Guillaume Dustan

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Guillaume Dustan

Guillaume Dustan (November 28, 1965, Paris – October 3, 2005)[1] was an openly gay French writer.[2] Dustan's 1998 novel, In My Room, brought the author instant notoriety for his masterful use of autofiction and depiction of gay glamour and romance in mid-1990s Paris.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Dustan was born William Baranès in France in 1965. He graduated from the École nationale d'administration and worked as an administrative judge before turning to writing.[4] He used the pen name Guillaume Dustan from 1995 onwards.


Dustan's first novel, Dans ma chambre (In My Room), brought him immense fame in France for his ambitious portrayal of gay life in a Paris celebrated for its sensual pleasures and haunted by the AIDS crisis.[5] He also edited Le Rayon Gay, a collection of books, for Balland.[5]

He was also a short film producer and he films he has produced include Nous and Back.[5]

In 2004, Dustan played a role in the film Process written & directed by C. S. Leigh. He was the employee who checks Béatrice Dalle into the hotel where she later takes her own life. The film also stars Guillaume Depardieu.

Dustan's writing has been compared to Renaud Camus, Marguerite Duras, Hervé Guibert, Celine's Journey to the End of the Night, Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, and Bret Easton Ellis.[5] Critic Bruce Hainley writes that Dustan celebrated Duras for her liberating sense of abjection and "alcoholizations of the first person," including her “bad French, her badly written books of the ’eighties and ’nineties.”[6]

Dustan's first three novels, In My Room, I'm Going Out Tonight, and Stronger Than Me, published in France between 1996 and 1998, were re-released in English by Semiotext(e) in 2021. Edited by Thomas Clerc and translated by Daniel Maroun, the novels follow the narrator's sexual journeys Paris[7]

He is a contemporary to gay writers like Herve Guibert, Dennis Cooper, Kevin Killian, and Gary Indiana.[7] Dustan was a proponent of barebacking and at loggerheads with ACT UP.[8]

Grave of Guillaume Dustan


Dustan died of an accidental drug overdose on October 3, 2005.[9] He is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery (division 29).[10]



  • Oeuvres 1, 2013
    Includes Dans ma chambre, Je sors ce soir and Plus fort que moi (all three commented by Thomas Clerc)
    English: The Works of Guillaume Dustan, Volume 1, tr. Daniel Maroun, forthcoming May 2021[11]

Further reading[edit]

  • Lagabriell, Renaud, '»Je vis dans un monde où plein de choses que je pensais impossibles sont possibles«: »Queere Bedeutungen« in Dans ma chambre von Guillaume Dustan,' in Anna Babka und Susanne Hochreiter (Hg.), Queer Reading in den Philologien: Modelle und Anwendungen (Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009), 221–236.
  • Raffaël Enault, Dustan Superstar. Biographie, Paris, Robert Laffont, 2018.


  1. ^ "Guillaume Dustan (1965-2005)". BnF Data.
  2. ^ Dustan, Guillaume (1998), Plus fort que moi: roman, P.O.L., ISBN 2-86744-634-1
  3. ^ "Travis Jeppesen on "In My Room"". Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  4. ^ 'La disparition de Guillaume Dustan', 10 October 2005, Têtu Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c d Owen Heathcote, 'DUSTAN, GUILLAUME', in Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature, ed. Gaetan Brulotte and John Phillips, New York: Routledge, 2006, pp. 386-287
  6. ^ "Bruce Hainley on the art of Marie Laurencin". Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  7. ^ a b Press, The MIT (29 June 2021). The Works of Guillaume Dustan, Volume 1 | The MIT Press. ISBN 9781635901429. Retrieved 2021-04-16.
  8. ^ Michael J. Bosia, '"In Our Beds and Our Graves": Revealing the Politics of Pleasure and Pain in the Time of AIDS', in Engaged Observer: Anthropology, Advocacy, And Activism, ed. Victoria Sanford and Asale Angel-ajani, Rutgers, 2006, page 121
  9. ^ Pila, Renaud (October 11, 2005), "Mort de l'écrivain gay Guillaume Dustan, adepte du sexe à risques", La Chaîne Info (in French), retrieved 2008-09-24
  10. ^ "DUSTAN Guillaume (William Baranès : 1965-2005) - Cimetières de France et d'ailleurs". (in French). Retrieved 2018-09-29.
  11. ^ Dustan, Guillaume (29 June 2021). The Works of Guillaume Dustan, Volume 1 | The MIT Press. ISBN 9781635901429. Retrieved 26 December 2020.

External links[edit]