Our Favourite LGBTQIA+ Novels!
By Becca Binnie and Emma Holbrook
Although Pride month has come to an end, the fight for more inclusive LGBTQIA+ literature certainly has not! Furthermore, reading and promoting stories which celebrate LGBTQIA+ stories should be done all month, every month. As this is our very exciting fiftieth issue of The Publishing Post, we think it is the perfect time to tell you about some of the team's favourite LGBTQIA+ reads! We hope you’ll be inspired to pick up a copy of your own!
Emma’s Pick – A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth
Our first pick is one of my absolute favourites for those seeking characters embracing their true selves whilst also embarking on a dangerous quest to protect those they love and the world around them from destruction. I present: Ashley Shuttleworth's A Dark and Hollow Star.
As an openly bisexual woman who wants more LGBTQIA+ inclusive YA books, what I love most about this book is that, whilst all of the main characters are part of the community, their entire personality is not built off this but, in fact, makes them more relatable and interesting to the reader. Readers don't feel as if the community is being forced upon them, per say, but it is not just included for authors to say they ticked including more diverse characters. Whilst there are many YA fantasy books featuring LGBTQIA+ characters, I can promise you that there is nothing else quite as spectacular as this.
The mix between high fantasy meets modern world, the incorporation of different mythologies and diverse characters is absolutely perfect! Plus—Fae, awesome fight scenes, relatable mental struggles and a murder mystery?
A definite "one to buy" for me!
Becca’s Pick – Girl. Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
A novel that will always stand out to me is Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. This collection of short stories explores and celebrates a diverse array of identities alongside intersections of gender, sexuality, age, culture and class.
Penguin published Girl, Woman, Other in 2019, the novel and Bernardine Evaristo then won the Booker Prize. The deservingly successful novel depicts twelve incredibly diverse British female characters who become connected in a variety of ways. Each with their own voices and chapters, the novel rejects stereotypes by clearly portraying the individuals as uniquely human. Evaristo’s dynamic writing style makes for an irresistible novel which Waterstones called ”a love song to modern Britain and Black womanhood.”
Evaristo is the first Black female author to top the fiction chart in the UK and an activist for inclusion in the arts, her work reflects her powerful and inspirational career. For me her work is educational and eye-opening, it is also a beautifully told novel of conflict, growth, love and acceptance. Girl, Woman, Other is representative of the LGBTQIA+ community and educates readers on the past whilst beautifully advocating for an inclusive future.
I would highly recommend Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other alongside her other works which include Blonde Roots, The Emperor’s Babe and Soul Tourists.
Emma’s Picks for Horror
Whilst the rest of our books might be based off happy events and beautifully embracing one’s true self and sexuality, these next book recommendations are anything but that–filled with frightening ghost stories, guilty feelings bubbling inside and even the occasional serial killer obsessed with killing lesbians or transgender people out of sheer jealousy or some other stupid reason. Here are my two picks for best horror LGBTQIA+ books that you absolutely MUST read in the dark!
Drawing Blood by Poppy Z. Brite, a gothic horror following the erotic love story between the two male protagonists featuring the classic haunted house setting. Definitely not one for younger readers but it will scare you to your core!
The Dead and the Dark by Courtney Gould, a supernatural murder mystery horror story following main characters who all fit into the LGBTQIA+ community with the main character Logan being a lesbian (and one of her father figures’ being bisexual as well) and her love interest Ashley identifies as queer. Perfect for those wanting to add some diverse characters into a spooky, twists and turns at every corner, horror novel!
Becca’s Pick - Transgender History by Susan Stryker
Susan Stryker is an American author, historian, and theorist whose work focuses on gender and human sexuality. Stryker writes LGBTQIA+ history in an accessible manner and her novel Transgender History makes for a good introduction to the history of the trans community within wider human history.
Originally published by Seal Press in 2008, a second edition of the novel was released in 2017. Focusing on American trans history, each chapter in Stryker’s novel covers the development and action of the trans community from the mid-twentieth century to 2008.
Much has been done by trans individuals since 2008, and even 2017, to celebrate and include the community within present society and undoubtedly there is much still to be done. Still, Stryker’s novel is an informative, thought-provoking introduction to trans history that I would highly recommend.
We hope you too enjoy our favourite LGBTQIA+ novels as we strive to broaden our inclusive bookshelves!