On This Gay Day: WOW magazine came to an end

Back in 2008, local lesbian magazine Women Out West announced it was closing

On this day back in 2008 Perth based lesbian magazine WOW – Women Out West announced it was closing down.

Publisher and editor Ruth Wykes launched the magazine in 1999 at a time where there was limited lesbian specific media content available in Western Australia.

When the magazine announced it was closing Wykes spoke to OUTinPerth’s Scott-Patrick Mitchell about WOW achieved during it’s nine year run.

“I think it’s given lesbians a voice and a place within the larger community. Certainly I have heard from rural lesbians or coming out lesbians who have picked up WOW and no longer felt isolated.” Wykes said.

“I think it’s provided a forum for debate, a place where we can laugh at ourselves, and a place where we can find out information. And I think it has created an oral history of a time and a place in culture, and particularly for a marginalised community.”

Author Somerset Maugham was born on this day in 1874

English playwright, novelist and short story author Somerset Maugham was incredibly popular in the 1930’s and was reputedly the highest paid author of his day.

Maugham was born in Paris at the British Embassy where his father worked. His parents named him William, he would later use his middle name Somerset as his professional name.

When he was 8 years old his mother died of tuberculosis, and two years later his father passed away from cancer. While his brothers were all in boarding school, young William was sent to live with his uncle who he later remembered as being cruel and unkind.

When he was sixteen he studied at Heidelberg University in Germany and had an affair with scholar John Ellingham Brooks who was ten years his senior. When he returned to Britain he successfully studied to become a physician but he secretly harboured ambitions to be an author.

In 1897 he published his first novel, Liza of Lambeth. It was such a great success he was able to leave the medical profession and become a full-time author.

By 1914 was a famous author with 10 plays and 10 novels to his name, when war broke out he was too old to enlist, so spent his time volunteering in France with the Red Cross. During this time he met Frederick Gerald Haxton, a young man from San Francisco who became his companion for the next three decades.

After the war he released one of his most famous works Of Human Bondage, the work has never been out of print since it’s initial release.

Around this time the author also married Syrie Wellcome, who had previously been married to a wealthy pharmaceutical magnate. The couple marriage was not a happy union, and they soon separated with Maugham moving to French Rivera to live with Haxton.

After Haxton’s death in 1944 he was in a long term relationship with his secretary Alan Searle until Maugham died in 1965, aged 91. In his will Maugham order that the royalties from his writings go to Searle for the next thirty years, after that they were directed to the Royal Literary Fund.

In his youth Maugham had love affairs with both men and women but in his latter years was exclusively homosexual.

He once spoke about his sexuality to his nephew Robin saying; “I tried to persuade myself that I was three-quarters normal and that only a quarter of me was queer—whereas really it was the other way around.”

Over his career Maugham wrote over thirty plays, hundreds of short stories, twenty novels and many non-fiction books as well. Many of his works have been made into feature films.

OIP Staff


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