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Campaign Spotlights: LGBTQIA+ Books

By Leah Murphy, Emily Lavin, Georgia Rees, Chante-Marie Dante and Annamária Rátki

To celebrate another amazing Pride Month, today we are putting a spotlight on three novels about queer love, and how they navigate their everyday lives in their own turbulent worlds.

Private Rites is a novel by Julia Armfield, an award-winning author based in London. This horror story is about three sisters coming together to grieve the passing of their estranged father, a talented but reclusive architect who made fantastical and grand buildings. As they travel together to clear the glass house that he created, it becomes evident that something sinister is brewing, specifically for them. As they continue to discover more secrets, including the disappearance of their mother, they must find it in themselves to brave the storm, despite the volatile implications that there might be.

Evening and Weekends is a debut novel by Oisin McKenna, an Irish author who has written and performed four theatre shows. The novel is about the complicated lives of four protagonists, Maggie, Ed, Keith and Phil, who inevitably come together due to the demons of their shared past and their ignited desires. During the hottest summer of the year, they explore the meanings of their own lives, and what they need most, all while unknowingly waiting for a party that will change the trajectory of how they currently live them.

Lastly, The Pairing is a novel by Casey McQuiston, an American author best known for their most popular work, Red, White and Royal Blue. This novel is about the coincidental meeting of two bisexual exes, who used their vouchers to go to the European tour they were meant to go together – four years ago. To prove that their relationship is truly over, the exes take each other up on a wager, to see who can sleep with their Italian guide first. However, as time passes, the story slowly reveals that they aren’t as over each other as they initially thought they were.

These amazing novels are brimming with important life lessons and relatable storytelling, and they’re bound to pull at your heartstrings!

Evenings and Weekends by Oisín McKenna

Following the intersecting lives of several characters over a swelteringly hot forty-eight hours in London, Evenings and Weekends by Oisín McKenna showcases humanity and desire, as well as a true celebration of queer identity.


The 4th Estate marketing team crafted a compelling campaign to maintain the excitement for this highly anticipated debut. Bloggers and bookstagrammers were treated to proof copies embossed with the quote “are you just living for the evenings and weekends?”, generating glowing early reviews to encourage pre-orders. A long-anticipated cover reveal video was shared to the 4th Estate Instagram page, featuring endorsements from poet Eileen Myles and author Owen Jones, creating even more online excitement for the release. 


On social media, the 4th Estate team executed some great in-person marketing, with posters of the orange and pink gradient cover and a quote about London from the book pasted around the city, an ingenious strategy to place the book within its setting and to get it noticed by readers and even non-readers alike. To celebrate his release, McKenna has embarked on a book tour spanning London, Bath, Liverpool and Dublin, kicking off with a launch event at Waterstones Trafalgar Square hosted by Bellies author, Nicola Dinan. 


With such a well-rounded campaign, the excitement for Evenings and Weekends is sure to last throughout the upcoming summer months!

Private Rites by Julia Armfield

With one of the most hotly-anticipated novels of the year – and follow-up to her Polari Prize-winning debut Our Wives Under the Sea – 4th Estate has rolled out the red carpet for Julia Armfield. Published on 11 June, Private Rites tells the saga of three sisters who have not spoken for some time as they reunite after the death of their estranged father – raising the question: how do you grieve at the end of the world? The novel deals with topics of queer love, the climate crisis, and faith. 

The book tour began over the weekend of 25 and 26 May at the International Literature Festival Dublin. Julia joined Caoilinn Hughes (The Alternatives) to discuss their upcoming novels – both set against worlds impacts by climate change – for the ‘Uncertain Futures’ panel. The author also led a writing workshop titled ‘Constructing Convincing Characters’, with attendees learning how to develop a character’s unique voice to bring them to life. The tour continued throughout the month of June and trickling into July, attending events at a variety of bookshops – both independent and Waterstones stores. Armfield was joined by several of her fellow writers along her tour, including Eliza Clark (Boy Parts; Penance), Heather Parry (Orpheus Builds a Girl), and Alice Slater (Death of a Bookseller).  

New releases are also being given an indie special edition print run, only available from independent bookstores, and Private Rites is no different – with the special edition including exclusive extra content. Moreover, a special curated quiz was posted on Twitter/X allowing readers to discover which character from the novel they are. 

The Pairing by Casey McQuiston

The number one New York Times bestselling author of Red, White and Royal Blue and One Last Stop returns with a new highly anticipated bisexual romance, The Pairing. The novel follows two exes who find themselves on the same European food and wine tour, before finding themselves in a friendly wager to prove they are actually over each other. 

Casey McQuiston took to their Instagram teasing fans about a “big announcement incoming!!!!!!!” revealing the dates of an American book tour. Beginning in New York, the author hosted their first event at Barnes & Noble (Union Square). Each ticket included a first print run edition, featuring spray-painted edges with a stencilled script design. McQuiston was joined by several fellow writers along their tour, including Rachael Lippincott (Five Feet Apart), Sasha Peyton Smith (The Witch Haven), and Ashley Poston (The Dead Romantics). Furthermore, in the lead up publication the team at St Martin’s Press (Macmillan USA) were giving out proof copies of The Pairings at select locations around NYC for lucky readers to get hold of.

With the author being active on Instagram, readers are kept up to date with the progress of the novel, from manuscript to the book being published. Alongside the process, McQuiston also shared posts – writing, photos, and memes – as well as relevant paintings and songs that inspired the book. Moreover, if readers subscribed to Casey McQuiston’s author alerts through Macmillan USA, each month they were treated to exclusive content from the archives: including the letters Kit and Theo sent to each other over the summer while Kit was visiting family in Paris. 

1 comment

1 Comment

Jul 01

Hello - just a small clarification. The Private Rites quiz was actually made by me (Julia’s wife) and her friends - it definitely wasn’t affiliated with the publisher or official marketing material, just something we made for fun and out of love!

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