"Derek Frost writes with unsentimental honesty: a stark witness that has been largely absent from the literature. This book is both a history and an inspiration." — Matthew Parris, Political Writer and Broadcaster It's gratifying to see, in response to Russell T. Davies' series It's A Sin and the enormous media attention attached to it, that so many people are clamouring to know more about the truths surrounding the early years of the AIDS pandemic and the tragically large number of young people who died.
Renowned Designer Derek Frost and his husband Jeremy Norman ("J") created The Embassy Club and Heaven, Europe's largest and iconic gay dance club, where so many of these young people danced with such joy.
J was diagnosed HIV+ in 1991.
In his forthcoming memoir, Living and Loving in the Age of AIDS (13th April; 978-1-7867-8496-4; Watkins / Penguin Random House; $16.95), Derek writes about their 40-year love story, their lives pre-AIDS, J's six-year battle to survive AIDS at a time when so many of their young friends were dying, how they helped to save more than 1K+ HIV+ lives globally through their charity AIDS Ark, and about the rich journey that describes their intertwined lives.
Derek wrote this memoir with the conviction that young people would want to know their story--the overwhelming response to It's A Sin and the substantial interest we’ve already received for his book makes it entirely clear they do.
Please see links to relevant videos embedded in text above - also the ongoing visual trailer on instagram: @derekfrost86.
"This is a poignant and heart-touching memoir which gives the forty year global HIV pandemic a truly human face.” — Professor Linda-Gail Bekker, Past President International AIDS Society
”This memoir is incredibly vivid, moving, and compelling.” — Lord Chris Smith, Master, Pembroke College, Cambridge University
“This book takes us on a journey into the very heart of darkness, and then, as importantly, out of it and beyond.” — Del Kolve, Professor of English Literature UCLA
Synopsis: This is the tale of a devastating pandemic, of lives cut painfully short - it’s also a love story. Derek, a distinguished designer and J, his husband, a pioneering entrepreneur and creator of both The Embassy Club, London’s equivalent to NYC’s Studio 54, and the iconic Heaven, Europe’s largest gay dance club, met and fell in love more than 40 years ago.
In the early 1980’s their friends began to get sick and die – AIDS had arrived in their lives. When they got tested, J received what was then a death sentence: he was HIV Positive. While the onset of AIDS strengthened stigma and fear globally, they confronted their personal crisis with courage, humour and an indomitable resolve to survive. J’s battle lasted six long years.
Turning to spiritual reflection, yoga, nature – and always to love – Derek describes a transformation of the spirit, how compassion and empathy rose phoenix- like from the flames of sickness and death, and how he and J founded the charity Aids Ark, which helped to save, amongst the world’s most marginalised people, more than 1,000 HIV Positive lives. This is a story of joy and triumph; about facing universal challenges; about the great rewards that come from giving back. Derek speaks for a generation who lived through a global health crisis that many refused even to acknowledge.
His is a powerful story chronicling this extraordinary era. “With notable exceptions, surprisingly little of so personal a nature has been written about the Gay Plague, about HIV infection and AIDS. Almost exclusively these records have focused on dying rather than on surviving. As a gay man who experienced what I experienced and who did what I did, I felt it important, imperative even, to add to this thin record; to tell the story of two people who experienced the AIDS pandemic from so central a position; to share how this changed us in ways that led us, through Aids Ark, to help save HIV Positive lives across the world.” Publishers: Watkins Books, London Non UK distribution: Penguin Random House Available globally from 13 April 2021 through Amazon and all good book retailers - Pre-Ordering available now