Pitchrate | A Drag Queen. A Mississippi Ghost. Author John W. Bateman Talks About Gender Fluidity and Race

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03/06/2020 04:17pm
A Drag Queen. A Mississippi Ghost. Author John W. Bateman Talks About Gender Fluidity and Race

A 2020 Nominee of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, John W. Bateman is sparking conversations across the country on gender fluidity, what it means to be queer, and race. His novel Who Killed Buster Sparkle? is more than a must-read....it's a “must-be” in the modern canon of literature. It has consistently placed in the Clarion-Ledger’s Top 10 Mississippi Reads ListBateman’s novel moves beyond the contemporary conversation on gender fluidity and into the liminal space that makes us human.

When a drag queen named Peaches meets Buster, a Mississippi ghost with partial amnesia, questions of past, present, and future surface. Buster attempts to reckon with who he was and is in the presence of Peaches, whose gender-fluid identity perplexes him. Although he doesn't want to associate with Peaches, Buster realizes that he must push aside his biases to avoid eternal loneliness.

Who Killed Buster Sparkle? threads together dialogue on race, gender, orientation, and economics, showing oppression exists in many forms. Bateman masters the comic and gothic through two characters who need each other more than they understand.

John W. Bateman lives in the Deep South, chasing words and finding stories. Influences include comedian and writer Bob Smith, photographer Duane Michals, his fairy godparents, and coffee. His work has appeared in OneNewEngland, The Huffington Post, Glitterwolf Magazine, Nately's, the SFWP Quarterly, and lots of notebooks stacked in a bookcase somewhere. He has won a few awards for screenwriting and received a 2018 Emerging Filmmaker grant from the Mississippi Film Alliance.


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