Edmund White’s writing focuses on gay themes because as a teenager he looked ‘desperately’ and failed to find ‘things to read that might excuse me or assure me I wasn’t the only one’.

White, who was born in Ohio in 1940, is a cultural critic and prolific author across many genres whose best-known work is perhaps the autofiction trilogy that started with A Boy’s Own Story (1982). Of his gay writing - the New York Times called him the ‘paterfamilias of queer literature’ - he has said: ‘I was really inventing a genre, and it was a way of administering a therapy to myself.’ White, the co-founder of a gay men’s health charity, was diagnosed as HIV positive in 1985 and his openness about his status has been a factor in de-stigmatising the disease.