A memoir of glitz, glamour, geopolitics, and the power of pop music, following a misunderstood queer biracial kid from small-town Georgia who became the world's foremost Eurovision Song Contest blogger.
As a boy, William Lee Adams spent his days taking care of his quadriplegic brother, while worrying about his undiagnosed bipolar Vietnamese mother, and steering clear of his openly racist and homophobic father. Too shy and anxious to even speak until he was six years old, it seemed unlikely William would ever leave small-town Georgia. He passed the time alone in his room, studying maps and reading encyclopedias, dreaming of distant places where he might one day feel free.
In time, William discovered that learning was both a refuge and a ticket out. So even as he struggled to understand and to get others to accept both his sexuality and his biracial identity, William focused on his schoolwork, his extracurricular activities, and building community with the students and teachers who embraced him for who he truly was. Though his scholarship to Harvard parachuted him into a whole new world, he still carried a lifetime of secrets and unanswered questions that would haunt him no matter how far he traveled.
Years later, as a journalist in London, William discovered the Eurovision Song Contest—an annual competition known for its extravagant performers and cutthroat politics. Initially just a fan, he started blogging about the contest, ultimately becoming the most sought-after expert on the subject. From Albania, Finland, and Ukraine, to Israel, Sweden, and Russia, William was soon jetting across the Continent to meet divas, drag queens, and aspiring singers, who welcomed him to their beautiful, if dysfunctional, family of choice.
An uplifting memoir about glitz, glamour, geopolitics, and finding your people, no matter how far you must travel, Wild Dances celebrates the power of pop music to help us heal and forgive.
About the Author
William Lee Adams is an award-winning Vietnamese-American journalist and broadcaster. A former staff writer at Time, he’s written about Eurovision for Billboard, the Financial Times, The Guardian, Newsweek, and the New York Times, among others. He is the founder and face of Wiwibloggs, the world’s most-followed independent Eurovision blog and YouTube channel. He lives in Camberwell, South London with his husband and two cats.
Extremely well written and always interesting, Adams’ memoir ends with a touching affirmation of his love for John." —Michael Cart, Booklist
"An amazing true story more fascinating than fiction. Adams works through problems most of us couldn’t even imagine—all the while, he’s grappling with being gay in a world where his identity subjects him to abuse. Adams used reading as his refuge from despair. With a scholarship to Harvard and an unlimited imagination, he fights his way to the top by turning a hobby into a hugely successful career. But like all of us from difficult backgrounds, Adams is constantly plagued with family issues. How he handles his life’s outrageous challenges—with dignity and courage—will lift your heart. A courageous story well told." —David Crow, author of The Pale-Faced Lie
"Wild Dances is a pitch-perfect piece of autobiographical storytelling, a love song to the inspirational power of pop and the enduring resilience of queer kids with big dreams. William Lee Adams, already known to the world in his scintillating Eurovision commentator persona, proves to possess a rare talent as a writer. Effortlessly blending piercing emotion with tongue-in-cheek humor and a strong grasp of political context, Wild Dances is sure to captivate readers who seek a story with both style and substance." —Kai Cheng Thom, author of Falling Back In Love With Being Human: Letters to Lost Souls
"Wild Dances is an unlikely whirlwind: a globe-trotting memoir about a biracial queerdo from Atlanta who somehow becomes the world's foremost expert on Eurovision—the bedazzled talent show that launched the careers of Celine Dion, ABBA, and Olivia Newton-John. Wild Dances is also about death and grief. Which isn't the thematic pairing one might expect. But nothing about William Lee Adams's heartfelt journey is predictable. Your heart WILL go on!" —Mickey Rapkin, author of Pitch Perfect