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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > November 2019 > City boy

City boy

Tales of the City creator Armistead Maupin is still going strong well into his eighth decade, and the winner of our Literary Award isn’t ready to forgive the rich and powerful for the part they played in thousands of deaths

Armistead Maupin

The unthinkable has happened. The man for so long synonymous with gay life, love and literature in San Francisco, whose Tales of the City novels have touched — and often shaped — the lives of millions since they first began as a daily newspaper column in 1974, has traded it all in for Blighty.

“I’m 75 years old and I wanted a new adventure,” says Armistead Maupin as we sit down in an airy terraced house in Clapham, South London, the place that perhaps the world’s most celebrated living queer author now calls home. “It was nothing to do with a rejection of San Francisco, I’d just been there almost 50 years. It stays in my heart at all times, but we wanted to shake this up a bit.”

Of course, a year in which streaming giant Netflix rolls out a new 10-part limited series based on your life’s work would be considered adventure enough for most in their eighth decade, but then shaking things up is exactly why Armistead Maupin has remained such an enduring cultural figure for the best part of half a century.

When even Ian McKellen refers to you as his “gay godfather”, it goes without saying that you’re a gay Hall of Famer (and possibly the ultimate recipient of our Literary Award). I have to ask: did the rise of right-wing populism in the States contribute to his decision to move?

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About Attitude

The Attitude Awards issue. Featuring Sam Smith, Christine and the Queens, Dame Joan Collins, Ava Max, Mika, Armistead Maupin, Russell T Davies, Dr Ranj Singh & more.