“I’m a writer who happens to be gay. I’ve never understood the whole ‘gay writer’ tag,” Collin said when “Remain In Light” was first released. “Is a ‘gay writer’ someone who strictly writes about LGTBQ characters and situations? If I write about straight people am I suddenly not a ‘gay writer?

“It’s a semantics thing, but I also think it’s lazy shorthand that got foisted on LGBTQ writers by the publishing world and the media,” he added.

The book launch of “Remain In Light” is Jan. 31 at the Decatur Library.

The Townsend Prize is awarded every two years “to an outstanding novel or short-story collection … [and] consists of a $2,000 award and a silver tray.”

Drago, who also pens literary stuff and happens to be gay, placed first in the 11th annual CL Fiction Contest with his story, “What Have I Done to You That You Beat Me These Three Times?” and stomping out the “Math” theme with a donkey.

Judge Lucas Church said of Drago’s story, “The story is vivid and surprising, with unexpected turns, and operates on a cruel, but funny, inner logic, like Flannery O’Connor meets Dr. Doolittle.”

Drago is also a performer, actor and playwright. We talked to him last May when he staged his production of “Buckhead is Burning” — a “soap opera style dinner theater experiment.”

And in April 2010, he wrote the play, “Attack of the 6-Foot Vagina!” as part of a queer burlesque showcase. Check out photos from that event, including photos of the actual 6-foot tall vagina, here.

UPDATE: Also nominated for a Townsend Prize is out lesbian Amanda Kyle Williams for her thriller “The Stranger You Seek.” This novel centers around a former FBI profiler trying to hunt down a serial killer loose on the streets of Atlanta while also battling her own demons.

Photo: Collin Kelley, finalist for the prestigious Townsend Prize for Fiction. (by Colin Potts)

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