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Clive Barker

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Clive Barker
Author, Director
Hellraiser, Books of Blood, Sacrament
Barker lives with his partner, photographer David Armstrong, and Armstrong's daughter.
CliveBarker

Clive Barker (b. October 5, 1952) is an English author, film director and visual artist.

He has directed Tortured Souls: Animae Damnatae, Lord of Illusions, Nightbreed, Hellraiser, The Forbidden and Salome.

Early life

Barker was born in Liverpool, England, the son of Joan Ruby (née Revill), a painter and school welfare officer, and Leonard Barker, a personnel director for an industrial relations firm. He studied English and philosophy at Liverpool University.

Coming out

Barker's sexual orientation became well-known in 1996 when he published Sacrament, his first novel with a gay protagonist, although Barker says that it's never been a secret: "I have done readings at gay bookstores throughout the world since my first book was published. And I never considered my homosexuality an issue. Not until [1995], however, did I get myself a publicist, which is when the 'gay thing' happened. I appeared in The Advocate, OUT, 10% and Genre all practically at the same time, which kind of made the whole issue noteworthy." [1]

Barker reports that when Sacrament was being published, he had some problems with his publisher:

"Again, this is completely true, and this fellow has left HarperCollins, his name is Jack McEwan and, I’d written this book, Sacrament, with a gay hero -- it’s not a gay book in the sense of, well, that’s the only issue in the book, the issue of the book was not homosexuality, but I was very comfortable with the idea that the hero, like me, was gay and having his sexuality was part of who he was and part of the narrative.
"I write my own flap copy, and about six weeks before I delivered the novel, I sent in the flap copy -- they had not seen the book. What happens is I give them the two sentences on the book a long way ahead of time and say this is the book you’ll get in fourteen months. So they’d seen two sentences and it had mentioned that the hero was gay, but that was it. Jack McEwan had clearly not read these two sentences.
"Because when I turned in the flap copy he called me up six weeks before I delivered the book -- so we’re talking about a year into my writing the book -- and he said, ‘Clive!’ I said, ‘Jack!’ He said, ‘According to this flap copy...’ (he’s a very polite man) ‘...your hero in the new novel is homosexual.’
"And I said, ‘Yeah, Jack, that’s it,’ and he said, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, no – we can’t do that; you’re very expensive. No, we can’t do that, we’ll lose readers, we’ll lose all kinds of readers.’ And I said, ‘Well, we’ll gain some as well.’ ‘Oh, but we’ll lose more than we’ll gain.’ I said, ‘I think my readers are extremely sophisticated people. I don’t think the sexual orientation of a character is going to be a problem, in actual fact I think they may embrace it.’ ‘Oh, dear, no...’
"I said, ‘Jack, I’m six weeks from delivering this book and I’ve been working on it for a little over a year.’ And he said -- and I swear this is what he said -- ‘Can’t you just change the pronoun?’ I don’t know -- I mean, it’s certainly interesting -- I guess the sexual stuff just didn’t matter, the position stuff just didn’t matter; that could just be fudged, you know? That seems to me to be evidence of that kind of conservatism, of that kind of Hollywood conservatism...
"By the way, we didn’t lose readers, we gained readers and the new novel, Galilee, has -- Galilee’s bisexual, his sister’s a lesbian, it’s a Freudian nightmare, but it’s great fun! I think readers are the last reasonably secure pool of intelligent individuals in this country, and I think if you start to condescend to that pool of individuals then the culture is lost." [2]

"Being gay does provide an interesting tension," Barker says. "Part of me wants to say that I am just a regular guy, but another part of me says that there is a gay sensibility. This isn't just about acts performed in the bedroom - it alters your point of view, your aesthetic. Part of me wants to blend in, but part of me wants to stay separate, because there are things about both worlds that are admirable... The nurturing of homosexuals for one! My mother and father, passionate heterosexuals that they are, managed to produce a passionate homosexual, and more power to them." [3]

Barker now lives in Los Angeles, California with his partner, photographer David Armstrong, and Armstrong's daughter Nicole from a previous relationship. [4]

External links

References

  1. "Clive Barker", Timothy Nasson, In Step Magazine, vol. 13, issue 14. July 25 - August 6, 1996.
  2. Interview by Martin Smith, LA Times Festival of Books. April 26, 1998.
  3. "Mining the Dark Side", Jane Ganahl, San Francisco Examiner. August 21, 1995.
  4. HarperCollins bio.

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