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James Magruder & Stephen Bolton

JAMES MAGRUDER was born in Washington, D.C., and moved with his family five times before settling down in Chicagoland. He went off to Cornell University, spent his junior year in Paris, served time as a grad student in the Yale French department, then defected to the Yale School of Drama, where he received his doctorate. His dissertation, THREE FRENCH COMEDIES (Yale University Press), was named an "Outstanding Literary Translation of the Year" by the American Literary Translators Association. Today, his versions of Molière, Marivaux, Lesage, Labiche, Gozzi, Hofmannsthal, and Dickens have been produced across the country and earn him tens of dollars. He also wrote the book for the ill-starred Broadway musical Triumph of Love. The journal he kept during that very special time will become available when several of his collaborators have passed away.

After fifteen years in show business, he began writing fiction in 2002. His stories have appeared in New England Review, The Gettysburg Review, Bloom, Subtropics, The Normal School, and elsewhere, and the anthologies BOY CRAZY and NEW STORIES FROM THE MIDWEST. His debut novel, SUGARLESS, was a Lambda Literary Award Finalist, and was shortlisted for both the VCU Cabell First Novelist Prize and the 2010 William Saroyan International Writing Prize. TriQuarterly Books will publish his first collection of stories, titled LET ME SEE IT, in 2014.

His writing has been supported by the Maryland State Arts Council, the New Harmony Project, The MacDowell Colony, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the Ucross Foundation, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Jerome Foundation. He teaches dramaturgy at Swarthmore College and fiction at the University of Baltimore. He lives in Maryland with his partner since 1999, Stephen Bolton, a research nurse at Johns Hopkins University,

Further Readings:

Sugarless: A Novel by James Magruder
Hardcover: 274 pages
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press; 1 edition (October 22, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0299233804
ISBN-13: 978-0299233808
Amazon: Sugarless: A Novel
Amazon Kindle: Sugarless: A Novel

Things look bad for Rick Lahrem, a high school sophomore in a cookie-cutter Chicago suburb in 1976. His mother’s second husband is a licensed psychologist who eats like an ape, his stepsister is a stoner slut, and his father is engaged to a Southern belle. Rick’s only solace is his growing collection of original Broadway-cast LPs, bought on the sly at Wax Trax.
After he brings two girls in speech class to tears by reading a story aloud, Rick is coaxed onto the interscholastic forensics team to perform an eight-minute dramatic interpretation of The Boys in the Band, the controversial sixties play about homosexuality. Unexpectedly successful at this oddball event, Rick begins winning tournaments and making friends with his teammates.
Rick also discovers the joys of sex—with a speech coach from a rival school—just as his mother, reacting to a deteriorating home environment, makes an unnerving commitment to Christ. The newly confident Rick assumes this too shall pass—until the combined forces of family, sex, and faith threaten to undo him at the state meet in Peoria.
James Magruder’s Sugarless offers a ruefully entertaining take on the simultaneous struggles of coming-out, coming-of-age, and coming-to-Jesus.

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