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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Four Voices for the Future

By Rhys Wright, Amy Blay, Shan Heyworth and Rosie Green

To celebrate the 100th issue of The Publishing Post, we take a look back at the LGBTQIA+ team’s very first article; a recommendation of five LGBTQIA+ Authors from five different generations. To add to that first article, we’d like to recommend some contemporary authors who we think will become influential figures in the future of LGBTQIA+ literature.

Alison Rumfitt

For any fan of maximalist body horror and biting social satire, Alison Rumfitt is an author you will love. Her debut novel Tell Me I’m Worthless uses a classic haunted house story to explore the spread of fascism and transphobia in modern Britain.

Her second novel Brainwyrms explores similar themes. It’s a chilling exploration of life as a trans person in a society where transphobia is spreading like a virus. It follows Frankie, a trans woman whose life spirals out of control after the gender identity clinic she works at is bombed. She embarks on an intense new relationship and also uncovers a conspiracy of parasitic alien worms!

Both novels were published by Cipher Press, an independent queer publisher who’s also published Morbid Obsessions, a non-fiction book by Rumfitt and fellow author Frankie Miren. They each discuss how they’ve represented transness, sex work, and “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist” ideology in their novels and short fiction.

An emerging trans voice in fiction with a distinctive and transgressive style, Alison Rumfitt is an author who understands how to turn modern anxieties into an unforgettable horror novel. You won’t need to wait long for her next project, the novelisation of the Doctor Who episode ‘Space Babies’, which is due to be published this August.

Samantha Shannon

Best known for her sapphic high fantasy The Priory of the Orange Tree, thirty-two-year-old Samantha Shannon is a bestselling British author of groundbreaking dystopian and fantasy fiction.

Her writing journey began at the age of fifteen with her first novel Aurora. Though Aurora remains unpublished, Shannon did not let this deter her, instead picking the strongest ideas from her fledgling story and using them to create her debut novel The Bone Season, which she began at age nineteen while studying English Language and Literature at St Anne’s College, Oxford. The first in a seven-book series published by Bloomsbury, The Bone Season is centred on Paige Mahoney, a “dreamwalker” in the Republic of Scion in the year 2059, who gallantly resists the campaign against clairvoyants. Currently, the series has four instalments, with a fifth set to be published in 2025.

Shannon’s true big break came with the publishing of Priory, a reimagining of the legend of George and the Dragon, in 2019. Intended to be a standalone work, the women-centric and highly successful tale received a prequel in 2023 – A Day of Fallen Night – set 500 years before Priory. Dealing with themes of motherhood and grief, A Day of Fallen Night is a fantastic addition to the Roots of Chaos series.

As a writer whose priorities lie in empowering women and strengthening the sapphic literary scene, Shannon’s journey so far has been nothing short of inspiring. With a fifth Bone Season instalment on its way, along with a third Roots of Chaos title and a new story inspired by the Greek goddess Iris, readers simply can’t wait to see where Shannon’s career takes her next.

Akwaeke Emezi

Akwaeke Emezi, author of New York Times bestseller The Death of Vivek Oji, is not only a novelist, but also a poet, a non-fiction writer, visual artist, filmmaker and musician. They describe themself as “an artist based in liminal spaces,” and their Igbo spirituality and queer identity permeates much of their work.

Emezi was born and raised in Nigeria and moved to the United States for college as a teenager. They dropped out of veterinary school and later studied Creative Writing at Syracuse University. Emezi emerged in the book world in 2018 with their highly acclaimed debut, Freshwater, an autobiographical novel about the life and identity of Ada, a girl who is an Ogbanje, i.e., an Igbo spirit inhabiting a human body. Freshwater was longlisted for several prizes including the Women’s Prize for Fiction, making Emezi the first nonbinary author to be longlisted for this award, but also raising questions about the eligibility for such prizes. 

Emezi’s work spans several genres; they debuted in Young Adult with Pet in 2019, and in Romance with You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty in 2022. They also released a memoir, Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir in 2021, and a poetry collection, Content Warning: Everything, in 2022.

Emezi’s varied repertoire of captivating books, often with queer themes, is perfect for anyone looking for literature that looks beyond Western conceptions of gender, sexuality and self. Their latest novel, Little Rot will be published in the UK by Faber and Faber on 7 July.   

Julia Armfield

Having published short stories since 2018, Julia Armfield’s three books – Salt Slow, Our Wives Under the Sea and most recently Private Rites – have cemented her reputation as a master of crafting unsettling and emotional stories through hauntingly beautiful prose.

Her 2019 collection of short stories, Salt Slow, complemented her ‘The White Review’ short story prize-winning ‘The Great Sleep’ with tales encompassing both dark humour and despair. Our Wives Under the Sea (2022), a love story entwined with a submarine disaster, then propelled her to fame on ‘BookTok’, and won her the 2023 Polari Prize for “opening up what is possible from queer writing.”

Her writing follows the body as it is constructed, deconstructed, and transformed into things entirely different. As indicated in her 2022 article for LitHub – ‘The Ocean is a Lesbian: Notes on Queer Women and Water’ – the sea also thematically flows throughout her works, from the post-apocalyptic ocean (and the creatures that are born upon it) in Salt Slow to the depths of the Hadal Zone in Our Wives Under the Sea. This runs to the flooded tower blocks that create the setting for Private Rites, her third book published on 11 June 2024 by 4th Estate, which follows three sisters at the end of the world. With positive reviews, as it embarks on its promotional tour, it looks set to continue Armfield’s upward trajectory.


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