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'Gatsby' Author Jeremy Holt on Queer Literature & Nonbinary Visibility

Jeremy Holt
Jeremy Holt

Jeremy Holt tells Advocate Now how they are reimagining one of the most iconic stories in American culture to better reflect America today.

Jeremy Holt is reimagining one of the most iconic stories in American culture to better reflect America today.

Holt's Gatsby is a modern rendition of the iconic F Scott Fitzgerald novel, The Great Gatsby, with a queer and racially diverse spin. Holt says that they have a deep appreciation of the source material, despite not discovering it until later in life. They share they were "pleasantly surprised with how relevant it felt even though it's almost 100 years old."

'Gatsby' Writer Jeremy Holt on Queer Literature

"Because I did the characters and I made them, in my opinion, more relatable as teenagers, a lot of those relationships and some of the plot had to change out of necessity," they tell Sonia Baghdady of Advocate Now. "But I wanted to make sure I hit those major milestones."

Representation is important to Holt, especially as a Korean adoptee raised by White parents. While it took some time to flesh out their identity, they believe their writing changed for the better.

"For most of my life and most of my writing career, I did view myself as white and that sort of came to a head in 2017, which was coincidentally when I read Gatsby, and it was at that time in my career that I started to stop writing white male protagonists," they explain, adding, "Even though Gatsby is a very white narrative, I felt that to explore what the American dream is for people today enabled me to diversify the cast."

Holt also says that their "journey with the gender identity was very late in life," as they came out as nonbinary in 2019. It is another aspect of their identity that has deeply impacted their work, which they hope to shine a light on in Gatsby.

"Queerness was something that I gravitated towards as a teenager and a young adult, and it sort of kind of goes hand in hand with what I'm trying to write," Holt says, continuing, "You can't help but write from your perspective and it's what makes your stories authentic."

For more interviews like this, watch Advocate Now on The Advocate Channel.

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