Partner Michael Snyder

Queer Places:
Columbia University (Ivy League), 116th St and Broadway, New York, NY 10027
4600 Los Feliz Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

John Francisco Rechy (born March 10, 1931) is a Mexican-American novelist and essayist.[1] In his novels, he has written extensively about gay culture in Los Angeles and wider America, among other subject matter, and is among the pioneers of modern LGBT literature. City of Night, his debut novel published in 1963, was a best seller. Drawing on his own background, he has contributed to Mexican-American literature, notably with his novel The Miraculous Day of Amalia Gomez, which has been taught in several Chicano studies courses throughout the United States.

Rechy was born Juan Francisco Flores Rechy [2] March 10, 1931, in El Paso, Texas.[3][4][5] He was the youngest of five children born to Guadalupe Flores and Roberto Sixto Rechy.[6] Both of Rechy's parents were natives of Mexico; his father was of Scottish lineage.[4][7][8] He earned a B.A. in English from Texas Western College (now University of Texas at El Paso), where he served as editor of the college newspaper.[6] Following graduation from college, Rechy enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was granted early release from the Army to enroll as a graduate student at Columbia University.[9] He applied for admission to a creative writing class taught by novelist Pearl S. Buck by submitting an unpublished draft of a novel he had written titled Pablo! [10] While his application to Buck's class was not accepted, Rechy was admitted into the writing classes of Hiram Haydn, a senior editor at Random House, at the New School for Social Research.[10] The Cooper Do-nuts Riot happened in 1959 in Los Angeles, when the lesbians, gay men, transgender people, and drag queens who hung out at Cooper Do-nuts and who were frequently harassed by the LAPD fought back after police arrested three people, including Rechy. Patrons began pelting the police with donuts and coffee cups. The LAPD called for back-up and arrested a number of rioters. Rechy and the other two original detainees were able to escape.[11] He later wrote about it in City of Night.

Rechy is considered one of Mexican American Literature's founding authors, based his early writings on Mexican values and cultural problems that were available to him in Mexican Films.[12] While Rechy was working on his first novel, installments began to appear in 1958 in literary magazines such as Evergreen Review, Big Table, Nugget, and The London Magazine. These excerpts were fictitious recreations of his life working as a hustler in New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans and appeared alongside writers like Christopher Isherwood, Jack Kerouac and Jean Genet.[13] The largely autobiographical novel City of Night, debuted in October 1963. Despite the predominantly negative reviews the book received at the time of its publication, City of Night became an international bestseller.[6][14][15] In addition to the dozen novels he has written to date, Rechy has contributed numerous essays and literary reviews to various publications including The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, The Village Voice, The New York Times, Evergreen Review and Saturday Review.[6][7] Many of these writings were anthologized in his 2004 publication Beneath the Skin. He has written three plays, Tigers Wild (first performed as The Fourth Angel and based on Rechy's novel of that title), Rushes (based on his novel of the same title), and Momma as She Became—Not as She Was, a one-act play.[6]

In 2008 John Rechy published a memoir, “About My Life and the Kept Woman.” “I consider writers a hierarchy of liars,” Rechy said, “and the autobiographer is the biggest liar of all.” At this time he lived in a Beachwood Canyon home he shared with Michael Snyder, a movie producer and his partner of more than 20 years, surrounded by luminous black-and-white portraits of Hollywood stars like Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe.

In 2021 Rechy was at work on a new novel entitled Beautiful People at the End of the Line, inspired by "comic books and celebrity culture."

Rechy is the first novelist to receive PEN-USA-West's Lifetime Achievement Award (1997); he is the recipient of the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from Publishing Triangle (1999)[9][17][18] and an NEA fellow. He is a faculty member at the Master of Professional Writing Program at the University of Southern California. He is the first recipient of ONE Magazine Culture Hero Award.[19] In 2016, he won the first annual Los Angeles Review of Books/UCR Creative Writing Lifetime Achievement Award.[20] At the 30th Lambda Literary Awards in 2018, he won the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction for After the Blue Hour.[21] In 2018, Rechy was also awarded with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement noting that he is "a major figure in Mexican, LGBTQ and Los Angeles literary communities." In 2020 The Texas Institute of Letters honored Rechy with its Lon Tinkle Lifetime Achievement Award. TIL President Carmen Tafolla called Rechy's work "a significant turning point in modern American literature, and a prose so poetically crafted it sharpens our perception of both the beauty and the ache of the human experience."

Writers a href="../klmno/Michael%20Cunningham.html">Michael Cunningham,[22] Kate Braverman, Sandra Tsing Loh, and Gina Nahai were students of Rechy's creative writing classes before becoming published authors.[15] English pop artist David Hockney's painting Building, Pershing Square, Los Angeles was inspired by a passage in City of Night.[23] The 1983 song "Numbers" by the English synth-pop duo Soft Cell was inspired by Rechy's 1967 novel of the same title.[24] A CD-ROM of Rechy's life and work was produced by the Annenberg Center of Communications and is titled Mysteries and Desire: Searching the Worlds of John Rechy.[25] In 2019 the Wittliff Collection at Texas State University acquired Rechy's complete archive stating, "This treasure trove of letters serves as a virtual diary of one of the most significant periods in Rechy's personal and literary life" Other artists who have acknowledged Rechy's influence include David Bowie,[26] Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. Tthe 1963 novel “City of Night,” a semiautobiographical window into the world of gay street hustling, has influenced Gus Van Sant, who has long wanted to make it into a movie. (“Maybe I should talk to John about that again,” Van Sant wrote in an e-mail, calling the book “an American masterpiece.”)

My published books:

See my published books