Nothing Ever Just Disappears | A Talk by Dr Diarmuid Hester

  • Venue


  • Time

    6:30 PM

  • Price

    £6.00 plus booking fee

  • Book Tickets

A thrilling new history of queer identity and creativity, through seven lives and the spaces that made them

Nothing Ever Just Disappears is about what happens to a house or a room, or a whole town or city, when it is transformed by a powerful sensibility. With originality and subtlety, Diarmuid Hester examines how the gay imagination deals with place and with displacement, allowing for mystery and a kind of magic.’ Colm Tóibín

‘A hymn to the importance of community and place.’ Seán Hewitt, author of All Down Darkness Wide

At the turn of the century, in the shade of Cambridge’s cloisters, a young E.M. Forster conceals his passion for other men, even as he daydreams about the sun-warmed bodies of ancient Greece. Under the dazzling lights of interwar Paris, Josephine Baker dances her way to fame and fortune and discovers sexual freedom backstage at the Folies Bergère. And on Jersey, in the darkest days of Nazi occupation, the surrealist Claude Cahun mounts an extraordinary resistance to save the island she loves, scattering hundreds of dissident artworks along its streets and shorelines.

Nothing Ever Just Disappears brings to life the stories of seven remarkable figures and illuminates the connections between where they lived, who they loved, and the art they created. It shows that a queer sense of place is central to the history of the twentieth century and powerfully evokes how much is lost when these spaces are forgotten. From the lesbian London of the suffragettes to James Baldwin’s émigré home in Provence, to Jack Smith’s outrageous New York, Kevin Killian’s threatened San Francisco and the Dungeness cottage of Derek Jarman, Nothing Ever Just Disappears is a thrilling new history and a celebration of freedom, survival and the hidden places of the imagination.

Dr Diarmuid Hester is a radical cultural historian, writer, and activist. An expert on sexually dissident literature, art, film and performance, he is the author of the critically acclaimed Wrong: A Critical Biography of Dennis Cooper. He is a research associate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, a fellow of the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library and a BBC New Generation Thinker. He teaches at the Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, and co-founded the city’s queer performance and music night Club Urania.

This event will take place in the Cathedral Library on the first floor of the Millennium Building and won't be streamed or recorded.

The doors will open at 6.15pm and copies of Nothing Ever Just Disappears: Seven Hidden Histories will be available to buy on the evening.