Happy 65th Birthday
(October 16, 1945-1995)
Writer, Chronicler of AIDS
this from glbtq:
In novels, poetry, and a memoir, Paul Monette wrote about gay men striving to fashion personal identities and, later, coping with the loss of a lover to AIDS.
Monette was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1945. He was educated at prestigious schools in New England: Phillips Andover Academy and Yale University, where he received his B.A. in 1967. He began his prolific writing career soon after graduating from Yale. For eight years, he wrote poetry exclusively.
After coming out in his late twenties, he met Roger Horwitz, who was to be his lover for over twenty years. Also during his late twenties, he grew disillusioned with poetry and shifted his interest to the novel, not to return to poetry until the 1980s.
In 1977, Monette and Horwitz moved to Los Angeles. Once in Hollywood, Monette wrote a number of screenplays that, though never produced, provided him the means to be a writer. Monette published four novels between 1978 and 1982. These novels were enormously successful and established his career as a writer of popular fiction. He also wrote several novelizations of films.
Monette's life changed dramatically when Roger Horwitz was diagnosed with AIDS in the early 1980s. After Horwitz's death in 1986, Monette wrote extensively about the years of their battles with AIDS (Borrowed Time, 1988) and how he himself coped with losing a lover to AIDS (Love Alone, 1988). These works are two of the most powerful accounts written about AIDS thus far.
Their publication catapulted Monette into the national arena as a spokesperson for AIDS. Along with fellow writer Larry Kramer, he emerged as one of the most familiar and outspoken AIDS activists of our time. Since very few out gay men have had the opportunity to address national issues in mainstream venues at any previous time in U.S. history, Monette's high-visibility profile was one of his most significant achievements. He went on to write two important novels about AIDS, Afterlife (1990) and Halfway Home (1991). He himself died of AIDS-related complications in 1995. . . .
Monette's harrowing collection of deeply personal poems, Love Alone: 18 Elegies for Rog, conveys both the horrors of AIDS and the inconsolable pain of love lost. The elegies are an invaluable companion to Borrowed Time.
Before the publication and success of his memoir, Becoming a Man, it seemed inevitable that Monette would be remembered most for his writings on AIDS. Becoming a Man, however, focuses on the dilemmas of growing up gay. It provides at once an unsparing account of the nightmare of the closet and a moving and often humorous depiction of the struggle to come out. Becoming a Man won the 1992 National Book Award for nonfiction, a historical moment in the history of lesbian and gay literature and culture in the United States.
Prior to his death, Monette established the Monnette-Horowitz Trust “to ensure the continued fruits of their activism as well as the memory of their loving partnership.”
The Monette-Horwitz Trust provides annual awards to individuals of diverse cultural backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations who are, through their work, making significant contributions to eradicating homophobia. The Trust acknowledges the accomplishments of organizations and persons working in arenas ranging from academic research and creative expression to activism and community organizing.
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