Publishing a Howard Biography?

edited August 2012 in Thoughts and Comments
Hi everyone, my name is Jaya Lakshmi, and I'm a big fan of Howard Ashman's music. The Little Mermaid was one of my favorite movies. One of my dreams is to write a biography on Howard, since he was and remains a role model to gay and bi artists, as well as a musical genius. Despite being enamored with his music and his commitment to good animation, there's not that much information on Howard to inspire Generation Y. I only found out about him in Disney War, and only in little paragraphs about how he fought for Part of Your World. I'd want to write more as a full-length book, creating a portrait of a musician whose songs earned their Academy nominations. He deserves that portrait for giving us colorful, fun and honest stories while fighting for his life and his movies.
Such a biography would be relevant given the growing acceptance of gaydom and lesbianism and the fight against homophobia, and I'd learn more about why Howard chose Ariel and Seymour to represent desires difficult to obtain (guilty pleasure, since "Part of Your World" is the greatest song in The Little Mermaid). I'd also want to examine how Howard impacted the Disney Renaissance, an age where characters could break out in song without someone in the audience watching cynically, and how modern artists can learn from him when crafting animation or musicals.
Of course, I'd only want to write the biography in a positive light, and with permission from Howard's family. If I were to embark on this project --not now since I'm starting senior year of college next week-- would it be all write to find out more about Howard growing up and working on animated film? If not, are there any book-length biographies on him that could provide that information? I'm just writing as an excited fan and an aspiring author.


  • edited August 2012
    I know this question is more for Sarah than anything, but I just wanted to say that I love the idea of a Howard Ashman Biography -- or documentary (I wonder what happened to that project?) -- and I definitively hope that it's something that should happen at some point. :)

    And in terms of material that's already out there - in addition to Disney Wars (which I know of, but haven't actually read myself), I also think the segment including Howard in Waking Sleeping Beauty is pretty awesome. They talk a bit about his involvement in the Disney Renaissance there; I recommend that a lot if you haven't already seen it.
  • I'd love to see a good biography of Howard, though it's one of those, "be careful what you wish for," things, too. I think it will happen eventually but the right person has to come along. A good bio takes years of research - not a task to be taken up lightly.
  • Of course; a biography about Howard Ashman should be a detailed and accurate representation of his life. That said, what writing credentials would you want the writer to have if they took up the task?
  • @Speilbilde: Disney Wars was actually how I learned about Howard, and his creative contributions to Disney. I just felt that there wasn't enough; only two pages on the man who developed The Little Mermaid into a unique and hopeful musical and jump-started Aladdin's greatness. Now is a good time to talk about Howard given the need for "It Gets Better" and the fight for LGBTQ to be recognized as people.
  • What credentials. It's a tough question and I don't have an easy answer. I can promise, though, that it's a question I am wrestling with.
  • Thank you, Sarah. In the meantime, is it all right if I profile you for a magazine? As an older sister, I admire anyone who works hard to preserve their sibling's memory.
  • I replied via email. If you didn't receive it, please try again. Thanks.
  • edited September 2012
  • edited October 2014
    I would just LOVE for there to be a Howard Ashman biography; I've already read those about Jim Henson and Charles Schulz, and am in the process of reading one on Walt Disney, but one on Howard would a refreshing change.
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