Born on July 30, 1954, in Pittsburgh, Martinac received her undergraduate degree from Chatham College in that city and went on to graduate school at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. After earning her M.A. in 1979, she took a job as assistant curator at the West Virginia State Museum in Charleston.
In 1982, she left West Virginia and moved to New Jersey to work as a production editor at the publishing firm Prentice Hall. That same year she joined the editorial collective for the New York City feminist newspaper, WomaNews. From then on, New York would be Martinac's city and the setting for many of her novels and short stories.
Paula Martinac's career has been devoted to exploring and documenting the place that lesbians occupy in society, history, and the family. In The Lesbian and Gay Book of Love and Marriage: Creating the Stories of Our Lives (1998), Martinac draws from her own experiences in a long-term committed relationship with her life-partner Katie Hogan, a writer and teacher, to explore the new frontier of gay marriage. "We celebrated 20 years together, we tried to figure out how not to become our parents."
Martinac's work at WomaNews was the start of a long and productive involvement in women's publishing. In 1985, she went to work as production director at the Feminist Press at City University of New York. She worked on production at the Press until 1994 and after that continued to contribute as a freelance writer.
In 1988, Martinac joined the editorial board of the feminist literary magazine Conditions, which was published in Brooklyn. From 1990 to 1995, she co-chaired the board of directors of New York's Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center, where she established a lesbian and gay reading and writing series titled "In Our Own Write."
Meanwhile, Martinac began to publish her own work, beginning in 1989 with Voyages Out One: Lesbian Short Fiction, an anthology of stories written by Martinac and Carla Tomaso, another lesbian writer. That year she also edited another short story anthology, The One You Call Sister: New Women's Fiction, in which different writers, lesbian and straight, explore the unique connection between sisters.
In 1990, Martinac published her first novel, Out of Time, a fantasy romance that playfully explores the history of lesbian identity. Out of Time tells the story of a modern lesbian who is first mesmerized, then bewitched, by a photograph of lesbians from the 1920s that she finds in a scrapbook in an antique shop. The book was received well by critics and won the Lambda Literary Award in the category of best lesbian fiction of 1990.
Martinac has continued to publish prolifically. Her works not only include novels--such as Home Movies (1993), about a family's complex reaction to loss filtered through the memory of a lesbian novelist, and Chicken (1997), a comic novel about a forty-something ghost writer who embarks on affairs with two twenty-somethings after she is dumped by her lover--but also a variety of other books as well.
In k.d. lang (1996), a young adult biography of the lesbian chanteuse, she paints a compelling portrait for young readers of growing up lesbian.
Martinac's fascination with the lesbian's place in history has provided inspiration for other books. In 1996, while working with the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center, she compiled The Lesbian Almanac, which includes a wide range of lesbiana-- historical facts, quotes, and resources for lesbians and bisexual women.
In 1997, Martinac published The Queerest Places: A National Guide to Gay and Lesbian Historic Sites, a lively guide to U.S. locations of interest to queers everywhere, from the Texas birthplace of famed athlete Babe Didrikson to the Massachusetts home of the reclusive Emily Dickinson.
She has also become a sort of community historian in her home city of New York, and the June 2003 queer book expo, Pink Ink, featured several literary walks with Martinac, who guided walkers to queer sites of interest throughout the city.
Until recently, Martinac shared her humor, insight, and politics with readers in an immediate and regular way in her column "Lesbian Notions," which is syndicated in queer news journals throughout the country. The column was originated by Martinac in 1997; it is now written by veteran activist Libby Post.
Although Martinac no longer writes "Lesbian Notions" herself, in her position as Editor in Chief of Q Syndicate, the largest syndicator to the gay press, she edits the "Lesbian Notions" column.
Author: Gianoulis, Tina
Entry Title: Martinac, Paula
General Editor: Claude J. Summers
Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture
Publication Date: 2006
Date Last Updated October 13, 2007
Web Address www.glbtq.com/literature/martinac_p.html
Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL 60607
Today's Date July 30, 2013
Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.
Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.
Paula Martinac, 1991, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1123970)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/giard.html)
Out of Time by Paula Martinac
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Seal Pr (August 1990)
Amazon: Out of Time
Amazon Kindle: Out of Time
A handsomely repackaged version of an award-winning debut novel that won the 1990 Lambda Literary Award for Best Lesbian Fiction and was a Finalist for the American Library Association Gay and Lesbian Book Award.
Escaping a downpour, Susan ducks into an antiques shop in Manhattan and discovers a scrapbook from the 1920s. She buys the book and her fate becomes inextricably linked with the four women in the photos.
Richly atmospheric and featuring a memorable cast of characters, Out of Time is a delightful novel about history, love, and the persistence of passion.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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