Sexual and Gender Alliance hosts Bi-Annual Queer Lit Night


Camryn Collier, Reporter

Foggy Pine Books is usually filled with the sounds of books being flipped open, a cat meowing, water boiling for hot cocoa and the hushed whispers of customers. 

On Oct. 17, the bookstore was instead filled with the voice of owner Mary Ruthless discussing “lesbian necromancers in space” as part of Bi-Annual Queer Lit Night. 

Foggy Pine partnered with the Sexuality and Gender Alliance, an App State club, to organize Bi-Annual Queer Lit Night, which highlights about 30 books at the bookstore every semester. 

The literature nights started when App State alumnus Dalton Parry had a queer literature night on campus that didn’t have a great turnout. 

“There were so few books that we had coming out to our gay lit nights, and I knew surely there was more, and there was,” Parry said. 

Parry said he was introduced to Ruthless when Foggy Pine was still in the smaller space across the street from where it currently sits. 

When he met Ruthless and found out she was moving to the bigger store, Parry said he knew he wanted to “do something, but make it gay.” 

Parry said he knew Ruthless would be happy to create an open space for his idea. True to his word, Ruthless accepted the idea with open arms. 

“We’re in the South, and we’re in the Bible Belt,” Ruthless said. “It’s really hard sometimes as queer folk in Appalachia to find a community. We’re really lucky we live in a university town where groups like SAGA help create those spaces.”

SAGA has worked with Ruthless for the past five semesters to put on a queer literature night to create open dialogue and networking opportunities for the queer community in Boone, Ruthless said. 

“The goal is to highlight queer voices in literature,” Ruthless said. “With few exceptions, all of the authors are queer authors, and a lot of them write about queers’ issues, but also the intersextions of race, and gender and sexuality.” 

Most of the books were unique, ranging from the lesbian necromancers in “Gideon the Ninth” by Tamsyn Muir, to discussion pieces with “Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches” by Audre Lorde, Ruthless said. 

The books were also purposefully chosen to have connections to North Carolina, or national appeal with multiple books being on the Indie Next List. 

After discussing the books, the audience members talked about some of their own personal favorites, which included books like “Carry On” by Rainbow Rowell. 

Freshman apparel design and merchandising major Lani Maynard came to the event with freshman social work major Nadia Chauhan. They said they’re just beginning to experience Boone, and Foggy Pine is a highlight so far. 

“I like queerness; I like literature. I really like queer literature,” Maynard said.

Foggy Pine is hosting an author reading featuring Dale Neal on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m.