Buffalo-based NFB Publishing and authors Linda and Christopher Drajem recently received national recognition for Wandering Close to Home: A Gay Son and His Feminist Mother’s Journey to Transform Themselves and Their Family. Released by NFB Publishing in December 2019, the book was recognized as a Distinguished Favorite in the of LGBTQ Non Fiction category by the Independent Press Award. The Reader Views Literary Awards also recognized Wandering Close to Home with a Bronze Award in the Adult Non Fiction Classics category.
Founded by Buffalonian Mark Pogodzinski, NFB Publishing has helped dozens of authors self-publish and sell their works through bookstore and online book sites. NFB is constantly on the lookout for passionate writers and artists interested in producing high-quality publications through an easy, streamlined process.
Wandering Close to Home is a collaborative memoir that charts the path Christopher and Linda each traveled as they realized that the life they were born into did not quite fit. When Christopher came out to his parents in the mid-1990s, they did not disown him or force him into conversion therapy. And when Linda had her feminist click around the same time, she did not leave her husband or her religion. Their worlds did not change completely, and yet they were turned upside down. The stories in their book trace the tentative steps taken by both mother and son to move away from societal, religious and family expectations, and examines how the relationship between mother and son allowed each to persevere through difficult personal change.
Linda Drajem, a retired teacher, taught high school English for over 25 years. After a late-life Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo, she taught for nine years in the English Education Department at Buffalo State College. As a member of a long-standing writing group, Women of the Crooked Circle, she continues to write. She has been published in The Buffalo News and literary journals. In addition, she has published a collection of poetry, Arrows of Time, and another, InnerSessions, with poets Barbara Faust and Kathy Shoemaker. A teacher at heart, she is a docent at the Burchfield Penney Art Center and a presenter on literary topics at local senior centers. She and her husband Bob live in Buffalo.
Christopher Drajem is an educator and LGBTQ+ advocate. He has taught high school English, mostly in the Pacific Northwest, since 2000. Christopher has remained involved with the adoption agency that facilitated his children’s adoptions. In 2008, he teamed up with another adoptive parent to provide quarterly training for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples who are in the process of adopting. He has presented numerous workshops on LGBTQ+ inclusive curriculum in schools and is a proud member of PFLAG. Christopher currently lives in Philadelphia with his husband Patrick and their two children.
The Independent Press Award competition is judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. Selected IPA Award Winners and Distinguished Favorites are based on overall excellence. In 2022, the Independent Press Award received entries worldwide.
The Reader Views Literary Awards program helps level the playing field for self-published authors, allowing readers to recognize the most creative and exciting new books in the industry. The awards program is recognized industry-wide as one of the most respected literary awards programs for independent authors. The annual literary awards were established to honor writers who self-published or had their books published by a subsidy publisher, small press, university press or independent publisher.