Long after his own fractured senior year at a "ragtag" prep school in Connecticut, Sebastian Stuart wrote about a gay boy completing his wayward education alongside his glamorous, tragic, female new bff in The Hour Between, winner of this year's Ferro-Grumley Award. No one else could capture Stuart's rollicking career with half his panache, so you must his read his bio in his own words. Like Jane Smiley, he is at ease in many genres, but he has more fun. He ghostwrote Charm! as the fictional soap opera character Kendall Hart and co-wrote 24-Karat Kids with the very real Dr. Judy Goldstein who wears Chanel suits every day to examine the over-praised, over-pressured children of Upper East Side narcissists. That book was #2 on the Boston Globe bestseller list and sold in seven foreign countries. This Friday marks the debut of his Janet's Planet mystery series, the first of which is To the Manor Dead. Janet Petrocelli is a "recovering therapist" and "junque junkie" who moves from a bad marriage in Manhattan to an antique shop and amateur sleuthing in the Hudson Valley. The second book in the series, Dead By Any Other Name, is coming in September 2011. He and Stephen McCauley are celebrating twenty years together.
Douglas A. Martin is 37. Born in Virginia, raised in Georgia, he moved to New York at 25 to be a performing poet and playwright. He's published three volumes of poetry, including In the Time of Assignments from Soft Skull; a collection of short fiction, They Change the Subject; a triptych of novellas (about Balthus, Hart Crane, and Francis Bacon) Your Body Figured; and three impressive novels: Outline of My Lover (chosen by Colm Tóibín in the TLS as an International Book of the Year); a gift of gay and literary history rescue, Branwell: A Novel of the Bronte Brother; and last year's Once You Go Back (named by uber-reader Richard Labonte as one of his favorites of 2009). Widely praised by Dennis Cooper, Dale Peck, Wayne Koestenbaum, and many others, his books are must reading. Admirers of his inventive and moving work will not be surprised to learn that in leading creative writing classes he cross-pollinates disciplines, telling his students, "...that I am going to teach in metaphors, that I am going to be elliptical, that I am going to talk about film technique and contemporary art as much as I talk about sentences."