Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kevin Sessums Mississippi Sissy Interview in Hattiesburg Mississippi Bookstore

Here is a long interview in a Hattiesburg, Mississippi Bookstore of Kevin Sessums about his book MISSISSIPPI SISSY. It is in 2 parts. They are long but they are worth watching and listening to. Kevin is originally from Forrest, Mississippi. He has lived in NYC since 1975. I like his book and I like Kevin. His book and the audio version which he reads are available from Amazon.com

Kevin is openly gay. And his memoir is about growing up gay in Mississippi in the 1960s and early 1970s. I first saw this book in a Barnes and Noble bookstore and thought I at least have to look at it and see what it is about. I was stunned to find out that not only is Kevin Sessums a fine writer he was writing about someone I had once met. He opens the book with the murder of Frank Hains who was the arts and entertainment editor of the Jackson, Miss. newspaper. I had met Frank Hains once in Hattiesburg, Miss.in 1960. He had come down to direct the play Look Homeward Angel with the college drama department. Since I was reading and enjoying Thomas Wolfe at the time I spoke to Frank Hains when I saw him eating dinner one night in one of the restaurants across from the college. One of the first things he told me was that he did not really like Thomas Wolfe's writings that much. But we talked for a bit and what I remember is that Frank was friendly and didn't mind talking to a college student. I had heard over the years that he had been murdered in Jackson,Miss. in 1975. It is even mentioned in a biography of Eudora Welty since he was a friend of Ms. Welty. So I as I read the book MISSISSIPPI SISSY I learned all the details of the death of Frank Hains.

A word of caution if you decided to read Miss. Sissy. It contains graphic descriptions of gay sex. If you are homophobic or simply don't like gays for whatever reason you should skip this book. If however you can put that aside and read this book as a great memoir of growing up gay and different in Miss. and enjoy the fact that Kevin is a highly gifted writer you will be highly rewarded with a fine reading experience. I just skipped the graphic sex scenes. They are not many anyway.

I have heard that Kevin has a new book coming out soon called I LEFT IT ON THE MOUNTAIN. It is to be a continuation of his memoirs. This book will take up his story of what happened after he moved to New York City in 1975. It should be interesting.

Interview Part 1:

Interview Part 2: