11th April 2024

Cambridge Festival: Nothing Ever Just Disappears

Nothing Ever Just Disappears: Exploring the gay imagination

Radical cultural historian and activist Diarmuid Hester and poet and Booker Prize judge Mary Jean Chan, both from the University of Cambridge, are in conversation in and around Cambridge about Diarmuid’s new book, Nothing ever just disappears: Seven hidden histories, on how the gay imagination deals with place and displacement through time and place.

Dr Diarmuid Hester is a radical cultural historian, writer, and activist and teaches at the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge. He is also a research associate of Emmanuel College. He is the creator of Prick Up Your Ears, immersive podcasts and audio trails that uncover the little-known cultural histories of places like Cambridge, Rye and Dungeness. He is also the co-founder of Club Urania, a monthly performance and music night for LGBTQ+ people and allies developed in partnership with Cambridge Junction and Wysing Arts Centre. In 2020, Diarmuid was named a BBC New Generation Thinker, and he regularly contributes to BBC Radio 3. Diarmuid’s books include Nothing Ever Just Disappears: Seven Hidden Histories, which follows queer artists and writers whose lives and work are inextricable from a sense of place.

Mary Jean Chan is the author of the poetry collection Flèche, published by Faber & Faber (2019). Flèche won the Costa Book Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the John Pollard Foundation International Poetry Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Seamus Heaney Centre First Collection Poetry Prize and a Lambda Literary Award. An Italian translation of Flèche by Giorgia Sensi was published by Interno Poesia in 2023. Chan’s second collection Bright Fear (Faber, 2023) is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and was shortlisted for the 2023 Forward Prize for Best Collection. Chan edited the acclaimed anthology 100 Queer Poems (Vintage, 2022) with Andrew McMillan and was a judge for the 2023 Booker Prize. Chan is currently the 2023-2024 Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

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