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James Baldwin
Literary Idol: Jose Antonio Vargas on James Baldwin
Literary Idol: Jose Antonio Vargas on James Baldwin

Literature is a lonely art, but writers keep company with the heroes on their bookshelves. We asked five Festival of Books participants to pay tribute to authors who inspired them.  At age 16, I found out I was what the mainstream media called an "illegal," an immigrant from the Philippines without proper papers and no authorization to be in the United States — an outlaw; worse, an alien. Around the same time, I realized I was what some of my classmates called a "faggot" — a deviant, some kind of freak. I am not certain how I would have resolved being an "illegal faggot" in America — feeling worthless and disoriented, unwelcome...

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