On World AIDS Day, Telling Tales (Picador, $14)—a collection of short stories by 21 of the world’s greatest writers—hit U.S. bookstores. All sales of the book, which will be translated into 11 languages, go to South Africa’s Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). Project mastermind Nadine Gordimer, the South African Nobel laureate, told POZ the tale behind Telling Tales.
None of the stories is about AIDS. Was that intentional?
Absolutely. The world is filled with writing about AIDS. What’s glaringly missing is a response by the literary establishment—especially in raising money. I thought readers would more likely buy a book that was not story after story about struggling with HIV—but a brilliant display of story-telling by 21 of the world’s great writers who would otherwise not be in one collection.
Why did you choose to give all the proceeds to TAC?
The work TAC does is so vital. They fill in the gaps of government programs, helping people learn not only how to live with HIV but also how to organize, access treatment and change policy. And, of course, they are themselves people living with HIV.