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Tony Gentry

The Year I Came Out (as a creative writer, in pictures)

Updated: May 17

November 2018 – Visited author friend Katy Munger and her daughter Zuzu in Durham, where over a bottle of champagne, she showed me how to typeset my debut novel The Coal Tower using a software called Vellum.

The book cover my son Stephen designed, using a snapshot I’d taken years ago, when the sculpture atop the coal tower in Charlottesville still wore a dress.

The magic of seeing your book in a store – thank you to Chop Suey in Carytown!

Collected a dozen short stories for the collection Last Rites, and my friend for life Karen Bowles graciously agreed to let me use one of her paintings for the cover!

I’ll always be grateful to David at Book People in Richmond for hosting my first ever book reading and signing.

And to Julia and her team at New Dominion Book Shop in Charlottesville for hosting this book launch, right in the town where my novel is set, and on the same week when its events occur!

In October, excited to learn that The Coal Tower was short-listed for Faulkner Society prize!

Productive year for pomes, too. Thanks to Sow’s Ear Poetry Review for publishing this one, to Deep South for another, and to Poetry Society of Virginia for two poems that placed in their annual competition, to Central Virginia Bards anthology, where two were printed, to Mad Swirl, which printed three more, and to Bottom Shelf Whiskey for another. Mad Swirl and Bottom Shelf Whiskey also published short stories I wrote this year.

Another shout-out to the Mad Swirl collective, which also published a series of my photographs, along with the poems and the short story. They even set up a webpage for my stuff on their site!

Finally, full circle, visited my friend Rosemary in Nags Head to pay Katy’s favor forward, helping Rosemary use Vellum to typeset her debut novel, which is a heart-felt and beautifully told story of courage in the face of unspeakable suffering.

As you might imagine, feeling gratitude for all the support, sharing, and hugs that have made this year so much fun. Thank you to everyone who helped get these words out in the world, to those of you who read and talked up my work, and especially to my family, who have tiptoed around the house for years, while this typing got done. For 2020, all I can say is: Write On!

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