Awards for Nights at Rizzoli

2015 rainbow awardsRainbow Awards Winners: LGBT Biography / Memoir (The Dirk Vanden Award for Best LGBT Biography/Memoir)

  1. Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano (Christopher Hall)
  2. My Body Is Yours by Michael V. Smith
  3. Turkey Street, Jack and Liam move to Bodrum by Jack Scott Author

"Terrific writing flows naturally from one page to the other and I want to recommend this to all my gay friends who love Manhattan like I do." - Elisa Rolle

Read more and check out all the winners here

From the Bay Area Reporter...

felice head

Thousands of people will descend on San Francisco this weekend for the annual Gay Pride and Resist March.
Many thousands of copies of the Bay Area Reporter will be distributed. It includes this length interview with me by Brian Bromberger. It's fun--enjoy!

Felice Picano, pioneering gay author

The Bay Area Reporter - Published 06/22/2017
by Brian Bromberger

It's probably a fair statement that if you love gay literature, you owe Felice Picano a huge debt of gratitude. Yes, LGBT people were producing novels and plays prior to the early 1970s, but they weren't specifically written for gay and lesbian people or their concerns. <more>

What Helps and Hurts When Learning to Write

Taken from the blog posting 'What Helps and Hurts When Learning to Write' by Michele Karlsberg, published at the San Francisco Bay Times"

Felice PicanoMichele Karlsberg: What did you find most useful in learning to write? What was the least useful or most destructive?

Felice Picano: Aside from the basic English 101 class everyone took, I never had a writing course, and therefore I suppose I never leaned to write. I was an art major in college, and I took some literature classes to hang with friends. I looked for art jobs and I kept getting shunted into assistant editor/writer jobs. There, I was half-assedly taught on the run how to do commercial journalism. Suddenly, one day, people said I was a writer.

I’d been fooling around with stories, so when I quit work as a magazine editor, I sat down and wrote a novel. It found an agent, and although it never sold, another agent eventually took me on. I taught myself poetry by trying out all the poetic forms and rhyme schemes. I began playwriting because someone wanted to adapt a story of mine to the stage. When I looked at their attempt, I said, “I can do better than that.” I did. Four more plays have been produced. I learned to write screenplays by studying one that I swiped from a film producer’s office after I’d signed his contract. I wrote it using an aqua-ink Olivetti at the Beverly Hills Hotel last used by Kim Novak for thank you notes.

I think the most destructive thing for most real writers is an MFA in Creative Writing. Non-genre writing accounts for less than 10% of all fiction sold; yet that is what is overwhelmingly taught. Actually, all they’re teaching is how to teach other people creative writing so they can then get an MFA and teach other students.

Read the whole post at Here

Going Too Far, For Everyone's Sake

A nice surprise! Someone pointed me to the P.E.N. Club of America Facebook page which put up an odd photo of me but with this quote "The main purpose of censorship is to promote ignorance, whether it is by lying and bowdlerized texts or by attacking individual books." The quote is from my blog at the Huffington Post's Banned Books issue and you can read the entire essay here: FelicePicano@HuffingtonPost

The envelope was from Her Majesty's Inland Revenue and Customs Service, located at a dock outside London, England, addressed to the publisher of Gay Presses of New York. I was one of the three owners of GPNy so I opened the envelope and read the letter. In the politest possible language I was informed that the 20 copies of my memoir, Ambidextrous: The Secret Lives of Children, intended for Gay Is the Word Bookstore at Russell Square, had been "seized by the signatory, declared obscene, and destroyed by immolation."

That was in 1989. Since my early twenties I had done as much as possible to protest and rebel against a society I had hopes for and wanted to reform. More than one person had told me, in no uncertain terms, "Some day you will go too far!"

That day had arrived: it was March 17, 1989.

I was astounded and at the same time I was very pleased. I'd never been censored before. Having a book censored means something. It means you have deeply offended one or more people who felt they needed to protect unsuspecting readers from your inflammatory words, thoughts, and images. Before this occurred, I'd been nominated for important literary awards, I'd had a few bestsellers, my books had been translated into many languages, but nothing before this had ever truly satisfied me that I was having any real effect as a writer.

-- > more at

The Bookstore That Bewitched Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and Greta Garbo

rizzoliThe Rizzoli in New York City was no ordinary bookstore in its ’70s heyday. Celebrities flocked to this glamorous and buzzy temple of literature and culture.

From The Daily Beast
December 16, 2014

When Rizzoli bookshop closed this past year on 57th Street, many people lamented its loss. It was the last really elegant shop of its kind left in Manhattan. But for some of us, while its closing was sad, it was a tempered sadness. After all it wasn’t the real Rizzoli bookstore that had opened at 712 Fifth Avenue in the 1960s. That particular shop, sold to Bendel a decade ago or so before, had been the ne plus ultra of American bookstores. Those of us who worked there during its glory years in the 1970s and early 1980s knew how absolutely unique it was, as I hope to show in my book, Nights at Rizzoli.

Italian media mogul Angelo Rizzoli had an empire of newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations throughout Italy, and bought the building because his reporters and media staff needed a New York headquarters. The bookstore was opened as a way of presenting Italian books and culture to Manhattanites.

It was never intended to do anything as vulgar as actually earn money. If anything, it would lose money gently, elegantly, hopefully not very much at one time. Because the shop was emblematic of that peculiar Italian institution known as La Faccia, i.e. presenting the best face possible.

And did it ever! Situated between 55th and 56th streets on what real-estate brokers dubbed Millionaires Row, Rizzoli was next door to Harry Winston Jewelers, across the street from Tiffany’s and George Jensen Fine Glass.

Article continues here

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