An excellent novelist with wide crossover appeal, whose books have twice been selected for Richard and Judy's reading club, Patrick Gale explores gay and straight characters' fraught ties with their biological relations and more hopeful futures with their makeshift, chosen families. The comic brio of his early work -- in June 1986 when he was 24 his debut The Aerodynamics of Pork was published simultaneously with his second novel -- gradually gave way to a more contemplative, poignant tone in later work. A major turning point was Rough Music [Kindle] in 2000, the first time he used the autobiographical detail of a father who is a prison governor and was rewarded with his widest readership and best reviews: "a masterstoke" (New Statesman); "a triumph" (The Times); and this from Richard Canning in the Independent:
"Patrick Gale is among the great, unsung English novelists. He has written a dozen books, each confirming a remarkable insight into his chosen subject, the vagaries of the human heart. His works attract large readerships – mostly women or gay men – drawn by the witty, pathos-filled analyses of how we conduct relationships, both within the family and outside. His novels form a quiet gathering, not a series of brash entrances. They impress confidently but gently, like those of the closest of his peers, Barbara Trapido, Helen Dunmore and Colm Tóibin…. If Rough Music sounds dark, it is rather – but marvellously so. Gripping, elegant and wise, it is Gale’s best book to date, and should not be missed."
Another breakthorough came three books later, in 2007, with his tv book club bestseller Notes from an Exhibition about the family of a brilliant bipolar artist mother. Again, high praise: "unutterably moving" (Daily Express), "quietly radiant intelligence, craft and integrity...powerful and surprising" (Sunday Times), "uplifting, immensely empathetic" (Guardian), "dense, thought-provoking, sensitive, satisfying, humorous, humane - a real treat" (Telegraph). A troubled character from that book reappears, happier, in his most recent novel A Perfectly Good Man, about the extended family of a priest who assists a young suicide. It was another R&J pick, a finalist for the Stonewall UK book award (losing to Winterson), and co-winner of the Green Carnation Prize (with Moffie). In 2000 he published a short biography of his friend Armistead Maupin, and last summer in a Guardian piece, Gale said Maupin "taught me that fiction need not thump tubs to change opinions and that a gently comic tone can work wonders."
A graduate of New College, Oxford, an avid gardener, chef, cellist, and whippet walker, he has lived in his beloved Cornwall for many years on a farm near Land's End with his husband Aidan Hicks. He is on a twitter sabbatical until he finishes his new novel.
In addition to several gay novels including Scary Kisses, The Golden Age of Promiscuity and the story collection Jailbait, Brad Gooch has written self-help (Finding the Boyfriend Within), spirituality (Godtalk), and a hybrid (Dating the Greek Gods: Empowering Spiritual Messages on Sex and Love, Creativity and Wisdom). However, his greatest strength is as a biographer, first with City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O'Hara [Kindle], a Lammy finalist, and more recently Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor [Kindle], which was an NYT notable book and an NBCC finalist. A recipient of a Guggenheim, an NEA, and other grants, he is currently at work on a life of Rumi. Somehow he is 62.