VANCOUVER—About seventy-five friends, colleagues, Gawthrop family members, fellow writers, and other readers showed up at Pat’s Pub on June 25 to celebrate the launch of The Trial of Pope Benedict.
The place was packed. There were lots of happy reunions, there was a fabulous introduction from Carellin Brooks, and there was a reading. There was also a long line-up of people with copies to sign: legendary queer rights activist Janine Fuller of Little Sister’s, someone I’ve known for decades but didn’t realize until the next morning was my bookseller, says she sold 50. (No wonder I didn’t have time to visit the men’s room, mingle, or pose for group photos, much less cross the cavernous bar to the pool table, to find out who was in charge of sales.) You can’t ask a lot more from a book launch than that, so kudos to Arsenal Pulp Press–and thanks to Janine!
So far, the coverage has been good. Tom Sandborn’s review in the Vancouver Sun was pretty fab, as was Matthew Hays’s interview feature in Xtra!. The Trial received two mentions from the ever-loyal Tyee, first making the progressive website’s list of twenty recommended reads for the summer, and then with a phone interview about Pope Francis. Seattle’s The Stranger also weighed in with a more than fair review.
All this after getting my first-ever notice in Kirkus Reviews, and—in what is certain to be the only such coverage by a Roman Catholic newspaper—a two-page spread of excerpts from the book and a free back-page ad in the print edition of the Island Catholic News.
The morning after the launch, I taped an interview with Pat McMahon, avuncular host of the Phoenix, Arizona-based “The God Show” on KTAR radio. It was a free-wheeling conversation about Vatican II, homophobia and hypocrisy, and the odds of change under Pope Francis. The interview will be podcast on Sunday (of course!) on the station’s website.
Now I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop: the negative reviews, righteous condemnations, and personal attacks. Because you just know they’re coming.