."
Mary Ann in Autumn was published November 12, 2010 by Harper/HarperCollins, continuing the series. It was reviewed by Joseph Salvatore in the New York Times Sunday Book Reviews on November 14.
In December 2011 Maupin confirmed that he was working on a further Tales of the City novel, The Days of Anna Madrigal
Maupin's former partner of 12 years, Terry Anderson, was once a gay rights activist (Maupin himself has done much of that sort of work), and co-authored the screenplay for The Night Listener. He lived with Anderson in San Francisco and New Zealand.Ian McKellen is a friend and Christopher Isherwood was a mentor, friend, and influence as a writer.
Maupin is married to Christopher Turner, a website producer and photographer whom he saw on a dating website. He then "chased him down Castro Street, saying, 'Didn't I see you on Daddyhunt.com?'" Maupin and Turner were married in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on February 18, 2007, though Maupin says that they had called each other "husband" for two years prior.
He enjoys doing public readings of his own works and has recorded them all as audiobooks. Maupin shares a grandfather with English singer Sarah Jane Morris
In 2012 Maupin purchased the home of shoe designers Lynne and Dennis Comeau in Tesuque, New Mexico.
On being a 'gay writer':
One of the things that I saw different about what I was doing was that I was allowing a little air into the situation by actually placing gay people in the context of the world at large. Most gay fiction that I was reading when I was coming out in the early 70s made me claustrophobic because it only dealt with the life of the gay bar and everybody in it was gay. Often gay and male and there weren't even any lesbians in the picture. That didn't make me feel the way I wanted to feel about life and it didn't correspond with the life that I was living in San Francisco which was wonderfully mixed up in terms of the people that came and went in my life and that was part of the enormous exhilaration of it. It felt revolutionary.
-- Armistead Maupin
I've always been proud of the fact that I've been openly gay longer than just about anybody writing today ... but I never intended for that declaration to mean that I was narrowing my focus in any way, or joining a niche ... now publishing has decided there's money in this, or at least a market ... now a formalised thing has sprung up which I think is extremely detrimental to anybody beginning to write today. ... It's possible to write a novel now which has gay themes, which has any truth you want to speak, that can be sold to a mainstream publisher and sold in a mainstream bookstore, so the notion of people who've narrowed their focus to only write books for a gay audience for gay people about gay people is stifling to me; in some ways, it's another form of the closet, as far as I'm concerned. I think Jerry Falwell must be very happy with those little cubby-holes at the back of book stores that say 'gay and lesbian' - it's a warning sign, they can keep their kids away from that section. I'd like people to stumble on my works in the literature section of Barnes and Noble and have their lives changed because of it.
It's complicated. I don't want to feel any less queer, but I think for us to march along in a dutiful little herd called 'gay and lesbian literature' and have little seminars that we hold together is pointless at this point, it makes no sense to me at all. ... I cringe when I get 'gay writer' each time. Why the modifier? I'm a writer. It's like calling Amy Tan a Chinese-American writer every time you mention her name, or Alice Walker a black writer. We're all discussing the human condition. Some of us have revolutionised writing by bringing in subject-matter that nobody's heard about before. But we don't want that to narrow the definition of who we are as an artist. ... I don't mind being cross-shelved. I'm very proud of being in the gay and lesbian section, but I don't want to be told that I can't sit up in the front of the book store with the straight, white writers.
-- Armistead Maupin
Tales of the City:
2007, Barbary Coast Award, presented by Litquake Literary Festival, San Francisco,
2006, Best Gay Read Award, presented by the Big Gay Read Literature Festival, in the UK,
2001, Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Book Award,
1999, Capital Award, presented by GLADD Media Awards,
1997 Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement (Publishing Triangle)
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license