Max Zachs of ‘My Transsexual Summer’ on new novel exploring society, gender identity and sexuality

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

‘The People’s Republic Of Nowhere’ is the first novel written and published by Maxwell Zachs, well known for his role on Channel Four’s ‘My Transsexual Summer’ his latest offering comes not on the screen but the page. Speaking to PinkNews, here’s what he has to say for himself.

What’s your book about?

Max: I guess I have always been a political person so its no surprise that left to my own devices for a year with little more than a pen, paper and truckloads of snow (I’ve been in Sweden!) I would write a novel that looks so critically at society and the way it functions. My narrative is set in ‘The People’s Republic’ which is an entirely fictional place- however I think my readers will recognise much of the familiar within its borders, albeit slightly changed.

My book is about a young person who lives in a world that he doesn’t quite understand, a world that certainly doesn’t understand him, in which he struggles to find a place for himself. I guess in many ways it’s a story about what it often feels like to be me, I realise that now its finished!

Is this a ‘gay’ novel?

Max: I have to think pretty hard about this question because my protagonist is pretty unsure about his gender and sexuality and ‘The People’s Republic’ is a society where the concept of sexuality is simply non-existent. However, the book does explore the acts and consequences of love that isn’t ‘straight’ so I guess in that sense it is a gay novel. There’s also a fair bit of man-on-man action so that might be a giveaway..!

What inspired you?

Max: Actually it was a charity called Iranian Queer Railroad that supports LGBTQ people, who have escaped the brutal regime in Iran, build news lives as asylum seekers around the world. I really felt a strong kinship with these people who had survived pretty harrowing experiences only to come out the other side stronger and more determined but also desperately in need of a helping hand. I also spent some time in Korea with imprisoned gay men and drew a lot of strength and inspiration from their fierce dedication to being themselves regardless of the price they had to pay.

Where can we get a copy?

‘The People’s Republic of Nowhere’ is available for download for all e-reading devices from the Smashwords website here:

Imagine a world where laughter is forbidden, where colours are banned and even the sunshine can kill you. Such is life in The People’s Republic, a country cut off from the rest of the world, imprisoned by its own walls and sustained by paranoia. 

Surrounded on all sides by a chemical wasteland it’s population exists only to serve production, drugged on the propaganda that they are the last people left on earth.

Set against this bleak landscape is Sixth Born Son, at odds not only with society but his own family he must find a way not just to live but also to love- the most dangerous crime of them all.