Frequent NLGJA convention speaker Michael Luongo has begun a six-week book tour of the Middle East promoting his book Gay Travels in the Middle East. Here’s his first report, from Huffintgton Post, on his visit to the Beirut Book Fair.

Soon others came to congratulate me for the Arabic version of the book. One was an Egyptian book seller who had heard of the controversy of the initial problems with some of the language of the translation. A dissident who had been arrested three times by Mubarek’s government, he asked me to come to speak in his bookstore in Cairo, where I plan to pass through in January. Others who came were fellow writers, others publishers who had long wanted to carry such a book and others ordinary people who had come to the book fair. One of these was a gay high school teacher, delighted to see such a book in Arabic. He told me some of his students, seeking advice on sexuality, would ask him for things to read and there was little he could recommend. Now he would have a resource.