I just now found out (here) that lesbian author and playwright Sarah Dreher has passed on. She died on April 2nd, just a week after her 75th birthday. It is strange to find out so long after the fact, thinking that someone is still out there doing their thing, only to discover they’ve been gone for two months.
Ms. Dreher’s first novel, Stoner McTavish, was published in 1985 (the year I came out), and was among the first lesbian books I read. It’s an amateur sleuth novel, part of the first wave of the lesbian mystery genre, and a romance, much of which is set in the beauty of the mountains of Wyoming. Stoner has always had a special place in my heart as one of my favorite lesbian characters. She’s funny, dedicated, and charming.
Ms. Dreher published six Stoner McTavish novels in all. She also wrote Solitaire and Brahms, a stand-alone novel about lesbians in the 1950s. It’s a book I’ve enjoyed enough to re-read a couple times. Some of her plays were collected in Lesbian Stages, which I’ve also read.
I’ve always wished that Ms. Dreher was more prolific. I don’t know why she quit writing, or at least publishing, at the end of the 1990s. Some of it was likely due to the combination of getting older and still being busy in her professional life. She had a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and in addition to her private practice co-founded Sunrise-Amanecer, a non-profit organization focused on mental and physical health for underserved populations in her area. She was active with the organization until her death.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to read any of Ms. Dreher’s work, now is a good time to give one a try. She was one of the women who paved the way for current lesbian writers, and I am thankful for her contribution.