English-Canadian writer, editor, publisher and activist Ian Young was born in London (“within sound of Bow Bells”) on January 5, 1945, during an air raid. He came, he says, “from a distinguished working class family of compositors, calligraphers, accountants, engineers, law clerks, amateur performers, fishmongers, fortune tellers and school dinner ladies.” His father served as an officer in the Royal Air Force.
The Young family emigrated from Britain (“not once but three times”) and Ian, an only child, grew familiar with South Africa, Canada and England before settling with his parents in Toronto in 1957.
In the 1960's, dividing his time between the University of Toronto and Yorkville (Toronto’s short-lived bohemia), Young became involved with the Peace and Civil Rights movements, and published his first poetry chapbook, a cycle of love poems. In 1969 he was involved in the early organizing of the University of Toronto Homophile Association (UTHA), the first post-Stonewall gay organization in Canada and the first formed at a Canadian university.
A frequent contributor to the emerging gay press in North America, Britain and Europe, he spent much of the decade living in New York City and London (where the rest of his large family still live). In 1970 he founded Catalyst, the first gay literary publishing house; over the next decade it issued over thirty titles by Canadian, British and American writers. He edited the pioneering gay literary anthologies The Male Muse (1973), On the Line (1981) and Son of the Male Muse (1983), and compiled the standard reference work The Male Homosexual in Literature: A Bibliography (2nd edition, 1982). His book review columns “The Ivory Tunnel” and “Stacks” appeared in The Body Politic from 1975-1985 and in Torso from 1991-2000 and from 2005-2008.
Returning to Toronto in 1981, Young took part in the founding of the Hermetic Order of the Silver Sword. His deepening interest in ceremonial magic is reflected in his 1986 collection of poems Sex Magick.
In the 1990's, while living part-time in Banff, Young made a study of alternative and dissident theories of AIDS, compiling a bibliography on the subject and collaborating with John Lauritsen on the anthology The AIDS Cult (1997). He was a co-founder of Health Education AIDS Liaison (HEAL) Toronto, a non-profit, community-based education network.. A talk, “AIDS and the Fate of Gay Liberation,” delivered at the Libertarian Book Club in New York City, grew into The Stonewall Experiment: A Gay Psychohistory (1995), a discourse on the psychic life of gay men from the age of Whitman to the AIDS crisis.
Young’s writing has appeared in some fifty anthologies and has been translated into several languages. Some of his linked short stories set in London in the early 1980's, have recently been published in British and U.S. anthologies. He continues to publish other writers through his A-Z Chapbooks, Cythoera Press and Sykes Press imprints. He is an occasional contributor to The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide and is “working on a third edition of The Male Homosexual in Literature and recollections of radical bishop Mikhail Itkin and Canadian writers Robin Hardy and Norman Elder.” An “avid philatelist,” he is a frequent contributor to stamp journals. His latest book is Out in Paperback: A Visual History of Gay Pulps (2007). He lives in Toronto with his partner Wulf..
Adapted from “Ian Young” by Don McLeod in Who’s Who in Contemporary Gay & Lesbian History from World War II to the Present Day by Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon: London, Routledge, 2001.)
Books, Chapbooks and Recordings by Ian Young:
White Garland: 9 Poems for Richard (1969); Year of the Quiet Sun (1969); Double Exposure (1970, 1974); Cool Fire: 10 Poems (with Richard Phelan, 1970); Lions in the Stream (with Richard Phelan, 1971); Some Green Moths (1972); Invisible Words (1974); Common-or-Garden Gods (1976); Schwule Poesie (with Joachim Hohmann, 1978); Sex Magick 1986), “The Changeling Lover” (in) Bend Sinister: The Gay Times Book of Disturbing Stories (2002).
Gay Resistance: Homosexuals in the Anti-Nazi Underground (1985); AIDS & the Fate of Gay Liberation (1989); The Stonewall Experiment: A Gay Psychohistory (1995); Bob “Flash” Storm: Gay Anarchist Publisher & Broadcaster (1998); The Beginnings of Gay Liberation in Canada (2004); Out in Paperback: A Visual History of Gay Pulps (2007).
The Male Homosexual in Literature: A Bibliography (1975, 1982); The AIDS Dissidents: An Annotated Bibliography (1993); The AIDS Dissidents: A Supplement to the Annotated Bibliography (2001); Autobibliography 1962-2000 (2001).
The Male Muse: A Gay Anthology (1973), On the Line: New Gay Fiction (1981); Overlooked & Underrated: Essays on Some Twentieth century Writers (1981); Son of the Male Muse: New Gay Poetry (1983); The AIDS Cult: Essays on the Gay Health Crisis (with John Lauritsen, 1997).
Curieux d’Amour by Count Jacques d’Adelsward Fersen (1970).
Introductions and Editorial Contributions:
Pagan Love Songs by Gavin Dillard (1987); Middle Ground by Ursula Zilinsky (1987); Nuclear Family: One Woman’s Confrontation with Atomic Power by Joanne Young (1991); Orpheus in His Underwear by William Bory (1993); Yes Is Such a Long Word: Selected Poems by Richard George-Murray (1995); To the Uranian Muse: A Cycle of Sonnets by Vincent Holmes (2000); On Mallard Feet by Joseph Lipson (2004); Delicious: A Memoir of Glenway Wescott by Daniel Diamond (2008).
The Green Eye of the Yellow God and Other Pieces from the Parlour (2007)
“Just Another Night in Finsbury Park” (in) Boys of the Night (1996) & The Mammoth Book of Gay Short Stories” (1997); “A Boy’s Book of Wonders” (in) Serendipity: The Gay Times Book of New Stories (2004); “Soakers & Scavengers” (in) The Lambda Philatelic Journal (Vol. 26, No. 2, 2007); “The Buggery Club” (in) A Casualty of War (2008).
Denis Lemon: “That’s What Corruption Does for You.” Gay News (London), No. 71, 1975 Rosco, Jerry. “An Interview with Ian Young.” Heat (NYC), , December, 1989. Andy Quan, “Years of the Quiet Son: The Continuing Legacy of Ian Young.” ARC: Canada’s National Poetry Magazine, No. 32, Spring, 1994. Ian Young, Autobibliography 1962-2000. Toronto, TMW Communications, 2001. Ian Young, “Memoirs of a Catalyst.” Magazine Six: The Key West Issue (Key West, FL). 2006.
Ian Young Books Web Site:
Ian Young Books Catalogues
Ian Young Books Catalogue Homophile Studies.pdf (as pdf)
Ian Young Books Catalogue Gay Literature, History & Art (as pdf)
Ian Young Books Catalogue Lesbiana (as pdf)