I Can See South Africa from my Window!

The Author in his Study

Actually I can see the Northumberland County Jail when I look out the window from my partner’s study. Glen Retief, my partner, will read and sign his new book, The Jack Bank–A Memoir of a South African Childhood, tonight at Susquehanna University.

He may change his mind, but I believe Glen will read from the chapter entitled The Castle, about his time in college when he was still repressing his gay orientation and lived with mostly Black university students in Cape Town right after the dorms were integrated in the early 1990s. Writing about that chapter while looking out at the stark, gray, dramatic walls of the jail with the curl of barbed wire on the top provided a potent visual metaphor for the South Africa of Glen’s youth.

Although his calling is as a writer, these days he does as much talking about his writing as writing itself. Yesterday WVIA public radio an interview in which Glen talks about the book, living in Central PA bartering books for eggs, and the rich history of art and activism in South Africa. (You can listen to his interview yourself: ArtScene with Erika Funke)

Zack Ford and I got to interview Glen ourselves for the Queer & Queerer podcast. With our cat yowling in the background, Glen attempts to read from the chapter, Blacks Boys of my Youth.

Here are the show notes and the link:


Glen previously joined the podcast for a discussion about gay-for-pay porn actors, but now he’s back to tell us all about his just-published memoir, The Jack Bank. In it, he chronicles growing up gay in Apartheid South Africa and participating in the revolution that led to sexual orientation becoming a protected class in that nation. He shares an excerpt from the book (despite an interruption by cats) and fields questions from Zack and Peterson not only about the content of the book, but the process of writing it and the importance of memoir as a genre. Order your copy of The Jack Bank today!

The Queer and Queerer Podcast!

Listen to Episode 48 The Jack Bank featuring Glen Retief

(Please click here to listen on iPad/iPhone or download.)

Here’s some more information about what we talked about this week:

» Buy The Jack Bank on Amazon.com.

» Visit Glen Retief’s homepage, Twitter, and blog.

»Peterson on being Glen’s partner: Two are Better than One–Art, Love, & Partnership

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