Writing Queer History in Fiction & Nonfiction – Gay City News

Lower East Side bookstore P&T Knitwear welcomes Carley Moore and Hugh Ryan to read from and discuss their new books in a conversation about exploring queer history in fiction and nonfiction. Moore’s panpocalypse, a pandemic novel that follows a lonely, disabled, poly hero in this novel about disease, decay, love, and revolution; and Ryan’s The Women’s House of Detention: A Queer History of a Forgotten Prison, a singular history of a prison and a window into the policing of queerness and radical politics in the 20th century. A book signing will follow the event.



  • This is a free in-store event with amphitheater-style seating
  • All guests must be vaccinated to attend, and must provide proof of vaccination in order to enter the event.
  • Signed copies of the book are available for purchase at ptknitwear.com. Additional copies will be available for purchase at the event. Moore and Ryan will be signing books after the conversation.
  • We request all guests wear masks.

About the books:

The Women’s House of Detention, a landmark that ushered in the modern era of women’s imprisonment, is now largely forgotten. But when it stood in New York City’s Greenwich Village, from 1929 to 1974, it was a nexus for the tens of thousands of women, transgender men, and gender-nonconforming people who inhabited its crowded cells. Some of these inmates—Angela Davis, Andrea Dworkin, Afeni Shakur—were famous, but the vast majority were incarcerated for the crimes of being poor and improperly feminine. Today, approximately 40 percent of the people in women’s prisons identify as queer; in decades earlier, that percentage was almost certainly higher.

Historian Hugh Ryan explores the roots of this crisis and reconstructs the little-known lives of incarcerated New Yorkers, making a uniquely queer case for prison abolition—and demonstrating that by queering the Village, the House of D helped defined queerness for the rest of America . From the lesbian communities forged through the Women’s House of Detention to the turbulent prison riots that presaged Stonewall, this is the story of one building and much more: the people it caged, the neighborhood it changed, and the resistance it inspired.

“Hugh Ryan is one of the most important historians of American life working today. The Women’s House of Detention resets so many assumptions about American history, reminding us that the home of the free has always been predicated on the imprisonment of the vulnerable. Of vital importance to those interested in criminal justice reform, prison abolition, gender history, the history of sexuality and the history of poverty, as well as anyone who declares themselves knowledgeable about New York City history, this account does what history is supposed to— looking to the past to understand our broken present and possibly help us plan for a better future.”
—Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of Liberty

About panpocalypse:

During the coronavirus pandemic, a queer disabled woman bikes through a locked-down NYC for the ex-girlfriend who broke her heart.

Orpheus manages to buy a bicycle just before they sell out across the city. She takes to the streets looking for Eurydice, the first woman she fell in love with, who also broke her heart. The city is largely closed and on lockdown, devoid of touch, connection, and community. But Orpheus hears of a mysterious underground bar Le Monocle, fashioned after the lesbian club of the same name in 1930s Paris.

Will Orpheus be able to find it? Will she ever be allowed to love again? panpocalypse—first published as an online serial in spring of 2020—follows a lonely, disabled, poly hero in this novel about disease, decay, love, and revolution.

“Carley Moore’s voice is a necessary joy in our current exacting times. With each of her works from her, her skills from her get sharper and her heart from her cracks wider—panpocalypse is a masterpiece of fierce queer honesty, taking on the intricacies of our bodies and our minds, the city and the state, with fearless passion and bold, political intelligence. We need this book right now, and we’ll need it in all the nows to come.”
—Michelle Tea, author of Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions & Criticisms

About the authors:

Hugh Ryan is a writer and curator, and most recently, the author of The Women’s House of Detention. His first book of him, When Brooklyn Was Queer, won a 2020 New York City Book Award, was a New York Times Editors’ Choice in 2019, and was a finalist for the Randy Shilts and Lambda Literary Awards. He was honored with the 2020 Allan Berube Prize from the American Historical Association. In 2019-2021, he worked on the Hidden Voices: LGBTQ+ Stories in US History curricular materials for the NYC Department of Education.

Carley Moore is the author of panpocalypse, The Not Wives, 16 pillsand The Stalker Chronicles. She’s a Clinical Professor of Writing and Creative Production at New York University and she lives in Brooklyn. Follow her on Instagram @fragmentedsky.

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