A cornucopia of tales celebrating the storytelling power of the LGBTQI+ community in all its glory, experimentation, beauty and levity.
Paul Takes The Form Of A Mortal Girl, by Andrea Lawlor
Absolutely rampant and vicious with its description of a life lived at a frenetic social and sexual pace, the adventures of Paul Polydoris are simultaneously life-affirming and alarming.
Real Life, by Brandon Taylor
Luxuriously written deep-dive into one man’s weekend as he deals with multiple pains and traumas: racial microaggressions, sexual confusions, professional misdemeanours, personal failures – all rendered with truth, sympathy and a necessary quiet rage.
The Fat Lady Sings, by Jacqueline Roy
The term “rediscovered classic” gets bandied around a lot, but in this case it’s apt. Rediscovered and republished by Bernadine Evaristo as part of Penguin’s “Black Britain: Writing Back” series, it absolutely deserves to remain shelved alongside the other greats of modern British writing. The Fat Lady Sings follows two Black women from very different worlds who have fallen through the social cracks, stuck going round in circles inside a health system which is only interested in silencing and sedating them. This might sound pretty heavy, but The Fat Lady Sings is a radically hopeful and enjoyable novel about Black British identity, queer joy and found family.
100 Boyfriends, by Brontez Purnell
This unapologetically filthy collection of short stories is utterly glorious. With a captivating narrative voice, Purnell offers snapshots of queer relationships – from one night stands, to years long entanglements which devastate, shock and delight in equal measures.
Box Hill, by Adam Mars-Jones
Short but sweet as the saying goes, Box Hill is a tender novel which documents the relationship between unlikely partners. The love story begins on Adam’s 18th birthday in 1975 when he falls (literally and metaphorically) over/for biker Ray and unfolds evocatively over the course of less than 100 pages.
Giovanni’s Room, by James Baldwin
You’re in a very safe pair of hands with James Baldwin. His considered style of prose is almost relaxing in its pace and weight, even when you can feel the heat coming off the page. Giovanni’s Room is a great place to start with Baldwin’s work, and has very much earned its place as a queer classic. But, no reason to stop there – his oeuvre is varied and phenomenal.
Detransition, Baby, by Torrey Peters
Destransition Baby has become that book everyone’s talking about – and deservedly so. A funny, warm and compulsively readable depiction of motherhood in all its forms.
The Adventures of China Iron, by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara
This is a book that will transport you to the dusty plains of the Pampas in 1872, evoking the excitement of wind-in-your-hair journeys, the joy of discovery and the freedom of travel. It’s a journey of unlikely friendships, rich cultural discovery, sexual awakening and British customs in the wild and endless Pampas (Liz seems to be able to produce un-ending tea, whisky, umbrellas and other luxury items from the depths of the wagon). You’ll be swept up by the sense of freedom and you will punch the air in celebration of China Iron’s joyful and liberating journey.
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