By her own admission, Victoria Noe is on her fourth career. She moved to Chicago in 1977 to work in the vibrant off-Loop theatre community as a stage manager, director, administrator and founding board member of the League of Chicago Theatres. In the late ‘80s she switched to fundraising in the AIDS and arts communities, followed by fifteen years as an award-winning educational sales rep. But when a concussion ended her sales career, she decided it was time to keep a promise to a dying friend: write a book about people grieving their friends. It became the award-winning Friend Grief series.
That series brought her back to the HIV/AIDS community after a long absence and led to Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community, the first book in the chronicles of the AIDS epidemic to focus solely on women and their contributions. It was released in March, 2019 to wide acclaim. Midwest Book Review called it “An extraordinary compendium of information and illustrative personal stories.” Kirkus noted that “Noe’s book celebrates one sector of a compassionate network of caregivers with empathy, appreciation, solidarity and immense pride.” It has been honored with a B.R.A.G. Medallion for excellence in indie publishing, a bronze medallion from Readers Favorites 2020 International Book Awards, and was a finalist for A&U Magazine’s 2019 Literature of the Year Award.
Noe has spoken before such diverse groups as Open Hand San Francisco, ACT UP/London, The Muse and the Marketplace, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Book Expo America, as well as public libraries and indie bookstores in the US and London. Her articles have appeared on a variety of grief and writing blogs as well as Broadway World, Windy City Times, Chicago Tribune and Huffington Post. Her essay, “Long Term Survivor” won the 2015 Christopher Hewitt Award for Creative Nonfiction.
Her next book is a return to the Friend Grief series that got her started - Friend Grief and COVID: Pandemic Stories.
She is a member of Alliance of Independent Authors, Authors Guild, Chicago Writers Association, Chicago AIDS Garden steering committee and ACT UP/NY. A native St. Louisan, Noe remains a lifelong Cardinals fan who dreams of a repeat of the 1964 World Series, with the same outcome. Her website is victorianoe.com.
Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community
The history of the AIDS epidemic has largely been told from the perspective of gay men: their losses, struggles and contributions. But what about the women - in particular, straight women? Not just Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana, but thousands whose accomplishments have never been recognized?
Drawing on personal interviews and archival research, Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community is the first book to share the stories of these women around the world, throughout the epidemic. Some of the names are familiar; most are not. But all have left a lasting impact on the fight against a virus that has killed over 40 million people around the world, half of them women.
Author, speaker and activist Victoria Noe assures their place in women's history, for their determination to educate and advocate, to end the epidemic once and for all.
Friend Grief and COVID: Pandemic Stories2023
Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community (audio)2020
Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes2016
Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle2015
Friend Grief in the Military: Band of Friends2014
Friend Grief and 9/11: The Forgotten Mourners2013
Friend Grief and AIDS: Thirty Years of Burying Our Friends2013
Friend Grief and Anger: When Your Friend Dies and No One Gives a Damn2013
Awards and Recognition
- Bronze Medallion, Readers' Favorite Book Awards
- B.R.A.G. Medallion - 2019
- Christopher Hewitt Award, Creative Nonfiction, A&U Magazine, 2015
- Honorable Mention, Book of the Year, Chicago Writers Association - 2015
- Finalist, Literature of the Year, A&U Magazine, 2020
Press and Media Mentions
- "Author Victoria Noe's Book on Straight Women in the AIDS Community Finds a Voice", thebody.com, Nov. 13, 2020
- "Two Chicago authors met at an AIDS conference hundreds of miles from home. Now they're teaming up to keep the epidemic on people's radar." - Chicago Tribune, Dec. 9, 2019
- Cover story, A&U Magazine, July 2019
- "How F*g Hags, Divas and Moms Changed the AIDS Epidemic", Tub Talks with Damon L. Jacobs, March 2, 2022
- "Fag Hags, Divas and Moms on Audio", A&U Magazine, October, 2020