Cary Alan Johnson DESIRE LINES Book Launch with host Sabrina Vourvoulias as

Event Details

Event Date

Event Date: Monday, September 12, 2022

Event Time

Event Time: 6:00 PM

Event Description

Co-Sponsored by Philadelphia Colours Organization and Philly Black Pride!

Join author Cary Alan Johnson and special guest Sabrina Vouroulias in celebrating the release of Johnson’s Desire Lines. 



In Desire Lines, a Black teenager growing up gay in Brooklyn is captivated by a vision of life on the other side of the river, where the sparkle and glitter of
Manhattan beckon. Coming into adulthood, he finds himself living in a five-floor walk-up in Hell’s Kitchen just as the AIDS epidemic is hitting the city.

We follow him and his group of friends as they experience the first wave of illness and death, and then accompany him on a two-year journey to Zaire, Central Africa, where he must confront corruption and homophobia in new and unexpected ways. Back in New York, he and his best friend—a biracial straight woman—try to find their place in a rapidly changing and increasingly perilous
city that threatens to destroy first their friendship, and then the narrator himself.

At once graphic, intimate, and harrowing, Desire Lines is a roller coaster journey through gay New York in the 1980s—the sex, the drugs, and the trauma of AIDS—a moment marked equally by dramatic devastation and the fierce
determination to survive.



“… unflinchingly charts the journey of a gay Black man at a crucial
moment when the allure of drugs and sex created dangerous possibilities.”
—John Rechy, author of City of Night



Cary Alan Johnson is an author, activist, and Africanist raised in Brooklyn.  He has a Bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.  A long-time innovator in national and international queer politics and cultural activism, he was involved in several ground-breaking organizations, including the Blackheart Collective, Gay Men of African Descent, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Cary was a founder of Other Countries, the Black gay arts collective that published 3 volumes of poetry, prose, and visual art by Black gay men in the 80s and 90s.  His short stories, poetry and essays have appeared in several anthologies and literary journals including Agni, RFD, Joseph Beam’s Brother to Brother and E. Lynn Harris’ Freedom in this Village.  A public health and HIV specialist with experience living and working in Guinea, Haiti, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe, Cary is currently the director for Population Services International in Burundi.

Sabrina Vourvoulias is an award-winning Latina news editor, writer and digital storyteller whose work has appeared at The Guardian US, PRI’s The World, NBC Philadelphia and Philadelphia Magazine. She is the senior editor of the Communities and Engagement desk at the Philadelphia Inquirer. An American citizen from birth, she grew up in Guatemala during the armed internal conflict and moved to the United States when she was fifteen. In addition to journalism, Vourvoulias writes speculative fiction and is the author of Ink, a near-future, immigration-centered dystopia which was named to Latinidad’s Best Books of 2012, and reissued by Rosarium Publishing in 2018. In 2020, she wrote the Smithsonian Latino Center’s middle-school nonfiction anthology, Nuestra América: 30 Inspiring Latinas/Latinos Who Have Shaped the United States, published by Running Press Kids. A picture book biography of TV astrologer and Latinx icon, Walter Mercado, is upcoming from her — also from Running Press Kids.