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Armistead Maupin Biography

(1944– ), San Francisco Examiner, Tales of the City, More Tales of the City

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American journalist and novelist, born in Washington DC, educated at the University of North Carolina. From the mid-1970s Maupin has published short, witty accounts of the hedonistic lifestyles of some of San Francisco's citizens in the San Francisco Examiner. These pieces, with engaging recurrent characters, form a continuous chronicle that has been published in the form of successive novels. Tales of the City (1978) and More Tales of the City (1980) describe a world of joyful and frequent sexual encounters, against a background of California bath-houses, holidays in Mexico, and desert whore-houses. Although full of comic incident, the novels Further Tales of the City (1982) and Babycakes (1986) feature a less carefree attitude in Maupin's creations as he describes the careerism of the Reagan years, and shows how AIDS is beginning to take its tragic toll on the gay community. Significant Others (1988) revels in a modern-day war between the sexes, as a separatist Women's camp finds itself pitched beside a weekend retreat for wealthy Californian men. Sure of You (1990) is less anarchic and, in elegiac and compassionate mood, contrasts the brave new world of the late 1980s with the more pleasurable times of the decade before. Maybe the Moon (1993) focuses on Cadence (‘Cady’) Roth, a midget actress who starred as an elf, totally covered in rubber, in a successful film. The book evinces Maupin's anger at prejudices and stereotyping and was praised for its stylish wit and fluent plotting; it is dedicated to the late Tamara de Treaux, the diminutive actress who was inside the E. T. suit in Spielberg's film E.T.

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