Testimony by Paula Martinac

At a women’s college in rural Virginia in the 1950s, a deeply-closeted history professor faces an investigation into her private life that threatens her career.

Description

Coming January 2021

In rural Virginia in 1958, history professor Gen Rider has just secured tenure at Baines College, a private school for white women. With two strikes against her?she’s a woman in a men’s field, and she’s a race traitor who teaches “Negro history”?Gen has accomplished the near-impossible and should be celebrating. Instead, she’s mourning the break-up of a long-distance relationship with another woman?a romance she has tightly guarded, even from her straight female mentor.

Danger hits close to home when a nearby men’s college uncovers a “homosexual circle” involving its faculty, staff, and students. Suspicion spreads across the two campuses, threatening Gen and her friend Fenton, the gay theater director at Baines. When a neighbor spies Gen kissing a woman in her own home, hearings into moral turpitude at the college catch her in a McCarthy-like web. With both her private life and her teaching methods under scrutiny, Gen faces an agonizing choice: Which does she value more, her career, or her right to privacy?


PAULA MARTINAC is the author of five published novels and a collection of short stories. Her debut novel Out of Time won the 1990 Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction, and The Ada Decades was shortlisted for the Ferro-Grumley Award. Her most recent novel, Clio Rising, was awarded the Independent Publishers (IPPY) gold medal in Northeast Regional Fiction. She has published three nonfiction books on lesbian and gay culture and politics as well as numerous articles, essays, and short stories. Also a playwright, her works have had productions with Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company, Manhattan Theatre Source, the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, No Name Players, and others. Martinac is a 2019-2020 Artist Fellowship Recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council and in 2019 she received a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County. She teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

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