The Importance of Visibility: Patrick Ness at the National Book Festival

Last Saturday, I got to hear author Patrick Ness speak at the National Book Festival. I’ve read his Chaos Walking series, and am looking forward to his adult novel. He writes high concept fantasy and science fiction that deals with gender issues.

He was a charming speaker with a nice self-deprecating sense of humor. But the thing made me really like him was that he came out as a gay man in a nonchalant way. He alluded to his husband in an aside. I’m loving this way of being visible; the actors Zachary Quinto and Wentworth Miller went this route as well. Instead of a grand announcement, it’s just stated as a fact.

This is extremely important, especially for the audience he’s writing for. Gay youth are at risk for suicide in spite of increased acceptance. It also helps straight youth to have a happens-to-be-gay role model.

Patrick Ness


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