LGBTQIA+ Anthologies for Your Reading List
By Carly Bennett, Rhys Wright, Becca Binnie and Rosie Green
Through collecting different works, anthologies can be fascinating reads that teach readers about themes or topics. Below we have included some notable LGBTQIA+ representative anthologies that look to enlighten and inspire. These moving and poignant works of all formats tell of real-life experiences and historical circumstances.
Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives edited by Miguel M. Morales, Bruce Owens Grimm and Tiff Joshua TJ Ferentini
Centring the intersection of fatness and queerness, Fat and Queer is a multi-form anthology that ranges easily from poetry and prose and covers a hugely diverse plethora of lived experiences. Contributors include Carmen Maria Machado, Dan Vera, Aubrey Gordon and more, delving into everything from race to attraction, from self-love to ageing, all coming back to the focal point of navigating the world as a person who is body fat and queer.
There is some truly beautiful poetry within the anthology, with Jay Audrey’s Seven Nights of Noodles and Sherre Vernon’s About my Breasts, Since you Asked standing out as two highlights. Soft Butch by Nora E. Derrington and M.P. Armstrong’s She Doesn’t Need Any More Dresses are two of the prose entries that stayed in my mind long after reading, though there is so much more to enjoy than just these four stories. If you're fat and queer and have been searching for a glimpse of representation then you’ll find it here on each and every page. While I would urge readers to check the trigger warnings before diving in, this collection is comforting from the outset, brimming over with love and solidarity for a lived experience that is so rarely represented in queer literature.
The Stonewall Reader edited by Jason Baumann
The contentious history of the Stonewall riots often brings up questions of who was really there, what precisely happened and how, as well as who’s been excluded from the narrative and what prior histories were overwritten so that Stonewall could be branded the birth of the queer liberation movement. The Stonewall Reader allows us to answer these questions for ourselves through an anthology of first-hand accounts taken mostly from the New York Public Library’s LGBTQIA+ archives.
The Stonewall Reader is composed of interviews, memoirs, reportage, manifestos and various other historical artefacts from before, during and after Stonewall, ranging from figures as well-known as Audre Lorde and Marsha P. Johnson to lesser-known figures and oral histories. If you’re interested in discovering things you never knew about LGBTQIA+ history both before and after Stonewall, this anthology is a must-read. It brings together writings from authors across gender identities, sexual orientations, races and beliefs to chart an evolution of queer identity forever changed by Stonewall.
The Love That Dares: Letters of LGBTQ+ Love & Friendship Through History by Barbara Vesey and Rachel Smith
Published in January 2022 by Octopus Publishing, this anthology collates letters of LGBTQIA+ love and friendship throughout history. The book brings together correspondence from some of the twentieth century's key creative figures.
A letter can carry love through many centuries and these letters speak volumes about the persistence of courage and devotion. As a beautiful celebration of LGBTQIA+ love and friendship, the letters reveal how relationships thrived in sealed envelopes whilst society was ignorant.
Letters written by John Cage, Benjamin Britten, Walt Whitman, Eleanor Roosevelt, Vita Sackville-West and more give the reader an insight into the real and glorious life of fame and fortune. Aside from the famous names, the letters also belong to lesser-known writers; this gives the reader a glimpse of love outside of the spotlight.
Engaging introductions give the letters historical context to show LGBTQIA+ love has always flourished despite barriers and obstacles. This anthology of letters is enlightening, touching and fascinating – definitely worth checking out!
Proud edited by Juno Dawson
This YA anthology of LGBTQIA+ poetry and prose covers various genres from enchanting fantasy worlds to delightfully cliché romcoms in its exploration of queer relationships and pride. It features contributions from both well-known and debut writers and each piece is complemented by gorgeous illustrations from a diverse range of artists.
Its tone ranges from charmingly funny as Simon James Green’s protagonist finds his coming out upstaged by gay penguins, to hopeful in Fox Benwell’s story about a Dungeons and Dragons party bringing their heroism to the real world, winding through a spectrum of queer teen emotions in between to close with Dean Atta’s beautiful poem about there being no wrong way to come out.
With stories about all kinds of love, from the nervousness of first crushes to the devotion of young love, the understanding of friendships and solidarity of a community together, the anthology will be a comfort to anyone feeling lonely in their identity.
While the collection encompasses different genres, mediums and identities, at the heart of each contribution is a joyful celebration of queer love – whether in romance, friendship or community – which come together in a hopeful and heartfelt anthology that will make any queer teen, or adult, feel proud.