Interview: Founder of Out on the Page Paul Bradley on the Pride List of Queer Storytelling collaboration with Audible

Interview: Founder of Out on the Page Paul Bradley on the Pride List of Queer Storytelling collaboration with Audible

Audible and Out on the Page have joined forces with over 40 of UK’s most prominent and exciting LGBTQIA+ writers to celebrate Queer storytelling with the release of an extensive Pride List of Queer Storytelling.

Ahead of the Celebration of Queer Storytelling at Barbican on Tuesday 27th June, we caught up with Out on the Page Founder & Director Paul Bradley to talk queer writing, creating change, reading outside of your comfort zone, and (of course) favourite Things To Do in London!

Audible x Out on the Page – a Celebration of Queer Storytelling | Barbican | 27 June | £5

Interview: Founder of Out on the Page Paul Bradley on the Pride List of Queer Storytelling collaboration with Audible 1
Paul Bradley

Tell us about your Pride List of Queer Storytelling and the Celebration of Queer Storytelling event at Barbican on 27 June. What should we expect?

This is really all about joy and celebration. With Shivani Dave hosting, Audible has put together a fantastic panel of exciting writers who exemplify the diversity, quality and importance of LGBTQ+ writing today. Whether you are an avid reader of queer writing, or an LGBTQ+ writer new or established, this is the event for you. 

How did Out on the Page come about and what are your aims?

I founded Out on the Page in 2018, to meet other LGBTQ+ writers in my City and beyond by organising short writing retreats, facilitated by me, with more established writers such as Okechukwu Nzelu, as guest writers, passing on their learning and experience. These retreats were successful, we ran them regularly in Bristol, London, Birmingham and Manchester. With Covid and Lockdown we moved online and found ourselves connecting with and supporting writers across the UK and beyond.

Our aims are clear, to be a catalyst for change, to connect, develop and promote LGBTQ+ writers and writing.

We have a vision for a world where:

  • LGBTQ+ writing in all its forms is more visible, where LGBTQ+ writers feel less isolated and more able to be themselves, and where we value uniqueness and inclusivity.
  • LGBTQ+ voices matter. Where publishers and others in the writing industry are more visible in their support of LGBTQ+ writing which is often underrepresented.
  • There are safe and supportive spaces for LGBTQ+ writers online and in person.
  • LGBTQ+ writers are more empowered to define their measures of success, develop the quality of their writing, engage with the business side of writing and reach their desired audiences.

The list is big (no favourites lol) but can you tell us about a few books you’ve read that you’d recommend?

My recommendations are in the list but I’d like to say two things.

Firstly, I would suggest doing what I’m going to do, dive into the list and choose books that seem very different to your normal reading, maybe by writers whose story seems very different to your own. Go for them first, gift yourself this new experience.  The sheer diversity of great writing in this list really shines a light on the rich range of new stories that are outthere.

Secondly, brilliant writing doesn’t just happen in books, think of film scripts, plays, soaps, TV series, and why they ended up there rather than in a book. It was probably Jonathan Harvey’s scripts for the play/film ‘Beautiful Thing’ that spoke to me and my experience of growing up gay in a pretty ordinary working class environment. 

Interview: Founder of Out on the Page Paul Bradley on the Pride List of Queer Storytelling collaboration with Audible 6

What advice would you give to new LGBTQIA+ authors working with a company like your partner Audible?

Most likely you would have an agent and they would be able to guide you through. However, If I have any advice for writers working with any organisation, large or small, it would be this. Think and think until you are really clear in your own head about what you can offer, and what you would like to get out of working with them. Make a list of questions you want to ask or things that are on your mind. Then, when you meet, be yourself, be clear, be as bold as you can, say what you want, be ready to discuss. 

What are your favourite London haunts? (To get books, to eat, to relax etc.)

I live outside of London, but I’ve been so many times for work and pleasure, it feels like visiting a relative that I know well. For me, relaxing in London is walking, criss-crossing thecity and so I’m often finding places for the first time, joining up parts of the city that I didn’t realise were connected. But there are some haunts. Gay’s The Word bookshop is where I go first, always. I was taken there by my first boyfriend many years ago, that bookshop is probably my longest relationship! I love Bar Italia in Soho, just off Old Compton Street, it somehow plugs me into another London, like time travel back to something seedier, which I like. But there’s also the London in my head, and I often daydream revisit The Freud Museum In Hampstead. That place had a deep impact on me and I don’t quite know why!

Check out the Pride List of Queer Storytelling and register for the Celebration of Queer Storytelling event at Barbican on 27 June.