Documentary – One For The Books: The Maupin Marathon

One For The Books: The Maupin Marathon

Thirty-three years ago a valiant troupe of British LGBT folk did a marathon public reading of the first 4 Tales novels at a queer pub in London called the Fallen Angel. The role of Connie Bradshaw was played by a feisty young woman who went on to become one of Britain’s most formidable activists. 

Armistead Maupin, 2018

Written, filmed, edited, narrated, directed and produced by Rose Collis

In 1984, HM Customs raided the legendary Gay’s the Word bookshop & seized 2,000+ books. They included ‘Tales of the City’, Armistead Maupin’s trailblazing novels. The shop’s directors and managers were charged with importing ‘indecent or obscene material’ and faced up to two years in prison. £50,000 was needed to cover the legal costs to fight this absurd charges, which were rightly viewed as an attack on the whole gay community.

In April 1985, Peter Scott-Presland’s Consenting Adults In Public theatre group staged the ‘Maupin Marathon’ fundraiser: a 28-hour non-stop rehearsed reading of the first four ‘TOTC’ books, featuring many notable  performers and activists, including Gay’s The Word co-manager, Linda Semple, Fi Craig and…Rose Collis.

After being turned down for funding by the BFI and Arts Council England (twice), fifty generous people contributed to a crowd-funder which raised almost £6,000 so this film could be made.

Completed in late May, the film has already been an ‘Official Selection’ in ten global film festivals, a Semi-Finalist in three others and won seven awards, including the BRIFF ‘Best Documentary 2023’ and ‘Best UK Documentary’ in the London International Filmmakers’ Festival Winter 2023:



Hastings Rocks International Film Festival 2024 

Public screening of One For The Books: The Maupin Marathon on Saturday April 13, 4pm, followed by director Q&A.

HYPHA STUDIO, Priory Meadow, Hastings TN34 1PH

Free, cash donations on the door.


Brighton Rocks International Film Festival hosted the first ever public screening of One For The Books: The Maupin Marathon on October 4 2023, followed by an exclusive director Q&A.

The film received its London premiere as part of a special event at the Cinema Museum on Thursday 19 October, featuring a Q&A with Rose Collis and Peter Scott-Presland, who presented her with two awards on behalf of the Sweden-based International Lesbian and Gay Cultural Network (ILGCN)Clio’s Silver Cup 2023, ‘for outstanding achievements in documenting and spreading information about lesbian and gay history’, and The 2023 Wings Award‘for outstanding contributions to committed LGBT film-making’.

Photo: Bryanne McIntosh-Melville


‘Fabulous time last night watching the London premiere of One for the Books. It’s a new film by Rose Collis about the reading of all the Tales of the City books over one weekend, as part of the Defend Gay’s the Word campaign.’

‘Engaging – and, in parts, enraging – it’s a wonderful mix of Rose’s extensive print archive and interviews with people who took part. Really worth a look if/when other screenings are planned/it’s uploaded to YouTube.’

‘It was a fantastic evening and a fascinating film. Inspiring is so much more engaging than expiring – so do please continue with your storytelling.’

‘We adored the documentary, it was brilliant 👏, sharp, to the point and no constantly repeating information. The Q&A was very good, very interactive, and the audience really got into it.’

‘I was intrigued and amused by the amazing breadth of subject, and the wonderful amount of detail that you crammed into a seemingly short hour! It is a beautifully nuanced and personal gift to us all: your highlighting of remembrances, your clarity of intention, and your deep knowledge and celebration of ‘being there’. Well done, indeed.’

‘I went to see ‘One for the Books: the Maupin Marathon’ by Rose Collis last night.  A really important story of gay fight back, with flair.’

‘It’s great to hear from those who were there instead of retro versions of our history.’

‘It’s a wonderful film, memorialising so much more than just that event, The Fallen Angel, Capital Gay, Consenting Adults, etc. A whole epoch of lesbian and gay institutions embedded in the community they served.’

‘I loved the film! It was by turns very funny and very moving, and told a really important story. I am old enough to remember it but I had pretty much forgotten about it. So it will be a revelation to today’s LGTB activists who have never heard of the case and know nothing about how the community came together in all those creative endeavours and raised all that money.’