Northwest Horizons

Author Bill Konigsberg Skypes NW’s GSA

Juniors+Sarah+Teague+and+Morgan+DelFava+pose+with+author+Bill+Konigsberg%27s+novel%2C+%22Openly+Straight.%22+Konigsberg+Skyped+Northwest%27s+Gay-Straight+Alliance+club+after+school+on+Monday%2C+April+8+to+discuss+his+upcoming+work+and+struggles+and+triumphs+of+LGBT+youth+today.
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Author Bill Konigsberg Skypes NW’s GSA

Juniors Sarah Teague and Morgan DelFava pose with author Bill Konigsberg's novel,

Juniors Sarah Teague and Morgan DelFava pose with author Bill Konigsberg's novel, "Openly Straight." Konigsberg Skyped Northwest's Gay-Straight Alliance club after school on Monday, April 8 to discuss his upcoming work and struggles and triumphs of LGBT youth today.

Juniors Sarah Teague and Morgan DelFava pose with author Bill Konigsberg's novel, "Openly Straight." Konigsberg Skyped Northwest's Gay-Straight Alliance club after school on Monday, April 8 to discuss his upcoming work and struggles and triumphs of LGBT youth today.

Juniors Sarah Teague and Morgan DelFava pose with author Bill Konigsberg's novel, "Openly Straight." Konigsberg Skyped Northwest's Gay-Straight Alliance club after school on Monday, April 8 to discuss his upcoming work and struggles and triumphs of LGBT youth today.

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In the 1970s, being gay meant breaking the law.

LGBT children and adults had few role models to look up to– most homosexuals in the public eye were closeted, and literature featured only heterosexual, cis-gender characters.

However, all that has changed, in part thanks to ground-breaking writers such as LGBT author Bill Konigsberg.

During an after-school GSA meeting in the media center on Monday, April 8,  Konigsberg– who was born in 1970 and who has seen the rights of LGBT people evolve over the years– Skyped Northwest from his home in suburban Phoenix, Arizona, to talk to this generation’s LGBT students and to discuss his upcoming novel, “The Bridge.”

Students shared their own stories with Konigsberg– from what it means to be trans at our school to reactions from others for cross-dressing at prom.

“How can we be our authentic selves?” Konigsberg asked the students. “It’s easier to say than do, that other people’s opinions don’t matter– because sometimes (it feels like) they do.”

Konigsberg also discussed depression among the LGBT youth, encouraging students to find an “artistic outlet” and “community connection” when they start feeling depressed.

“Support each other,” Konigsberg said. “Everybody needs community.”

Konigsberg, now happily married to his husband, has been publishing adolescent LGBT novels since 2008, starting with his award-winning book, “Out of the Pocket.” He began his career as a journalist, but even though he was advised by many that he would not be able to make a living writing fiction, he wanted to give it a try.

He told the students that he attributes his success as a writer to his authentic voice; he said he “write(s) from the heart.”

“In 11 years (since his first novel in 2008), so much has changed,” Konigsberg said. “People are thirsty for LGBT protagonists.”

His current novel, “The Bridge,” he says

“is the most intense novel I’ve ever written.”

Featuring three different alternate realities, the novel follows two characters who attempt suicide off of the George Washington Bridge. In one reality, the girl dies; in another reality, the boy dies; in the third reality, they both live.

“I was suicidal when I was younger, and I didn’t think it mattered if I lived or not,” Konigsberg said. “I am so blessed I didn’t make that choice because of all the things I have been able to see and experience…it’s hard to talk about.”

The Skype phone call concluded with the hope that the students and Konigsberg will be able to meet in-person.

“Come to the Greensboro Book Festival on May 18,” Konigsberg said. “I’d love to meet you.”

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Author Bill Konigsberg Skypes NW’s GSA