The Pride List

Book Buys

There are many places in the world where book banning is a regular occurrence even in 2023!! It seems that many people claim free speech as the only entitlement we have as individuals until our ideal doesn’t meet their expectations, and then do everything in their power to take it away! We all know representation is vital for the wellbeing of young people exploring their sexual orientation and gender identity, but also helps all people of any age understand difference, and books or TV are really the only private outlets to do so.

So, we are going to fight this in our very own small way and celebrate those queer writers, queer stories and queer education and give our top picks each month.


Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

It is 1981. Glasgow is dying and good families must grift to survive. Agnes Bain has always expected more from life, dreaming of greater things. But Agnes is abandoned by her philandering husband, and as she descends deeper into drink, the children try their best to save her, yet one by one they must abandon her to save themselves. It is her son Shuggie who holds out hope the longest. Shuggie is different, he is clearly no’ right. But Shuggie believes that if he tries his hardest, he can be normal like the other boys and help his mother escape this hopeless place.

One of the most prominent books of 2020, and writing in The Observer, Alex Preston said: “Rarely does a debut novel establish its world with such sure-footedness, and Stuart’s prose is lithe, lyrical and full of revelatory descriptive insights. This is a memorable book about family, violence and sexuality.”


Love from the Pink Palace by Jill Nader

When Jill Nalder arrived at drama school in London in the early 1980s, she was ready for her life to begin. With her band of best friends – of which many were young, talented gay men with big dreams of their own – she grabbed London by the horns: partying with drag queens at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, hosting cabarets at her glamorous flat, flitting across town to any jobs she could get.

But soon rumours were spreading from America about a frightening illness being dubbed the ‘gay flu’, and Jill and her friends now found their formerly carefree existence under threat. In this moving memoir, IT’S A SIN’s Jill Nalder tells the true story of her and her friends’ lives during the AIDS crisis — juggling a busy West End career while campaigning for AIDS awareness and research, educating herself and caring for the sick. Most of all, she shines a light on those who were stigmatised and shamed, and remembers those brave and beautiful boys who were lost too soon.


Queer Cocktails by Lewis Lancey

This collection of cocktail recipes celebrates queer culture and pays tribute to the great gay icons of our time. Try your hand at mixing a Bloody Mariah (Carey), (Stephen) Fry Martini, or Rocket Man and get your tastebuds tingling. With recipes inspired by Beyoncé (Bey’s Knees), Freddie Mercury (Tequila Queen), Whitney Houston (I Will Always Love Woo Woo) and more, there’s plenty to keep all cocktail movers and shakers busy and thirsts well and truly quenched – we’ll drink to that!


You can pick up your copy of this month’s books from your local Book:ish store in Abergavenny or Crickhowell or online here: If these are unavailable at Book:ish, then you can find them online at , the biggest queer bookshop in the UK.


Each month we will share a recommendation from one of us at Abergavenny Pride, be it music, audiobook or a podcast – basically anything that you can use your headphones for.

Making Gay History

This podcast is a deep dive into all the corners of LGBTQ history, with multi-part series on topics like “Coming of Age During the AIDS Crisis” and the Stonewall uprising. From historic interviews with figures like Christopher Isherwood, Larry Kramer, Lorraine Hansberry, Quentin Crisp and Meg Christian to the visionary activists who started the gay rights movement, “Making Gay History” uses the subject’s own voices to illuminate the stops along the road to equality.

Astonishing Artists

Norena Shopland

We love all types of art here at Abergavenny Pride, whether it be music, poetry, paintings and everything else in between and I’m sure that’s the same for everyone. There’s always something for every mood and occasion so we are going to sing from the rooftops about queer artists and put them on stage, just for you.

This month we have the very talented Norena Shopland. a Welsh historian and writer who specialises in (LGBTQ+) research and history. She has been highlighted as a Welsh LGBTQ+ person of significance, and she gives talks, lectures and workshops on Welsh heritage and LGBTQ+ history. She has organised, curated, and consulted on exhibitions and events within the heritage sector in Wales. Norena is one of the founders of the network forum Hanes LHDT+ Cymru / LGBTQ+ Research Group Wales, which unites and supports LGBTQ+ history of Wales enthusiasts and researchers. She is also the diversity officer for the Women’s History Network.

How long have you been writing, and what is your favourite part of the process?

I was writing short stories at school and still remember one story a teacher liked so much that he read it out in class. It was about a feisty girl detective. My first book was published in 1987 and since then I’ve had 10 books published (and about 5 sitting on my laptop as I haven’t got around to them) but nowadays it’s mainly on LGBTQ+ and Welsh histories, particularly Welsh women as women’s history lags such a long way behind that of men. My favourite parts are doing the research, which is a bit like being a detective, and doing the actual writing but I’m not keen on collating all the research and editing, I seriously hate editing! 

Who are some of your biggest influences?

It tends to change with what I’m doing, but I’ve always loved the beauty of Oscar Wilde’s writing. And Maya Angelou, her writing is so perfect, and her life is simply amazing. When people say who’s your favourite writer, or what’s your favourite book I struggle because I don’t really have specific ones, I tend to get very hooked up with the subject I’m studying at the time so then rave about so-and-so and so-forth. My last book was on women working in Welsh coal mining and I have to say I came to love those women; they were so determined not to let people push them around in the late 19th century and they just carried on doing their jobs. It was hard and dirty work and people couldn’t understand how they could be so cheerful, but why not? They simply got on with their lives, like most of us, and did the best they could, and I think they’re a lesson to us all. 

How do you get ideas to bring to the fore new and exciting stories? There must be so much we don’t know about, so how do you narrow it down?

When I started researching and writing Welsh LGBTQ+ history back in 2011 there was relatively little known. A handful of people like Ivor Novello, and the Ladies of Llangollen, but people like Lady Rhondda and Cranogwen were barely mentioned, now loads of people know who they are, which is great. I dig around a lot in Welsh Newspapers Online, books and old journals trying to winkle out those who’ve either rarely, or never, been written about – and people are there if you look. My book Forbidden Lives (Seren Books, 2017) broke a lot of new stories and some of them I’ve been building up even further ever since. Sometimes, just a tiny story of 100 words is as exciting as a much longer one because it adds new information to our history so I tend not to narrow it down but try and put it all in the public domain through our website such as LGBTQ+ Cymru, funded by Swansea University and the new timelines I’m publishing in February so that every county in Wales will have its own history – the only country in the world to do this.

Do you feel there is enough representation of LGBTQIA+ history in your local scene? If not, how would you like to see things change?

One of the difficulties of our history throughout the world is the lack of local representation. 99% of all museums in the world do not have us on permanent display so where do we go to learn our own history? Hence the timelines. Another difficulty is that libraries, museums, and archives are so short of money, staff, and time and have so many calls on them to represent everyone in various celebratory periods throughout the year that they struggle to fit it all in. That’s why we have to do our part because if we don’t care about our history, who will? What is good to see is that over the last decade, more and more people and organisations are doing stuff, so I really look forward to History Month and Pride Month to see all the events taking place. However, we need to move away from mainstream narratives that often get dragged out every year, and concentrate on local people, and what they’ve done and are doing – because history is not just the past, it’s yesterday and today. 

Where can we follow you? And do you have any new releases or events you would like to share with us?

I’m on social media platforms under my own name and I post about talks, events, I’m doing. As I mentioned, the timelines will be released in February, one a day, so keep an eye out for them. And if anyone fancies writing anything, Amgueddfa Cymru/National Museum Wales and I have been running a Proud Writing workshop on creative responses to extracts from Welsh history so if you fancy having a go at fiction/non-fiction/poetry or even doing art, have a look at – The last course before we publish the e-book in February is in Cardiff by Cardiff Central Library, watch my feeds for more details. I’m also writing a new biography on Katherine Philips, the Welsh Sappho because, at the moment, she is one of the most fascinating women I’ve come across in a long time. 

Popcorn Picks
Who doesn’t love a cosy night in with a blanket, or a trip to the cinema both filled with the best snacks of your choice and a few hours of escapism from your everyday life? Here we will bring you a selection of worthy watches with queer storylines for whatever are your viewing pleasures.


Angels in America

Angels in America is a 2003 American HBO miniseries directed by Mike Nichols and based on the Pulitzer Prize–winning 1991 play of the same name by Tony Kushner. Set in 1985, the film revolves around six New Yorkers whose lives intersect. At its core, it is the fantastical story of Prior Walter, a gay man living with AIDS who is visited by an angel. The film explores a wide variety of themes, including Reagan era politics, the spreading AIDS epidemic, and a rapidly changing social and political climate.

It is 1985, Ronald Reagan is in the White House, and AIDS is causing mass death in the Americas. In Manhattan, Prior Walter tells Louis, his lover of four years, that he has AIDS; Louis, unable to handle it, leaves him. As disease and loneliness ravage Prior, guilt invades Louis. Joe Pitt, a Mormon and Republican attorney, is pushed by right-wing fixer Roy Cohn toward a job at the US Department of Justice. Both Pitt and Cohn are in the closet: Pitt out of shame and religious turmoil, Cohn to preserve his power and image. Pitt’s wife Harper is strung out on Valium, causing her to hallucinate constantly (sometimes jointly with Prior during his fever dreams) and she longs to escape from her sexless marriage. An angel with ulterior motives commands Prior to become a prophet.


It's a Sin

The series follows a group of gay men who move to London in 1981. They form a friendship group but the fast-developing HIV/AIDS crisis in the United Kingdom impacts their lives. Over five episodes the group are shown living through an entire decade until 1991, as they become determined to live fiercely despite the threat HIV poses to them.

The show received critical acclaim for its emotional scenes, writing, performances and accurate depiction of HIV/AIDS. All episodes were released to Channel 4’s online streaming service All 4, where it was viewed in its entirety more than 6.5 million times; making it the most binge-watched show to stream on the platform. The first episode also became Channel 4’s biggest drama launch. The show was also credited for creating an upsurge in HIV testing in the weeks after its release.


How to Survive a Plague

How to Survive a Plague is a 2012 American documentary film about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and the efforts of activist groups ACT UP and TAG. It was directed by David France, a journalist who covered AIDS from its beginnings. France’s first film, it was dedicated to his partner Doug Gould who died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1992. The documentary was produced using more than 700 hours of archived footage which included news coverage, interviews as well as film of demonstrations, meetings and conferences taken by ACT UP members themselves. France says they knew what they were doing was historic, and that many of them would die. The film opened in selected theatres across the United States on September 21, 2012, also includes footage of a demonstration during mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1989.

Meet The Team Member
Back to Abergavenny Pride now and each month we will introduce you to a member of the team of volunteers that put on this incredible event. We have come up with 10 quick fire questions to help you get to know them a bit better.

Name:             Sadie Allen

Pronouns:       She/her

Identity:           Lesbian

Why did you volunteer for Abergavenny Pride?

I have volunteered on the day of Pride for the past 2 events but I’ve always wanted to contribute more. While I am not officially on the committee, I am very excited to be more involved in the planning process for what is now my local pride. I grew up in a small town where there were no pride events, moving here and seeing the importance of a small town pride was special so I want to help in any way I can. Hopefully I can be on the committee properly next year!

What’s the best/worst thing about volunteering for Abergavenny Pride?

Best – Seeing the outcome of an amazing event that makes so many people happy! …and Aaron always brings cake to meetings…

Worst – The amount of stress it puts on a small committee team, they all work so hard to plan the best day for everyone, the levels of work that go into making this happen is astounding. I appreciate every one of the committee members!!

What do you do in your spare time?

I am currently in my last year of my degree, I study part time so that is most of my life outside of work. I also play football for Ross Juniors Ladies which is the favourite part of my week! I like to read in the evenings and drawing when I have time (which is not at all often recently, hopefully when I finish my degree I can start up again).

Who would you most like to swap places for the day?

That’s a tough one! Either one of the Lionesses (sorry I’m English not Welsh), I can’t even imagine the experience of playing in front of a crowd at Wembley or one of the members of MUNA, so I can spend the day with the other two members of MUNA, I’m not picky!

What was the last book you read?

Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date by Ashley Herring Blake! Absolutely my favourite book I’ve read recently, 5/5, no complaints, had me kicking my feet while reading it. It’s the third and final book in the Bright Falls series, preceded by Delilah Green Doesn’t Care and Astrid Parker Doesn’t Fail. They’re the first wlw rom com books I’ve ever read and I don’t think I can ever read any other rom coms again after these, they’re that good.

What’s your favourite quote/advice?

 A couple of my favourite PG ones I think about nearly everyday of my life are:

“Chicken bhuna, lamb bhuna, prawn bhuna, mushroom rice, bag of chips, keema naan and 9 poppadoms”

“By all means move at a glacial pace”

And one that is kind of like advice too that comes from one of my favourite childhood and guilty pleasure movies, if you know, you know:

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game”

What’s your go to song at the moment – past/present?

“Stayaway” by MUNA – absolute bop and I cannot go through listening to the song without terribly singing the bridge.

What website do you visit most?

Probably Amazon or Twitter

What’s your go to beverage order of choice?

Rum and Coke!

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