Derek McCormack

Derek McCormack is a writer who lives in Toronto. His previous books include The Show that Smells and The Well-Dressed Wound (Semiotext(e)).

  • Castle Faggot

    Castle Faggot

    Derek McCormack

    A dark satire about an amusement park more deranged than anything Disney could imagine: a playland for gay men called Faggotland.

    Castle Faggot is Derek McCormack's darkest and most delicious book yet, a satire of sugary cereals and Saturday morning cartoons set in an amusement park more deranged than anything Disney dreamed up. At the heart of the park is Faggotland, a playland for gay men, and Castle Faggot, the darkest dark ride in the world. Home to a cartoon Dracula called Count Choc-o-log, the castle is decorated with the corpses of gays—some were killed, some killed themselves, all ended up as décor.

    The book includes a map of Faggotland, a photobook of the castle, the instructions for a castle-shaped dollhouse, and the novelization of a TV puppet show about Count Choc-o-log and his friends—reminiscent of the classic stop-motion special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, but even gayer and more grotesque. As scatological as Sade but with a Hanna-Barbera vibe, Castle Faggot transmutes McCormack's love of the lurid and the childlike, of funhouses and sickhouses, into something furiously funny: as Edmund White says, “the mystery of objects, the lyricism of neglected lives, the menace and nostalgia of the past—these are all ingredients in this weird and beautiful parallel universe.”

    • Paperback $15.95
  • The Well-Dressed Wound

    The Well-Dressed Wound

    Derek McCormack

    A gleeful grotesquerie and savage satire, featuring Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln and the Devil, along with Civil War dead, deconstructed couture, and gay ghosts.

    The Well-Dressed Wound is Derek McCormack's play script “séance”: a fashion show by the dead for the living. In the depths of the Civil War, in a theater in P. T. Barnum's American Museum on Broadway, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln participate in a staged spiritualistic rite. But the medium conducting them has invited along another being: the Devil, disguised as twentieth-century French fashionista Martin Margiela (aka “King Faggot”). What follows is the most fiendish runway show ever mounted, complete with war dead, deconstructed couture, and gay ghosts infected with all manner of infectious agents, including oozy AIDS.

    While his previous fictions have explored the darker corners of country music, high fashion, and camp, The Well-Dressed Wound is McCormack's most radical work yet, occultishly evoking the evil-twin muses of transgressive literature, Kathy Acker and Pierre Guyotat. The creation thus conjured is a gleeful grotesquerie, a savage satire not so much of fashion as of death, a work that, as Bruce Hainley observes in Artforum, puts “the 'pus' back in opus.” Here death and life spin on a viral double helix of contamination and couture, blistering and bandages, history and hysteria, semen and seams. “Being dead is so very now,” Hainley opines. “This tiny tome (a time bomb, a tomb) is to die for and radically alive.”

    • Paperback $12.95