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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Paul Monette, novelist and poet

b. October 16, 1945
d. February 10, 1995

Born in Lawrence, Massuchusetts, Monette grew up in an upper-middle-class environment; educated at the Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, and at Yale University, where he gained a BA in 1967. He subsequently taught at the Milton Academy and at Pine Manor College before settling into the life of a writer.

After moving to Los Angeles in the 1970s, Monette wrote a number of gay-themed novels, including "Taking Care of Mrs. Carrol" and "The Gold Diggers." In 1985, his world was shattered by the death of his lover of ten years, Roger Horwitz, from AIDS-related illness. Monette produced a book of poetry, "Love Alone: 18 Elegies for Rog", and "Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir," which became a best-seller in 1988.

Initially closeted, and after futile attempts at heterosexuality, and falling in love with a man, he finally came out. When his longtime lover Roger Horwitz was diagnosed with AIDS and suffered from a variety of AIDS-related diseases, and finally died, he became an advocate of gay and lesbian rights, and an active supporter of ACT UP (Aids Coalition to Unleash Power).

Also Monette was diagnosed with AIDS in 1991, and died four yìears later of AIDS-related complications. Nonetheless, Monette's final years were filled with love (he formed long-term relationships with casting director Stepphen Kolzak, who died in 1990 also to AIDS related illness, and then with Winston Wilde), and were amazingly productive.

Paul Monette won the 1992 National Book Award for nonfiction with his autobiographical "Becoming A Man: Half A Life Story." Written after he found out he had AIDS, it is a powerful depiction of the subjects Monette knew best: the nature of the disease, the problems of being in the closet, and the potential in gay relationships.


Gabriele Griffin, Who's Who in Lesbian and Gay and Writing, Routledge, London, 2002
Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History, from WWII to Present Day, Routledge, London, 2001 - et alii


  • Taking Care of Mrs.Carroll (1978)
  • The Gold Diggers (1979)
  • The Long Shot (1981)
  • Love Alone: 18 Elegies for Rog (1987)
  • Borrowed Time: An Aids Memoir (1988)
  • Afterlife (1990)
  • Halfway Home (1991)
  • Becoming a Man - Half a Lifestory (1992)
  • Last Watch of the Night (1994)
  • Documentary about Monette:
  • Paul Monette: The Brink of Summer's End (1997)

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