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Gambone has earned a BA from Harvard College and an MA from the Episcopal Divinity School. His writing has covered many genres, including novels and short stories, personal reminiscence, non-fiction, and scholarly essays, as well as book reviews and interviews.
He has published 4 book-length works, beginning with a collection of short stories titled The Language We Use Up Here in 1991. It was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, and a review in Harvard Magazine called it "quietly inspired". Other short stories have appeared in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies. Something Inside: Conversations with Gay Fiction Writers appeared in 1999. Publisher's Weekly said his "carefully probing interviews provide insight into the working methods and aesthetic, personal and social concerns of a varied group" and that his "knowledge of each writer's work and his sensitivity to the craft is impressive". The Montreal Mirror called it "a rich collective portrait of some of the most important and interesting gay writers of the last three decades". Among the 21 included were Joseph Hansen, Edmund White, and David Leavitt.
His first novel, Beijing: A Novel, appeared in 2003. Multicultural Review noted that "What makes the book of special interest to readers of multicultural literature is its portrayal of an honest effort to see, understand, and become emotionally involved in another culture without being patronizing or distant".
Another collection of non-fiction pieces based on interviews appeared in 2010 under the title Travels in a Gay Nation: Portraits of LGBTQ Americans. Andrew Holleran wrote that it was "like going to dinner with people you'd love to know but don't" and called Phil Gambone "the perfect stand-in for the reader: impressively prepared, sympathetic, and smart". He drew his 44 subjects from every corner of the gay community, including, for example, composer Jennifer Higdon, Star Trek's George Takei, and anti-war activist Mandy Carter.
Gambone has also published essays about China and Chinese literature in such publications as the Boston Globe and the New York Times. He has also contributed essays to textbooks about both ancient and modern China.
His many awards include artist's fellowships granted by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the MacDowell Colony, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, as well as a research fellowship from the Massachusetts Historical Society. Best American Short Stories, 1989 (Houghton Mifflin, 1990) recognized his work as well.
Gambone has taught writing at the University of Massachusetts Boston and Boston College. He has also taught in the expository writing program at Harvard. He teaches in the writing program at the Harvard Extension School, which has twice awarded him Distinguished Teaching Citations.
This article lacks ISBNs for the books listed in it. (April 2015)
- Gambone, Philip (1999). Something inside : conversations with gay fiction writers. Madison, Wisconsin [u.a.]: Univ. of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-16130-9.
- Gambone, Philip (2010). Travels in a gay nation : portraits of LGBTQ Americans. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-23684-7.
- Gambone, Philip (1991). The language we use up here : and other stories. New York: Dutton. ISBN 978-0-525-93311-3.
- Gambone, Philip (2003). Beijing : a novel. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 978-0-299-18490-2.
- Weekly Wire: Michelle Ellis and Jeffrey Lee, "Something Inside," August 2, 1999, accessed May 27, 2010
- Montreal Mirror: Juliet Waters, "Inside Stories'" July 28, 1999 accessed May 27, 2010
- Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association: Steven F. Butterman, Review of "Something Inside," Archived 2012-07-14 at Archive.today, accessed May 27, 2010
- Bay Windows: Kate Vander Wiede, "Local author's 'Travels in a Gay Nation'", May 17, 2010[permanent dead link], accessed May 27, 2010
- Massachusetts Historical Society: "The Swensrud Teacher Fellowship Program", accessed May 27, 2010
- Kirby, edited by the curriculum specialists at Primary Source, Inc. ; foreword by Ezra Vogel ; introductory essay by William (2009). China in the world : a history since 1644. Boston: Cheng & Tsui Company. ISBN 978-0-88727-621-7.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
- Murowchick, edited by the curriculum specialists at Primary Source, Inc. ; foreword by Michael Puett ; introductory essay by Robert E. (2006). The Enduring legacy of ancient China : primary source lessons for teachers and students. Boston: Cheng & Tsui. ISBN 978-0-88727-508-1.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)