Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Let’s Get This Out There…Liz Kessler

Last month, two things happened to make me realise how much the world has changed. The first was that I got married.

Why would that make me think the world has changed? Well, because I married a woman.

OK, officially, I got Civil Partnered. What I actually did was stand up in front of a room full of my beloved friends and family and make a legally binding commitment to my partner of six years. So, yeah, I married a woman.



Twenty two years ago, I went to my brother’s wedding. It was a beautiful and emotional day. I remember looking round at everyone in the room and feeling overwhelmed by the love and support for my brother and his new wife, and I remember being so happy for them. And then I remember having a fleeting feeling of sadness as I realised that I would never have that. It never occurred to me that one day it might be possible. And last month, I proved my younger self wrong as I found myself at the centre of a room of my favourite people and felt wrapped up in love and happiness as two families became one.



The second thing that happened last month that made me realise how much the world has changed was that my publisher offered me a new contract. A very special new contract, and one that is close to my heart – especially this year. It is for a book that I wrote over ten years ago and which has waited patiently for its time to come. The novel is about a teenage girl learning about love and life – and coming out as gay. Ten years ago, none of us could really see how we could publish this book. It felt like a risk in all sorts of ways and my publisher, my agent and I were all happy to put it to one side and get on with writing and publishing all the other books that I’ve worked on since then.

But in the last couple of years, all sorts of things have made me start thinking again about this book. Incidents of gay youngsters committing suicide after unbearable bullying hit the news in the states. Violence against gay people increased in Russia after anti-gay laws were passed.

Amongst the campaigning against homophobic bullying, a wonderful song was released last year by a group called the L Project which I played over and over again. It’s called It Does Get Better and ever since I heard the song, I knew that I wanted to be part of a movement that was telling young people that it didn’t matter who or what they were. They were OK and they would get through it.

So I looked at my book again. I dusted it down, polished it up and sent it back to my agent. This time, when she sent it on to my publisher, the answer came back very quickly. ‘Times have changed, and we are ready to move with them,’ was the reply. My publisher not only wanted the book but the whole team was ready to support it, celebrate it and get it out into the world with enthusiasm.

Read Me Like A Book will be published in the spring of 2015 – and I can’t wait. It’s been a long time coming and, in many ways, it is the most important book I’ve written. But I’m also quite nervous of what this might mean for me, personally as well as professionally and commercially. I write books that are mostly read by girls aged between eight and fourteen. I like to think that my books have strong underlying messages about family and friendship and love and loyalty. These things are close to my heart and judging by some of the letters and emails I get, they are close to the hearts of many of my readers and their parents, too. But people sometimes have different ideas about what they mean by these values, and publishing such a different book could possibly create difficulties for me. Maybe it won’t – I have no way of knowing.

But in the year that my partner had very serious major surgery that made both of us think about the fragility of life, and the year that I took a legally binding vow to love, cherish, honour, respect and be faithful to her, I think that it’s time for me to stop letting fear dictate what I am prepared to do publicly. And it’s time for me to tell anyone who needs to hear it, for whatever reason, that it is OK to love whoever you love.

After all, if Ashleigh, the seventeen-year-old main character of my new book can do it, then it’s about time I did, too.



Follow Liz on Twitter
Check out Liz's Website

Find out more about the L Project and their work here
Watch the video of It Does Get Better
All photographs by Mark Noall. Check out his website here


96 comments:

Catherine Butler said...

Double congratulations, Liz! Those are wonderful pictures.

tracy alexander said...

Brilliant about the book and the marriage.

Keren David said...

Hurray for you and for changing times. Wonderful pictures and I can't wait to read the book.

Elen C said...

Such happy pictures!
Congratulations again, my dear. And can't wait to read the book.

Nicola Morgan said...

Wonderful, wonderful post in every way, Liz! Hooray for you both and hooray for your book! Xx

Keris Stainton said...

I love everything about this post. Congratulations, Liz. xx

Lucy Coats said...

I am SO damn proud of you, Liz. And I can't WAIT to read this book.

Rachel Ward said...

Huge congratulations on the marriage and the book! When other things seem a bit bleak it's good to remember that in some ways things have changed, and are still changing, very much for the better. :)

Stroppy Author said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. Congratulations on the wedding (again) and on the book! Can't wait to read it!

Katherine Langrish said...

Fabulous news. I read that book, and I know it's great. Well done, and so proud to be your friend!

Katherine Langrish said...

Fabulous news. I read that book, and I know it's great. Well done, and so proud to be your friend!

liveotherwise said...

Congratulations and I look forward to reading your new book.

John Dougherty said...

What a great post, Liz. I think your bravery will pay off; as you say, the world has changed and so have many of the people in it. Thirty years ago I'd have been distinctly uneasy about a children's author coming out like this - now I think such honesty is essential.

So, thank you for one of the most important posts we've ever had on this site.

Anne Booth said...

First of all congratulations on your marriage, and many happy years ahead. This world needs as much love as possible. Secondly - congratulations. I will be buying your book and I am sure I will want to lend it to and talk about it with my daughters. It's really good you are being so brave, and it inspires me to be brave in other areas of life. I hope it is a HUGE success. I am writing this as a Christian and a Catholic, and I say that just so you know that there are people who claim that my religion gives them permission to criticise you - and they are wrong. They are also not representative of many Christians who would support you in your marriage and in your writing - so thanks for your truth-telling and your lovely books!

sarah-painter.com said...

Lovely post, beautiful photos, and wonderful news - many congratulations! x

Sue Purkiss said...

Lovely pictures, lovely post.

JocKeshetPrice said...

Wonderful! I completely understand your reservations but yes, times have changed. There will always be a few who will not be supportive but the vast majority will applaud your bravery and, most importantly, there will be girls, young women, boys and men who your book might touch, help, give strength to and maybe even save.
I am very proud of what you are doing Liz and on behalf of those your book might reach - 'thank-you'!
Much love and hugs from us both xox

Charlotte Guillain said...

Oh my goodness Liz, you have made my bottom lip tremble in a big way! And now I am shouting my own big whoop of happiness for you from the rooftops - and I cannot wait to read your book. X

RMIvory said...

What a fabulous post, so many wonderful things to celebrate and I can't wait to read your new book. I am sure I and your readers and fan base will love it as much as all your others. Well done Liz.

Pauline Chandler said...

A wonderful post! Congratulations on your marriage and your new book that sounds fabulous.

Sandra Horn said...

Many congratulations and all good wishes to you, Liz! This is a wonderful venture and may it be widely read and welcomed.

Jen Alexander said...

What a brilliant, life-affirming, joyful post! Did you know I blogged about your wedding, Liz ('It's about love')? I'm so happy for you. Jen x

Liz de Jager said...

Argh! Sobbing like a sobbing thing - thanks for that Liz. :D

But seriously, am so happy for you - you both look amazing in these photos.

A lot has changed, you're correct, and I'm genuinely pleased that the new (old) book is being published. I look forward to reading it!

All the squishes!

Ellen Renner said...

This is so beautiful, Liz. Lovely pictures! I agree with John: one of the most inspiring posts ever to grace ABBA. Looking forward to reading this book. Congratulations!

Jackie Marchant said...

I'm so glad everything has worked out for you. Can't wait to read the book!

Emma Barnes said...

What a wonderful and moving post. Many congratulations on both events, Liz. I hope that your book will be taken up by schools and libraries in particular, and get a really wide audience. It's so important for all kids to see themselves reflected in the books they read - Malorie Blackman has said she never read a book about a black character until she was an adult - it sounds as if this book will fill another such need.

Jane McLoughlin said...

This is a warm and wonderful ...happy endings and beginnings. Congratulations and best wishes to you, your wife and your book!

lily said...

wonderful news, wonderful post, HURRAH!

Lynne Garner said...

Congratulations to you both.

Fab to hear your book is now to see the light of day.

I've never understood this 'issue' about who someone else loves. During my teens I worked in a local theatre and no one (well that I was aware) took issue with who loved who. I had friends who were female going out with another girl, I had male friends who were going out with males, I had friends who went out with either gender and friends who were attacked to the opposite sex. It really didn't matter, we were just pleased they had found someone they could connect with. However sadly some people still need to be educated and your actions will do this. So virtual hug being sent for taking the leap and helping others understand it's really no biggie who we love (well apart from between ourselves) - hope that last sentence makes sense.

Diana Kimpton said...

Good for you, Liz. Congratulations on your wedding, your new book and your bravery in writing this. My son's wedding was one of the happiest days of my life and his husband is a much loved member of our family.

Mary Hoffman said...

Well, you already know how happy I am for the two wifeys but now I can add how very pleased I am that "that" book will at last see the light of day. You have a lot of love and support here and I hope it will sustain you through the less pleasant moments that are bound to come.

As you say, you know what's important now and you will be strong enough.

Hayley Long said...

Congratulations :) Brilliant post!

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful - congratulations on your marriage and your new publishing deal.

Paula Harrison

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful - congratulations on your marriage and your new publishing deal.

Paula Harrison

Susie Day said...

Brilliant news, so very happy for you and cannot wait to read it!

Joan Lennon said...

Thank you for letting us be part of this. Congratulations!

Tracy Hager said...

I love this. As an American living in England, I've been celebrating friends' weddings for the past year or so (via Facebook) as different states legalise what should have never been illegal - and it's beautiful so see. I love that Macklemore's song, 'Same Love' speaks to many young people and I love that your book can be added to my LGBT collection at my library. I'm looking forward to reading it and very happy for you both.

Liz Kessler said...

WOW! I am absolutely blown away by the response to this blog. I can't tell you how grateful I am and how full my heart is right now. Thank you so much.

If I had any doubts whether I was doing the right thing (which I didn't really, but I did have fears) you have obliterated them. Seriously, a huge, massive, heartfelt THANK YOU!

Anne - what you've said about your religion means a lot to me. I get particularly upset when people use their religion as a way to justify intolerance and it's great to have people like you who are prepared to say what you've said.

Jen - no, I didn't know you'd blogged about it. I'm off to find your blog now!

Tracy - I recently downloaded 'Same Love.' It's a brilliant song!

Thanks again folks. You've made me very happy - and very relieved!

xx

Heather Dyer said...

Fantastic Liz, so pleased for you, both about the wedding and the book! Very exciting.

Abie Longstaff said...

Yay! I'm so happy for you twice over - once for the wedding and once for the book. Much love xxxx

Anstey Spraggan said...

The world needs your book. A friend of mine has just decided, finally, that she is able to come out - at the age of 45. Before that she was just too afraid. All those wasted happy times.

Congratulations on your marriage and thank you for your lovely post which made me cry.

sophiabennett said...

Congratulations Liz! What a wonderful wedding, book idea and blog post. Now is definitely the time! x

Helen Larder said...

How brilliant!! Congratulations on your marriage and the book. The photos are lovely. Lots of love, Helen xxxx

malachy doyle said...

Good on you, girl. And good on your publisher, for taking it on.

Peter Ward said...

Well done, Liz, a brave and life-affirming thing you've done... and definitely a book for our times. I know it'll do really well. Congratulations too on your marriage!
Best wishes, Peter Ward

Dawn McNiff said...

Congrats on yr wedding, Liz. You both look great. Looking fwd to the book - I'm sure it will do well x

Savita Kalhan said...

Huge congratulations to you and your partner, Liz! Your post brought tears to my eyes in the best way! Look forward to the book - best of luck with it! x

Beverley Thompson said...

Congratulations on the wedding and the book, can not wait till we all have the right to marry who we love and def needs to be more book out there form a older person point of view as many still come out later in years

C.J.Busby said...

What a lovely post and great pictures, thanks for sharing them! It must be hard to feel that what should just be a wonderful but private of your life has to become a political/professional hot potato - but on the other hand, your willingness to share it will be fantastic, inspiring and important to the young people who read your books - all of them! And if you get any unpleasant reactions from anyone, just tip them a wink and say you'll be sending the SAS round to deal with them...!!

Amy Butler Greenfield said...

Beautiful, Liz. So happy for you, the book, and changing times!

Shoo Rayner said...

Congratulations on the marriage and the book finally "coming out"

Looking back over a similar period of time, i'm amazed at the prejudices and paradigms of former generations that we have managed to work through. More to go :)

Good luck and best wishes

Jennie Walters said...

Wonderful post, Liz - and great news about the book. Am sure it will reach out to lots of young people and the positive reactions will outweigh any negative ones. Love the photos too!

Kate Scott said...

What a beautiful post -- thank you for writing it. And absolutely can't wait for the book! Congratulations on two fantastic events! Kate

Susan Price said...

Liz - I am in awe of your courage, strength and love. I wish the very best possible to you, your wife, and your book.

jocotterill said...

Hurrah hurrah hurrah! Well done you. And FANTASTIC news on the book :-) Cannot WAIT to read it.

Rachel Hamilton said...

What a wonderful post - inspirational in so many ways. Congratulations!

Penny Dolan said...

Huge congratulations, Liz, on your happy wedding day, and on the news about a much-needed book.

So glad for both wifeys!

K.M.Lockwood said...

Absolutely delighted for you on both counts. Do make sure I get to review
'read me like a book' - pretty please!

Jane Clarke said...

Congratulations on your marriage, Liz, it looks like a wonderfully happy and celebratory day. Very best wishes to you both - and your book.

Moira Butterfield said...

Fantastic. You can give young people hope. Looking forward to the book.

Moira Munro said...

Hurray on all accounts!
How encouraging to get these indicators that the world can change. And now, you are part of the change. I hope it will prove to require no more courage than you've already put in, and many deep rewards.

Karen Saunders said...

Love, love, love this post. HUGE congratulations, both on your marriage, and your book deal. Fabulous photos too, with happiness spilling from them. Looking forward to reading the book.

Claire McC said...

A wonderful post. Hurray to changing times and attitudes. Congratulations on your wedding and the book contract, I look forward to reading Read Me Like A Book.

Ann Evans said...

Lovely post, Liz, and what fantastic news! Double congratulations on your marriage and the book.

scribblingladly said...

Wonderful post, Liz - congratulations on the courage to speak out. And I too, as a Christian, deplore those who use their religion to denounce love - because that's what it amounts to. I pray you have many happy, fun filled, healthy years together.

Richard said...

Triple congratulations -- for the book and to both of you. May you live happily ever after.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Many congratulations! You sound so happy...

A Wilson said...

A wonderful, heart-rending, life-affirming post that has me covered in goosebumps. If that's what you post can do, I can't wait to read the book! Congratulations, Liz. x

Anonymous said...

Its a wonderful time to LOVE. Congrats for everything.

Lynne Benton said...

Well done, Liz, and congratulations on the book - as well as the wedding of course!

Julia Green said...

So moving to read this, Liz: thank you. I am SO looking forward to reading your new novel. Brave and inspiring post.

frances thomas said...

Lovely inspirational post. Congratulations

Pippa Goodhart said...

HOORAY!!!

candycupid said...

I already wished you the best (Twitter) but I want to do it here as well! So congrats again! I'm also kind of touched by your blog post. It's sad that you felt anxious about your coming out and the reaction of your readers. My parents always told me that there's nothing wrong with being gay so I always had the opinion that being gay is just normal! I don't care about someone's sexuality as long as they're nice to me or write good books :) I'm 18 years old but I still read the Emily Windsnap and Philippa Fisher books! Hearing about your new book coming in 2015 made me curious so I think I might take a look :) I'm sure that it will be successful! There might be some people who don't like the topic; I mean there are still people who are against gay marriage and stuff. But don't let them take you down! Whatever the topic, there are always two opinions: to like or not to like. It's just human :D
So I hope you enjoy your time with your wife! Greetings from Germany

Yahong Chi said...

Oh gosh, I'm SO happy for you and what this means for the world. <3

Anonymous said...

Congrats xxxxxxxxx
Katie

Karen said...

Congratulations, Liz. You both look beautiful. And all the best with the book. :)

Michal Rubin said...

Congratulations on both fronts. My 5-year old Nava is in Kindergarten and is just learning how to read. I can't wait to share all the Emily Windsnap books with her. And when she's old enough, I will share Read Me Like a Book. We're supporting and cheering for you over here and can't wait to see the book featured at our local Barnes and Noble! xoxo

Vanessa Harbour said...

Congratulations, fantastic news on both counts

fionadunbar said...

Better late than never...already congratulated you on FB and Twitter, girl: now doing it here! Wonderful post, and as Mary says, it's lovely now to be able to congratulate you on your forthcoming publication, as well as the wedding. SO looking forward to reading it! xx

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to have the ability/opportunity to reach out to so many people. I'm sure your book will touch hearts and give hope and maybe even open hearts and help understanding. (Bit more succinct than my mega text!) Hugs Min xxxxx

Jan said...

Many congratulations to you both!
And that is one of the most lovely wedding photos I've ever seen!

obat paru-paru said...

happy wedding :D

Miriam Halahmy said...

Even though I am your 84th comment I had to say well done you on both counts. So proud of you taking such a ground-breaking step and I'm very much looking forward to reading the book. The wedding pics are wonderful and of course I'm a bit of an expert *grins* because my son got married on Sept 1st...

Ben Foster said...

Great news, well done and congratulations!

Joe Friedman said...

Wonderful post Liz, and lovely photos. Great to see you so happy!

adele said...

Mazel tov, Liz! I am in the best position to understand how very important it is to seize the day and enjoy every bit of happiness you can at all times. Looking forward to the book!

Leslie Wilson said...

Hurrah! I am so glad you were able to speak the name of the love - and thrilled that you have written a book that will make it possible for young girls to understand who they truly are.

Paeony Lewis said...

It's lovely that you've shared your wedding news and partner, Liz. Congratulations again. Times have changed and I'm so pleased your publisher is backing your book - it needs to be out there for everyone. Good luck. Just don't visit Russia, sigh.

Sue S. said...

Dear Liz,
I am so happy for your both. And so many congratulations too, for this very important book.
With love.

Lynn said...

Congratulations!

M Louise Kelly said...

Very life affirming. And SO many great comments. Congratulations!

hilary said...

I came to this news by way of the Bookwitch. I am utterly glad for you both. Ten thousand congratulations. What a wonderful Happily Ever After. Love Hilary

hilary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Thorpe said...

I only just got round to reading this. An inspiring message and story. Congratulations on your marriage - and your courage.

Sita Brahmachari said...

Just read this Liz, so many congratulations. Last weekend I went to my friend Laury and Jay's wedding in The Rosslyn Hill Chapel. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I've been to but the most beautiful thing about it... is that FINALLY it has happened XXX