Monday, February 16, 2009

LGBT History Month - Samuel Delany

Samuel Delany is an academic, literary critic and science fiction writer who has made extensive and innovative contributions to the sci-fi oeuvre, including The Einstein Intersection and Triton. Also known as Chip Delany he was born in April 1942 and raised in New York. He married Marilyn Hacker, a poet, in 1961 and they have one daughter. He had met his future wife in High School - Bronx Science - which continues to attract gifted students.

Marilyn Hacker identifies as lesbian, and Chip Delany as gay since his adolescence. He's written of his experiences as a black gay man on several occasions, including in The Motion of Light in Water: Sex and Science Fiction Writing in the East Village, where he describes meeting WH Auden, Bob Dylan and Albert Einstein, as well as his experiences in an open marriage.

Hazel Carby, who is Professor of African American Studies at Yale, uses Delany's The Motion of Light in Water to present some alternative approaches to challenging heterosexual norms pursued by gay men. In Race Men she characterises Delany's work as absolutely central to any consideration of black manhood. The Lambda Book Report chose Delany as one of the fifty most significant men and women of the past hundred years to change our concept of gayness.

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