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Contact: Andrew W. M. Beierle

Lammy-winning author of “astonishing” novel about two-headed conjoined twins to begin eight-city national book tour October 20; hailed as “one of the year’s best”

October 9, 2007

Lambda Literary Award-winning author Andrew W. M. Beierle, whose novel First Person Plural has been hailed as “astonishing,” “a wholly original, wildly imaginative achievement,” and “one of the year’s best,” begins an eight-city national book tour Saturday, Oct. 20, with stops in Los Angeles; San Francisco; Washington, DC; Atlanta; Orlando; Philadelphia; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and State College, Pennsylvania. (Tour times and dates below.)

A September 2007 Main Selection of the InsightOut Book Club, First Person Plural examines the personal lives of a pair of extremely rare conjoined twins of the type dicephalus (two-headed), one of whom is gay and one straight. From the neck up they are two people; from the neck down, one. They share a single body but must accommodate two very different lives.

Richard Labonte, co-founder of Books to Watch Out For, called First Person Plural “a wholly original and wildly imaginative achievement” and wrote, “The 2007 reading season still has many books to go, but it’s not too early to single out this astonishing novel as one of the year’s best.”

First Person Pural bookcover The Advocate’s Charlotte Abbott wrote, “This page-turner yields uncanny insights into the minority experience, the mysteries of mind and body, and the queer psyche.”

Critic Abram Bergen wrote on BlogCritic.com, “First Person Plural should find its place on the bookshelf alongside other serious works of literary fiction.”

San Diego’s Gay and Lesbian Times said First Person Plural is “a truly intriguing exploration of what makes a person an individual.”

Houston’s OutSmart Magazine called First Person Plural “not only a magnificent story, but a morality tale about tolerance, love, and loyalty.”

The web site Edge, with portals in Boston, Provincetown, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Dallas, said First Person Plural is “an important book for anyone who has ever felt different . . . an analysis of the alienation felt by people who are different, be they disabled, two-headed, or gay.”

Owen and Porter Jamison are separate individuals from the neck up but share a single body. Porter is outgoing and charismatic while Owen is cerebral and artistic. When Porter becomes a high school jock hero, complete with cheerleader girlfriend, a greater distinction emerges, as Owen gradually comes to realize that he’s gay. As Porter and Owen’s carefully balanced arrangement of give-and-take, sacrifice and selfishness, is irrevocably shattered, each twin is left fighting for his relationship—and his future—in a battle of wills where winning seems impossible and losing unthinkable.

“This book will stagger you,” writes Lee Durkee, author of Rides of the Midway, “but better yet it will remind you of something too easily forgotten: that human existence is by its very nature heroic. . . . First Person Plural reads like a memoir, as if it has been poured out of the heart of a man who has suffered first-hand the indignities and miracles described in this novel. How Mr. Beierle submerged himself so deeply I have no idea.”

And Katherine V. Forrest, a recipient of the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award, calls First Person Plural “a metaphorical tale of differentness, an extended exploration of the complexities of identity—the possibilities, limitations and internal contradictions that exist in us all. . . . First Person Plural is striking and original, and that rarity in fiction, a novel of ideas.”

Beierle wrote First Person Plural over the course of five years, workshopping the material at the Sewanee, Bread Loaf, Napa Valley, and Kenyon Review writers conferences with the personal guidance of such literary luminaries as Alice McDermott, Randall Kenan, Claire Messud, and Christopher Tilghman, respectively. His debut novel, The Winter of Our Discothèque, was honored by the Lambda Literary Foundation in 2002. His work has appeared in the Harrington Gay Men’s Literary Quarterly and in Rebel Yell: Stories by Contemporary Southern Gay Authors.


4 PM Saturday, Oct. 20
Webster's Bookstore Cafe
128 South Allen St.
State College, PA 16801

7:30 PM Wednesday, Oct. 24
A Different Light Bookstore
489 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA 94114

7:30 PM Tuesday, October 30
A Different Light Bookstore
8853 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069

8 PM, Friday, Nov. 2
Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse
991 Piedmont Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30309

7 PM, Tuesday, Nov. 6
Lambda Rising Bookstore
1625 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington DC 20009

6 PM, Wednesday, Nov. 7
Robin’s Bookstore
108 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

4 PM, Saturday, Nov. 10
Common Language Bookstore
317 Braun Court
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

7 PM, Friday, Nov. 16
Urban Think!
625 E. Central Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32801


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