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John Fox (d. August 14, 1990, aged thirty-eight) was an American novelist and short-story writer. His most famous, successful and influential novel, The Boys on the Rock, detailed the coming out and falling in love of a homosexual teenage swimmer by the name of Billy Connors.

Fox was born in the Pelham Bay area of the Bronx (where Connors's life is set) and graduated from both Cardinal Hayes High School and Lehman College.

He died of AIDS-related complications in his Manhattan home in 1990.

You always remember your first love, and for me, John Fox’s coming of age novel was it. First-person adolescent narrators get compared to Holden Caulfield all the time, but Fox’s Billy Connors is one of the few who actually lives up to the praise. Set during the summer of ’68 (the guy Billy falls in love with is campaigning for Bobby Kennedy), this book buzzes with energy of the era right before gay liberation, when change was in the air but not yet a guarantee. Halfway through the book Billy tells the reader, “Maybe I’ll rewrite all this and unscramble everything and take out all the lies.” A narrator admitting half of what he says had been a lie—that was a revelation, and when I read it at the age of 20, it felt like model for truthful living. Related reading: Fox died before he published another book—a loss for gay literature—but if you can track down the 1985 anthology First Love/Last Love: New Fiction from Christopher Street, you’ll find two of his short stories inside. --K.M. Soehnlein
"The Boys on the Rock is some of the brightest, funniest, most touching writing about adolescence I've read in a long time. And if ever a book will give straight readers an exact sense of what it's like to grow up gay, surely The Boys on the Rock will." --Edmund White, author of A Boy's Own Story

AIDS Quilt

John Fox, 1987, by Robert Giard (
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (

Further Readings :

The Boys on the Rock (Stonewall Inn Editions) by John Fox
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (January 15, 1994)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312104332
ISBN-13: 978-0312104337
Amazon: The Boys on the Rock (Stonewall Inn Editions)

Written with uncanny precision and wild humor, this is the story of Billy Connors, high school student in the Bronx, member of the swim team, and all-around regular guy, who in his sixteenth year has to face the fact that he's a little different from everyone else, a little "weird."

Though he's sort of going steady with a girl and popular at school, he's always worried that the secret fantasies he has about men would set him apart and make him "different" if anyone knew about them. How Billy faces up to himself-and his friends-as he discovers the complexities of life, the exuberance of sex, and what it means to be an adult in our imperfect world, makes for a touching, wise, and very moving novel.

"John Fox is a talented writer with a singular voice. The Boys on the Rock is a unique coming-of-age novel. It is filled with wit...and fleshed out with characters rarely encountered in contemporary fiction." --Richard Price, author of Clockers

More Particular Voices at my website:, My Ramblings/Particular Voices


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