REID, Raziel




Author Tags: Kidlit & Young Adult

At age 24, Raziel Reid won the Governor-General's Award in children's literature for his debut YA novel When Everything Feels Like the Movies (Arsenal Pulp $15.95) about a teen tragedy that was inspired by a real-life death in a California high school.

In 2008, a 15-year-old gay student named Larry King asked 14-year-old Brandon McInerney to be his Valentine in front of a bunch of jocks. A few days later, McInerney brought a .22 rifle to school and shot King twice in the head.

Raziel Reid extrapolated from this news story to fashion a edgy and non-sugarcoated novel, full of gender-bending teen glamour, mischief and melodrama. High school in his novel When Everything Feels Like the Movies is likened to a film set with the “Crew” making things happen, the “Extras” filling empty spaces and the “Movie Stars” everyone wants to be with.

The openly gay protagonist Jude Rothesay doesn’t fit into any of the groups. He doesn't get invited to the cool parties and people are not hoping to have him appear on their Facebook pages. But as a self-professed "flamer," he’s not about to be sidelined from the action. In fact, he's willing to set the whole show on fire: He's determined to get Luke Morris to say yes to the Valentine’s Day dance.

Reid was shy in school and says Jude is not a self-portrait. He recalls learning about the California tragedy as a high school senior at home watching a tearful Ellen DeGeneres plead for tolerance in its aftermath.

“Every young gay guy I know wants to be famous," Reid told Pat Johnson of Xtra in an interview, "or thinks they are famous. It’s this weird thing; it’s like a cultural disease, almost, that we all have. Social media amplifies it, but I feel like it’s rooted in insecurity. A lot of gay people were not very popular in high school, and picked on, and so they dream of sort of showing everyone that they are special. That was certainly Jude’s goal--just prove all of his haters wrong.”

When Everything Feels like the Movies was also selected as a finalist for CBC Radio’s Canada Reads 2015 competition themed as “Books That Break Barriers.” [Other nominees: And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier; The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King; Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee; and Ru by Kim Thúy] His book's representative for the panel debates held March 16-19, 2015, was Elaine "Lainey" Lui, co-host of CTV’s The Social. For the same book, Reid was shortlisted for a Lamda Literary Award and the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction by the Publishing Triangle.

A self-described “anti-social columnist, anti-fur fag” and creator of the pop culture blog Blitz & Shitz on DailyXtra.com, Raziel Reid grew up in Winnipeg and relocated to Vancouver. As a graduate of the New York Film Academy, Raziel Reid had performed off-Broadway, worked as a go-go dancer, and written and acted in the short film, End Point.

BOOKS:

When Everything Feels Like the Movies
(Arsenal Pulp Press 2014) $15.95 978-1-55152-574-7

[BCBW 2014]

When Everything Feels Like the Movies (Arsenal Pulp $15.95
Article (2015)



Once upon a more homophobic time, Raziel Reid’s debut novel about a gay teenage murder would never have been published.

These days, at age 24, the Xtra West columnist has won a Governor-General’s Award in the children’s literature category and he’s been informed When Everything Feels Like the Movies (Arsenal Pulp $15.95) has been selected as one of five nominated titles for CBC Radio’s Canada Reads 2015 competition.

When Everything Feels Like the Movies was inspired by a real-life killing in a California high school. In 2008, a 15-year-old gay student named Larry King asked 14-year-old Brandon McInerney to be his Valentine in front of a bunch of jocks. A few days later, McInerney brought a .22 rifle to school and shot King twice in the head.

Reid can still recall learning about the California tragedy as a high school senior at home, watching a tearful Ellen DeGeneres plead for tolerance in its aftermath. Reid has extrapolated from this news story to fashion an edgy and non-sugarcoated novel, full of gender-bending teen glamour, mischief and melodrama.

When Everything Feels Like the Movies is original because Reid has likened high school to a film set. The “Movie Stars” are the ones everyone wants to be with; the “Crew” consists of people making things happen; the “Extras” fill empty spaces.

The openly gay protagonist Jude Rothesay doesn’t fit into any of the groups. Creative and rude, Jude “smells like Chanel Mademoiselle and reads Old Hollywood star biographies like gospel; he doesn’t have the easiest path to travel in life, but somehow he paves his own yellow brick road and wishes we could join him over the rainbow.”

Jude doesn’t get invited to the cool parties and people are not hoping to have him appear on their Facebook pages. But as a self-professed “flamer,” he’s not about to be sidelined from the action. In fact, Jude is determined to get Luke Morris to say yes to the Valentine’s Day dance. It’s better to flame out than fade away.

“Every young gay guy I know wants to be famous,” Reid told Pat Johnson of Xtra West in an interview, “or thinks they are famous. It’s this weird thing; it’s like a cultural disease, almost, that we all have. Social media amplifies it, but I feel like it’s rooted in insecurity.
“A lot of gay people were not very popular in high school, and picked on, and so they dream of sort of showing everyone that they are special. That was certainly Jude’s goal—just prove all of his haters wrong.”

Having graduated from the New York Film Academy, Reid has performed off-Broadway, worked as a go-go dancer, and written and acted in the short film called End Point, but he claims he was shy in high school and Jude is not a self-portrait.

A self-described “anti-social columnist, anti-fur fag” and creator of the pop culture blog Blitz & Shitz on DailyXtra.com, Raziel Reid grew up in Winnipeg and has relocated to Vancouver.
His winning novel is anything but childish, but he smartly opted to have his story submitted as a Young Adult novel in the 2014 Governor General’s competition—where it obviously stood out.

Other finalists for CBC Radio’s Canada Reads 2015 competition—themed as “Books That Break Barriers.”—are And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier (translated by Rhonda Mullins); The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King; Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes by Kamal Al-Solaylee; and Ru by Kim Thúy (translated by Sheila Fischman). Reid’s book’s representative for the panel debates is Elaine “Lainey” Lui, co-host of CTV’s The Social.

978-1-55152-574-7