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Island Life, Word Birds & Process #20

One or two kind people, when reviewing Ghostbird, have commented on my portrayal of same-sex relationships.

‘…Lili falls in love with another woman … and that’s it: it isn’t swept under the carpet nor does it take over the narrative, it’s just one of the many elements in the novel’s tapestry, treated as completely normal, and it’s beautiful…’ Carolyn Percy

The fact that some reviewers have noted my handling of a lesbian relationship errs on the notional is gratifying. Equally, that so few have remarked on it at all is testament to my intention.

When I began writing the book, I hadn’t consciously decided Lili would be gay. I’m not sure when I did make the decision. Like so many women in my life, she just is. Lili is gay the same way some people are straight. Don’t quote me on this, but my guess is the world is teeming with lesbians. They’ve been around for as long as women’s stories have been told. Often hidden, invariably in plain sight.


Lesbians, dear reader, are everywhere.

As I wrote the story, it occurred to me that unconscious or not, writing a gay character afforded me the opportunity to ‘normalise’ her. As in, not make a big thing about it. Rather than explain her, simply write her, the way I was writing my other characters. (I didn’t feel the need to explain how Violet or Mrs Guto-Evans  were heterosexual.)

I’m doing it again in my new story. And I’m not explaining it.