For the last several years I’ve been working on a manuscript that tells the story of my time in the U.S. military through a collection of essays, some straightforward, others more experimental.
I am excited to announce that that manuscript, Out of Step, has won the Non/Fiction Prize from The Journal/The Ohio State University Press. In addition to a small cash prize, I’ve been offered a contract with Mad Creek Books, the literary imprint of OSU Press.
Out of Step is a memoir about a working-class bisexual boy running off to join the army during two wars and the era of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It’s a queer coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of masculinity and secrecy. I was a lot of things when I joined: punk, nerdy, left-leaning, poor, but never patriotic. So what makes a pink-haired queer raise his right hand to enlist just as the nation is charging into war? This isn’t a flag-waving memoir, or a classic war novel — it’s the stories of me figuring out who I am as I figure out where I fit.
I am absolutely honored to be selected, especially with how talented and brilliant the other finalists are. I just want to say thank you to the contest’s judge, Michael Kardos, for selecting the work and for seeing its value. I also want to thank everyone at The Journal and OSU Press, as well as any early readers who found and reviewed the work.
The book is expected to be released to the Fall 2018 catalog, so stay tuned for updates about the process and release dates.