Chris Corkum

Author, XOXO Hayden

Narwhal was proud to be the editor for Chris Corkum’s book XOXO Hayden, which was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in 2011. He has just completed his MFA in creative writing at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina and is at work on his second novel.

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It’s not easy growing up—as a gay suburban teenager in the 80’s. It’s even harder when the crush you have on a major British pop star becomes reality. Steven Carlisle and Hayden Whitfield come from two completely different worlds. Steven is a teenager growing up in Orange County, grappling with his sexuality and identity in high school. Hayden is a major English pop star, trying to find acceptance and validation through his music. From the moment they meet, when Steven wins backstage passes to one of Hayden’s concerts, an undeniable connection is created between the two: a connection that lasts eighteen years, evolving from letters into a wonderful, often tumultuous relationship. XOXO Hayden is the story of a suburban teenager’s journey from adolescence into adulthood, and the rise and fall of a mighty pop star and the indelible impression he leaves behind.


Reviews for XOXO Hayden

I had it set in my mind before I even opened the cover that I wasn’t going to like this book. All I could think about was here we go again, another coming-of-age story about some young boy trying to fit in, blah, blah, blah.  We’ve all been there and done that a dozen or more times.  Chris Corkum, however, changed my mind within a few pages of his novel.  I couldn’t put the book down, and now weeks later the characters are still vivid in my mind.

– William Holden, Out in Print

Both moving and engaging, the story is completely unexpected in the best possible way. On the surface it appears to be the tale of a young man who meets and falls in love with his pop idol. Under the surface, it is much more and provides a journey that is poignant and realistic. Never does the story take the easy road, and instead the author has written a tale that grips the reader from the very beginning and doesn’t let go.

-Rainbow Reviews

Steven and Hayden’s love is often tragic, moving, and passionate but totally engaging. If you’re looking for something meaningful and heartfelt, check this out.

-Three Dollar Bill Review

XOXO Hayden is a wonderfully written novel. … Even though this is a fictional story, I think that there will be young adults who will find themselves relating to XOXO Hayden and it will help them gain some insight into their own lives. This book is highly recommended.

Reader Views


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