In Conversation with the Violet Quill: Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, and Edmund White

by Frank Pizzoli for Lambda Literary 
April 10, 2013

In November 1980, New York’s SoHo Weekly News tagged a cover story Fag Lit’s New Royalty, referring to Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, and Edmund White, alive today, and Christopher Cox, Michael Grumley, Robert Ferro, and George Whitmore, who have died. Since the publication of that story, which was subtitled A Moveable Brunch – A Fag Lit Mafia,they have brought out the best in admirers and the worst in detractors.

Collectively the seven authors became known as The Violet Quill, meeting only eight times between March 31, 1980 and March 3, 1981. They had a sample “reader” published, emerging later as titans of gay male literature. Their sexual affairs with each other were labyrinth but not unusual in New York City at the time.

Although their status as individuals in gay literature has never been creditably challenged, the Quill’s crowning as an influential group has been called a myth by some, their influence criticized by others.

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