Sunday 7 February 2010

on the road again

Meanwhile, over in Norwich, there's an action-packed LGBT History Month going on. Including, on 22nd February, a talk about Becoming Drusilla, by Richard and me.

We're really looking forward to this, as it will be the first reading event we'll have done together since the launch of the book. (Regular readers will recall Richard coming down with chicken pox even as I flew to Dublin, and then me being rushed to hospital while he was travelling to Birmingham... exciting times...)

It's at UEA's Drama Studio, at 7:00, and it's free.

Here's a link to the Facebook group, too

...and, just in case you missed the blurb, here are some reviews.


‘How big is the change from man to woman? Becoming Drusilla is a brave and intelligent book, because it is not so much an attempt to answer that question, but to strike out all the previous answers with a red pen.’
Diane Purkiss, Daily Telegraph

‘This is a gentle, wise and touching book, full of warmth, humour, friendship and humanity (though I don’t mean to be winsome: Beard doesn’t flinch over the gory details of the operations, nor, among other things, over Dru’s heroin addiction). Like the good novelist that he is, Beard has resisted the lure of a predictable transsexual ‘transformation’ narrative and the temptation to look for answers. As a result, by the end of the book, Beard – and we along wih him – has arrived at a genuine and much more subtle understanding of what his friend has been through, and what she has become.’
Nick Parker, Literary Review

‘A fascinating biography … [Beard] is an excellent communicator and excels at turning the academic knowledge into understandable sound bites … optimistic, poignant and ultimately uplifting.’
Dr Harvey Rees, Bristol Review of Books

‘Excellent … enlightening and brave … not only does he write a sensitive and subtle biography, he also deconstructs his own ideas and assumptions about himself, and what it means to be a man.’
Hot Press

‘This beautifully written and thoroughly well-researched book is Beard’s searingly honest attempt to understand what his friend had gone through … It is deliciously un-PC, unpreachy, refreshingly free of sentimentality, and, at times, drily comic.

This book’ s genius is to tackle the life of Drusilla Marland and give us a sense of her lived experience, her ordinariness as a woman, born in a particular time, under a particular set of circumstances, in a particular culture; he gently portrays her inconsistencies and foibles, her talents and weaknesses, her courage and nobility – in other words, her humanity.

Beard’s graceful admission of love and humility, at the end of this gentle tribute is touching and life-affirming. This book left me marvelling about human nature. There aren’t many of those kinds of books about.’
Dermod Moore, Irish Post

‘A wonderfully sympathetic account of how and, possibly, why Drew became Dru.’
Val Hennessy, Critic’s Choice, Daily Mail

‘A sensitive and attractive account of a renewal of friendship . . . Beard comes to realize that the extraordinary thing about his friend is just how delightfully ordinary she is.’
Roz Kaveney, Times Literary Supplement

‘Funny, touching and insightful.’
The Oldie

‘Honest and deeply thoughtful . . . [a story] gently handled by this most sensitive and, at times, very humorous book.’
reFresh magazine

‘Fascinating and funny.’
Libby Purves, Radio 4 Midweek

‘Becoming Drusilla is a remarkable story of friendship, courage and humanity. Achingly funny, bruisingly heart-rending and deeply honest and personal, the story is gracefully and humbly told and free of mawkish sentimentality.’
Irish Independent


  1. I do hope that you'll both get there in one piece.
    Wonderful reviews.

  2. I wish I'd never read it.

    Then I'd have the experience of reading the most moving, most powerful, most insightful book on the subject ever written still ahead of me...


  3. Arr, now, Dru.
    I do tend to look out for books which are both life affirming and free of mawkish sentimentality. And I really do wish you all success with the reading etc.
    All the best!

  4. Until someone can suggest another book as enlightening on the subject as Becoming Drusilla, I'll just have to read it again. I also like the idea of the LGBT Living Library. Meanwhile The Bristol Downs is due here any day from somewhere in England, to help me picture all those British birds and such. Have a blessed event!

  5. In the little highlight and thumbnail that pop up on my reader, I saw the title and that chrome-solenoid looking cylinder and thought "uh-oh"!

    Glad it's wonderful things going on instead of mundane ones!


  6. Thank you, everyone! (the Moggy's chugging along steadily at the mo, Alan, touch wood....)

  7. ... I figure if I make myself available for understudy duties - this time you both should manage to appear on the same platform at the same time... upright and sound of body.

    Good luck!