Hello everyone (and this being the Internet, I do mean EVERYONE)… I’m Gary Atkins, a narrative journalist and professor of communication based at Seattle University in the US. My works include Gay Seattle: Stories of Exile and Belonging and Imagining Gay Paradise: Bali, Bangkok and Cyber-Singapore. I specialize in creative non-fiction journalism, where I try to fuse an easy-to-read narrative style powered by strong characters with questions about history, geography, communication, and social justice.
In Gay Seattle, I followed the 100-year-long saga through which gay men and women imagined their “coming home” – rather than just their “coming out” — in the context of the Pacific Northwest’s famously wet landscape and roguish history. Similarly, in Imagining Gay Paradise I journeyed through a century of imaginings of paradise and manhood by gay men in the tropical geography of Southeast Asia. That saga stretched from the end of the Dutch and British colonial empires to the present world of cyberspace, ranging across the development of the aesthetic paradise of Bali in the 1920s and 1930s to the erotic paradise of Bangkok fostered from the 1960s onward, and to the cyber-paradise promoted since the 1990s in Singapore.
Gay Seattle was published by the University of Washington Press in 2003 and received numerous accolades for its fusion of journalism and scholarship, including a Washington State Book Award and a national Jesuit Book Award. The University of Hong Kong Press is publishing the hardback edition of Imagining Gay Paradise and is joined by Silkworm Books of Thailand as co-publishers of the paperback edition. Imagining Gay Paradise is also being made available as an e-book through Amazon and Project Muse.
I first became interested in writing about age six when his parents gave him a rubber-type printing press. I immediately started producing a newspaper for my local neighborhood in New Orleans. In high school, I initially thought I might become a historian or a biologist – two other strong interests – but eventually I realized that if I entered journalism, I could write about all three interests: current political and legal events, history, and the environment. I graduated from Loyola University and then Stanford University, served an internship on the Washington Post and joined the Pulitzer-winning Riverside Press-Enterprise in California — where I won numerous awards for narrative and environmental reporting and writing.
Seattle University hired me to teach in 1978. In 2005, it named me a full professor in Communication and then added an additional associate appointment in Women and Gender Studies. I teach courses in narrative non-fiction writing, communication justice and law, and in sexual justice/gender issues and advocacy.
My home website, where you can link to all the other websites I maintain for my books and courses, as well as read reviews of my work, is garyatkins.net