The Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures is pleased to present “A Phallic Dog, A Stuffed Coyote, and the Boy Who Won’t Come Out: Revisiting Queer Visibility in Young Adult Fiction,” a lecture by Dr. Derritt Mason from the University of Calgary on Monday, September 21, 2015, from 2:30PM to 3:30PM. It will take place in Room 2M72 at the University of Winnipeg campus.
This lecture revisits John Donovan’s groundbreaking novel I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip, first published in 1969 and widely recognized as the first North American young adult novel with gay content. Now four years shy of its fiftieth anniversary, Donovan’s novel is treated by many contemporary critics as little more than a relic, rife with tropes inherent to the gay problem novels of a bygone era. Dr. Mason argues that this novel–so often lambasted for its hopelessness, stereotypes, and omissions–is a lot queerer than it may initially appear, and much more relevant to contemporary notions of sexuality and queerness than many critics suggest.
Dr. Derritt Mason is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Calgary. His primary teaching and research interests sit at the intersection of children’s literature, queer theory, and cultural studies. Dr. Mason holds a PhD from the University of Alberta, where he wrote a dissertation that deploys anxiety as a lens for thinking about queer young adult fiction and its criticism. His publications include essays on the It Gets Better anti-bullying YouTube project (ESC: English Studies in Canada 38.3-4), and the history of childhood and perversity (Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures 3.1). Dr. Mason recently co-edited a special issue of ESC (40.1) entitled Hysteria Manifest: Cultural Lives of a Great Disorder.