"This memoir is brutally honest… Wonderful!" – Russell T. Davies Activist. Journalist. Survivor. One man’s journey from prejudice to Pride. Paul Burston wasn’t always the iconic voice of LGBTQ+ London that he is today. Paul came out in the mid-1980s, when ‘gay’ still felt like a dirty word, especially in the small Welsh town where he grew up. He moved to London hoping for a happier life, only to watch in horror as his new-found community was decimated by AIDS. But even in the depths of his grief, Paul vowed never to stop fighting back on behalf of his young friends whose lives were cut tragically short. It’s a promise he’s kept to this day. As an activist he stormed the House of Commons during the debate over the age of consent. As a journalist he spoke up for the rights of the community at a time of tabloid homophobia and legal inequality. As a novelist he founded the groundbreaking Polari Prize. But his lifestyle hid a dark secret, and Paul’s demons—shame, trauma, grief—stalked him on every corner. In an attempt to silence them, he began to self-medicate. From almost drowning at eighteen to a near-fatal overdose at thirty-eight, this is Paul’s story of what happened in the twenty years between, and how he carved out a life that his teenage self could scarcely have imagined. Emotional but often witty, We Can Be Heroes is an illuminating memoir of the eighties, nineties and noughties from a gay man who only just survived them.
“A compelling and hugely enjoyable memoir about a fearless life lived to the full.” —Bernardine Evaristo, author of the Booker Prize winning Girl, Woman, Other “This memoir is brutally honest…Wonderful!” —Russell T. Davies “We Can Be Heroes is a book that speaks to us all: a gripping, courageous, compassionate memoir which, like Paul’s hero David Bowie, takes us by the hand and reminds us that we’re not alone.” —Nicholas Pegg, author of The Complete David Bowie “Incredible.” —Erin Kelly, author of The Skeleton Key “Paul Burston has been there through years of gay history and struggle, often right on the very front line fighting... It’s a gorgeous memoir. I cannot recommend it highly enough.” —Juno Roche, writer and campaigner “A brutally honest, unflinching memoir and eye witness account of the most important time in gay British history, from someone who not only lived and survived it, but who helped to shape it. Indispensable.” —John Marrs, author of What Lies Between Us “Illuminating, engrossing and electrifying.” —Matt Cain, author of The Madonna of Bolton “I’m inspired, moved, reminded, held, enraged, and consumed with a strange joy. Just remarkable.” —Joelle Taylor, poet, playwright, and author “We stand on the shoulders of giants, those who fought for our rights today. One of those giants is Paul Burston…I loved We Can Be Heroes. What a treat.” —Jonathan Harvey, actor and playwright