A openly gay former soldier and a comic book author are among the special guests at a literature festival in Northampton today.
The second annual BooQfest which runs until 5pm, is a book festival at the Royal & Derngate that focuses on gay and lesbian authors and their books.
Among those attending are James Wharton, a soldier in the British Army, was talking about his book Out in the Army.
He said: “In the 1990’s soldiers werer being given dishonourable discharges for being gay.
“So homosexuality was decriminalised 45 years ago in this countryt but the exception until 2000 was the military.
“it was legislative homophobia and that’s just awful.”
Mr Wharton said the progress in his time in the army was “absolutely incredible” to the extent that he was able to give talks about being gay to secondary school pupils while in a British Army uniform.
Others appearing at the weekend-long festival included Matin Eden, whose graphic novel revcolves around gay superheroes and who visitors could watch at work.
BooQfest organiser Daniel Burrows said: “It is very much an inclusive event and the authors talk about things, emotions experiences, that we all have in common and that anyone can relate to.”
The festival continues tomorrow from 11am.