Author Q&A with James Hudson
James Hudson is a writer living in Dublin, Ireland. His essay Wanna See My Party Trick? *Stops Taking T* appears in Monstrous Regiment Publishing’s anthology So Hormonal and he is a librarian at the Small Trans Library Dublin, working to improve the accessibility of queer literature to trans people in Ireland. As part of our LGBTQ+ publishing project, The Rainbow Library, James worked with illustrator Jamie Beard to facilitate six creative writing workshops with young LGBTQ+ people based in Ireland. The results of these will be published by Pop Up Projects.
How and when did you first realise that you wanted to be an author?
In 2015 I went to Topside Press’ book tour on a whim, where I met Imogen Binnie and bought her book Nevada. I credit a lot to that random encounter. I was already writing online with friends, but I don’t know that I’d have had the confidence to take ownership of the ‘writer’ identity if I hadn’t first met a trans author, with a trans publisher. I had faith in myself, but that meeting gave me faith that any hostility towards me or my writing would be outweighed by the joy of reading trans writers and writing trans stories. So I write!
Who are your artistic influences?
I found it hard to engage with or draw inspiration from most of my assigned texts in college, so my influences are constantly evolving as I finally find my people. It’s comforting to realize there’s no need to have a fixed Top 5, you’re allowed to constantly find new favourites and reflect that in your writing. In the last year alone I’ve discovered so many writers who both validate the niche genres I devote myself to and inspire me to branch out in new ways — Amy Rose Capetta, Neon Yang, Calvin Gimpelevich and Ariel Slamet Ries to name a few.
What does the Rainbow Library project mean to you?
We easily celebrate kids who devour books daily, but LGBTQ+ literature needs to be easily available to young people at any reading level, not tucked away in a corner that only some kids and parents will seek out. The only way that’ll happen is if more LGBTQ+ writers are seen and supported. So the Rainbow Library is a really amazing project, in that it both platforms LGBTQ+ writers and helps their work reach the readers that need it. In Ireland especially there’s a real dearth of published trans writers, so every step to remedy that is a vital one.
What would you like to see more of in the literature world, particularly children’s/YA literature?
More trans writers, but especially more trans sci-fi and fantasy for young people. A lot of trans children’s fiction is deeply rooted in reality, dealing with important themes like moving schools, bullying and coming out — but do trans youths not have the right to also see themselves on amazing adventures, entwined in fantastical metaphors? In trying to find children’s books for the Small Trans Library Dublin, I felt there was a kind of gatekeeping of imagination in my way. So I would like to see that remedied! Kids need to see trans magicians, trans robots, trans superheroes, and more.
What advice would you give to young LGBTQ+ people who are interested in creative writing or illustration?
One: Invest totally in writing what you love, not what’s conventional. Whether that’s a fun story idea, a background for your favourite OC, an original D&D campaign, a fanfic, a film script — don’t worry about rules or conventions or expectations. Don’t fear cringe. Literally just enjoy yourself. Have fun.
Two: Find the closest LGBTQ+ library. Reading books and comics that speak to you does you good, and so does being in touch with an in-person community separate from online discourse. A few you can find via Twitter: @smalltranslibr, @translibrgla, @book28library, @LGBTIQoutside