QUEER IS HERE! New year, new TBR pile, baby!! And boy, do we have some juicy queer books for you to add to your bookshelves this year… From political gut punches, to a steamy western-come-scifi, to your next favourite romance. Keep scrolling to find out what the first half of 2023 has in store for you.
As usual, you can find the entire 2023 Queer list on Bookshop.org and if you want to stock your bookshop shelves with anything on this list then please reach out to your local Turnaround sales rep! 💖 (Please note that some of these titles may not yet be available to pre-order for the general public)
By Jean Chen Ho
Penguin Books USA / 9780593296066 / PB / £15.99 / Out 05/01/2023
Two young Taiwanese American women navigate friendship, sexuality, identity, and heartbreak over two decades.
Best friends since second grade, Fiona Lin and Jane Shen explore the lonely highways and seedy bars of Los Angeles together through their teenage years, surviving unfulfilling romantic encounters, and carrying with them the scars of their families’ tumultuous pasts. When Fiona moves to New York and cares for a sick friend through a breakup with an opportunistic boyfriend, Jane remains in California and grieves her estranged father’s sudden death, in the process alienating an overzealous girlfriend. Strained by distance and unintended betrayals, the women float in and out of each other’s lives, their friendship both a beacon of home and a reminder of all they’ve lost.
By Kaylie Smith
Disney-Hyperion / 9781368081597 / HB / £17.99 / Out 05/01/2023
Enter a world on the brink of war, where a roll from a magical dice sets a witch down a dangerous path, in this new series for fans of Leigh Bardugo.
Calliope Rosewood is a witch with a long streak of bad luck. Like all witches in Illustros, her fate is directly tied to Witch’s Dice — powerful artifacts that have blessed her kind with limitless magic but also set them on a path toward destruction. Cursed with unspeakable powers that terrify even the most dangerous witches and fae, Calla deserted her coven four years ago and has been in hiding with her two best friends since. But Calla is also hiding a grave secret: She is only three Rolls away from becoming the last Blood Warrior and starting the Fates’ War that will decimate her people and eradicate their magic. After a betrayal from her ex leads her one step closer to fulfilling that age-old prophecy, Calla is desperate to do whatever it takes to reset her fate… even if that means journeying into the deadly Neverending Forest with said ex and his enigmatic older brother to find the one being who can help her forge her own path.
By Yoon Ha Lee
Rick Riordan Presents / 9781368055567 / PB / £8.99 / Out 05/01/2023
Acclaimed sci-fi author Yoon Ha Lee’s companion novel to the best-selling and award-winning Dragon Pearl.
Sebin, a young tiger spirit from the Juhwang Clan, wants nothing more than to join the Thousand World Space Forces and, like their Uncle Hwan, captain a battle cruiser someday. But when Sebin’s acceptance letter finally arrives, it’s accompanied by the shocking news that Hwan has been declared a traitor. Apparently the captain abandoned his duty to steal a magical artefact, the Dragon Pearl, and his whereabouts are still unknown. Sebin hopes to help clear their hero’s name and restore honour to the clan.
By Cat Fitzpatrick
Seven Stories Press / 9781644212332 / PB / £9.99 / Out 12/01/2023
Anvi, Kate, Bette, Keiko, Gaia, and Day are six queer, mostly trans women surviving and thriving in Brooklyn. Visiting all the fixtures of fashionable 21st century queer society, The Call-Out also engages with pressing questions around economic precarity, sexual consent, racism in queer spaces, and feminist theory, in the service of asking what it takes to build, or destroy, a marginalised community. A novel written in verse, The Call-Out recalls the Russian literary classic Eugene Onegin, but instead of 19th century Russian aristocrats crudely solved their disagreements with pistols, the participants in this rhyming drama have developed a more refined weapon, the online call-out.
By Joel Lane
Influx Press / 9781910312971 / PB / £8.99 / Out 12/01/2023
Martin Swann moves into an old house and finds a box of video cassettes in the garden shed. One of them is a bootleg copy of a morbid and disturbing film by little-known French director, Jean Rien. Martin begins a search for the director’s other films, and for a way to understand Rien’s filmography, drawing him away from his home and his lover into a shadowy realm of secrets, rituals and creeping decay. An encounter with a crazed film journalist in Gravesend leads to drug-fuelled visions in Paris — and finally to the Mexican desert where a grim revelation awaits.
By Elly Blue
Microcosm Publishing / 9781648411304 / PB / £12.99 / Out 26/01/2023
A fantastic story collection of feminist bicycle sci fi/fantasy narratives with witches from a compilation of spell-binding writers.
A coven races — literally — to fight off the magic smog that threatens their city. A janitor at the last rocket launch site on a dying planet sends the rocket up with a special spell of comfort. Instead of casting the resiliency spell she asked for, a girl’s grandmother teaches her to ride a bike. A midwife’s bicycle is stolen, resulting in a fitting comeuppance. An urban witch falls for a bicycle mechanic and learns to reconcile her double life. Enjoy these and more science fiction and fantasy stories in the pages of the supernatural 9th volume of the popular Bikes in Space series.
By S. Park
Microcosm Publishing / 9781648411014 / PB / £9.99 / Out 26/01/2023
In the distant future where hovercars flit between ruined cities, a sexy stranger comes to town. The hardworking cowboy owner of The Only Chance Inn is usually pretty hands-off with customers, but when the enticing stranger turns out to be broke, he offers him his own room. The immediate intimacy they develop is soon rocked by the stranger’s otherworldly secret — and the innkeeper’s fluid sexuality is put to the ultimate test, with supremely pleasurable results. In these five stories of erotic speculative fiction, S. Park explores themes of attraction, belonging, and identity.
By Wren Awry & Cindy Milstein
PM Press / 9781629639925 / PB / £18.99 / Out 26/01/2023
A collection of essays, poems and stories exploring the crucial role that food has played in resistance, protest, and mutual aid around the world.
From the cooks who have quietly fed rebels and revolutionaries to the collective kitchens set up after hurricanes and floods, food has long played a crucial role in resistance, protest, and mutual aid. Twenty-three contributors-cooks, farmers, writers, organizers, academics, and dreamers write on queer potlucks, BIPOC-centered farms and gardens, rebel ancestors, disability justice, indigenous food sovereignty, and the fight against toxic diet culture, among many other topics.
By Jamie Lawson & Eve Lloyd Knight
Crocodile Books / 9781623717919 / PB / £13.99 / Out 26/01/2023
A book about the fight for queer rights, beautifully illustrated with bold and colourful art by pop artist Eve Lloyd Knight.
Around one o’clock in the morning on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York, sparking days of intense rioting. What happened at Stonewall sent shockwaves around the world, and became a defining moment for the LGBTQ+ community. From the impassioned speeches of bold activists Karl Ulrichs and Audre Lorde to the birth of Pride and queer pop culture, Rainbow Revolutions charts the dramatic rise of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and celebrates the courageous individuals who stood up and demanded recognition. With bold and beautiful illustrations by pop artist Eve Lloyd Knight.
By Brian Zepka
Disney-Hyperion / 9781368074179 / PB / £10.99 / Out 26/01/2023
Helpless romantic Dylan falls for Jordan, the new boy in town who runs hot (literally), in this love-at-first-sight story with a sci-fi slant.
Dylan has always wanted a boyfriend, but the suburbs surrounding Philadelphia do not have a lot in the way of options. Then, in walks Jordan, a completely normal (and undeniably cute) boy who also happens to run at a cool 110 degrees Fahrenheit. When the boys start spending time together, Dylan begins feeling all kinds of ways, and when he spikes a fever for two weeks and is suddenly coughing flames, he thinks he might be suffering from something more than just a crush. Jordan forces Dylan to keep his symptoms a secret. But as the pressure mounts and Dylan becomes distant with his closest friends and family, he pushes Jordan for answers. Jordan’s revelations of why he’s like this, where he came from, and who’s after him leaves Dylan realising how much first love is truly out of this world. But if the attraction between them defies the laws of physics, love may be the only thing that can keep Jordan and Dylan together.
By Mary Gordon
Lurid Editions / 9781739744106 / PB / £12 / Out 01/02/2023
Late 18th century Ireland. Two women from noble families, Lady Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, meet and form an intense romantic friendship. Against the will of their families — and overcoming many obstacles — they leave Ireland and settle at Plas Newydd. Here they become famous, as the Ladies of Llangollen. New publisher Lurid Editions launches in style with this forgotten queer classic first published by Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press in 1936.
By Gerald Raunig
Autonomedia / 9781570274060 / PB / £21.99 / Out 02/02/2023
Dissemblage unfolds a wild abundance of material of unruliness, from the multilingual translation machines of Al-Andalus to the queer mysticism of the High Middle Ages.
From the small voices of the falsetto in 20th century jazz and soul to today’s disjointures and subjunctures against the smooth city in machinic capitalism. In this volume Gerald Raunig not only develops a conceptual ecology of concepts of joining and jointing, but also undertakes an experiment in theoretical form. Semi-fictional interweaves with meticulously researched historical sources, mystical writings with letters from friends, philosophical fragments with poetic ritornellos. More than a narrative about dissemblages from social surrounds, thing-worlds, and ghost-worlds, the book itself is a dividual multiplicity in form and content, out of joint, in the joints, dissemblage.
By Edwin Lee Canfield
Headpress / 9781915316004 / PB / £19.99 / Out 02/02/2023
Read the forbidden predictions of the Amazing Criswell! Unmasked and revealed for the first time!
Jeron Charles Criswell King, better known simply as Criswell, can rightfully be described as one of the first pop celebrity psychics. His bizarre predications — 87 per cent of which came true, he claimed — appeared from the 1950s through the 1970s in newspapers and magazines, while the flamboyant showman hosted his own Los Angeles television show, guested on national TV and in Ed Wood movies, including Plan 9 from Outer Space, alongside Vampira, Tor Johnson and Bela Lugosi. Unsuccessful attempts to find fame on Broadway and Tin Pan Alley did not prevent him from co-authoring three books on how to succeed in these fields. A member of the hidden Hollywood gay community, the story of Criswell, his triumphs and defeats, is one of fame and hope in the television era.
By Margaret Killjoy
AK Press / 9781849354752 / PB / £15 / Out 02/02/2023
Margaret Killjoy’s stories have appeared for years in science fiction and fantasy magazines both major and indie.
Here, we have collected the best previously published work along with brand new material. Ranging in theme and tone, these imaginative tales bring the reader on a wild and moving ride. They’ll encounter a hacker who programs drones to troll CEOs into quitting; a group of LARPers who decide to live as orcs in the burned forests of Oregon; queer, teen love in a death cult; the terraforming of a climate-changed Earth; polyamorous love on an anarchist tea farm during the apocalypse; and much more. Killjoy writes fearless, mind-expanding fiction.
By Sage Buch
Microcosm Publishing / 9781648410727 / PB / £15.99 / Out 09/02/2023
Explore the ins and outs of medical transition.
Inside, you’ll learn about non-medical interventions like chest binding and packing, explore the varieties and effects of hormone replacement therapy, and get a comprehensive primer on choosing, preparing for, and recovering from top and bottom surgery. Medical research and jargon is made accessible, side effects and pros and cons are clearly spelled out, and empowering perspectives help you consider what transition path is right for you. Everything always comes back to checking in with yourself at every step of the way so that you can enjoy the unique self-expression that comes with finding yourself and who you are meant to be.
By Rosemary Valero-O’Connell
Silver Sprocket / 9798886200003 / PB / £18.99 / Out 16/02/2023
Beautiful, illustrated collection of illustrated queer poetry by an award-winning graphic novelist.
Golden Record is a poetry magazine and autofiction chapbook lusciously written and illustrated by award-winning graphic novelist Rotsemary Valero-O’Connell, illustrator of the critically-acclaimed Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me. It is an amalgamation of words and images brought together to become more than the sum of their parts, exploring the body as the site and host of all pleasure and pain, and, as its name pays homage to, a collection of dispatches from life on earth.
By Larissa Lai
Arsenal Pulp Press / 9781551528977 / PB / £18.99 / Out 16/02/2023
The latest novel by Larissa Lai: an epic yet intimate story set during the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II.
Lambda Literary Award winner Larissa Lai (The Tiger Flu) returns with a sprawling historical novel about war, colonialism, and queer experience during Japan’s occupation of Hong Kong during World War II. On the eve of the return of the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong to China in 1997, young Ophelia asks her peculiar great-aunt Violet about the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during World War II and the disappearance of her uncle Theo. From Violet, she learns the story of her grandmother, Emily. Emily’s marriage — three times — to her father’s mortal enemy causes a stir among three very different Hong Kong Chinese families, as well as among the young cricketers at the Hong Kong Cricket Club, who’ve just witnessed King Edward VIII’s abdication to marry Wallis Simpson. But the class and race pettiness of the scandal around Emily’s marriage is violently disrupted by the Japanese Imperial Army’s invasion of Hong Kong on Christmas Day, 1941.
By Gabe Calderón
Arsenal Pulp Press / 9781551528991 / PB / £18.99 / Out 16/02/2023
A novel of Indigenous futurism in which Two-Spirit, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, neurodivergent, and disabled characters — survivors of a devastating war — fight to save what’s left of their world.
Màgòdiz (Anishinabemowin, Algonquin dialect): a person who refuses allegiance to, resists, or rises in arms against the government or ruler of their country. Everything that was green and good is gone, scorched away by a war that no one living remembers. The small surviving human population scavenges to get by; they cannot read or write and lack the tools or knowledge to rebuild. The only ones with any power are the mindless Enforcers controlled by the Madjideye, a faceless, formless spiritual entity that has infiltrated the world to subjugate the human population. A’tugwewinu is the last survivor of the Andwanikadjigan. On the run from the Madjideye with her lover, Bel, a descendant of the Warrior Nation, they seek to share what the world has forgotten: stories.
By Mark Hyatt
Peninsula Press / 9781913512217 / PB / £10.99 / Out 23/02/2023
This newly discovered, never-before-published novel — which predates the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 — is a portrait of lost a Soho, as well as an important document of queer, working-class life, from a voice long overlooked.
Leda is lost. Bouncing from job to job, from coffee bar to house party, he spends his days watching the hours pass and waiting for the night to arrive. Trysts in the rubble of a bombsite follow hours spent in bedsits with near strangers, as Leda is forced to find intimacy in unusual places. Semi-homeless and estranged from his given family, he relies on the support of his chosen one: a community of older gay men and divorced women who feed and clothe him, gently encouraging him to find a foothold in a society which excludes him at every turn. And then there is Daniel, a buttoned-up man of the Lord, for whom Leda nurses an unrequited obsession — one which sends him spiralling into self-destruction. This newly discovered, never-before-published novel — which predates the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 — is a portrait of lost a Soho, as well as an important document of queer, working-class life, from a voice long overlooked.
By Maria Rosa Cutrufelli, translated by Robin Pickering-Iazzi
Soho Press / 9781641294249 / HB / £25.99 / Out 09/03/2023
A classic of Italian feminist mafia literature about a gender-bending mafiosa and the writer who becomes obsessed with telling her story.
Sicily, 1980s: When she was just eight years old, Tina watched as her father, a member of Cosa Nostra, murdered in cold blood. Now a teenager, she terrorizes her hometown of Gela, having made it her mission in life to join the mafia, an organisation traditionally forbidden to women as made members. Nicknamed ‘a masculidda’, or ‘the tomboy,’ Tina has taken charge of her own clan, and is notorious for her cruelty and reckless disregard for societal expectations. When a news article is published about Tina’s latest crimes, a teacher living in Rome feels compelled to write a novel about her — even though it means returning to Sicily to gather material. She and Tina circle around each other in a dangerous dance of obsession and violence until their first, and last, explosive meeting. Maria Rosa Cutrufelli’s Tina, Mafia Soldier, a groundbreaking exploration of gender identity and a clear-eyed presentation of an unseen side of the mafia, is a landmark literary achievement.
By Richard Mirabella
Catapult / 9781646221172 / HB / £25.99 / Out 16/03/2023
Opening like a fairy tale and ending like a nightmare, this cannonball of a queer coming-of-age novel follows a young man’s relationship with a violent older boyfriend — and how he and his sister survive a terrible crime.
After years of severed communication, Justin appears on his sister’s doorstep needing a place to stay. The home he’s made for himself has collapsed, as has everything else in his life. When they were children, Willa played the role of her brother s protector, but now, afraid of the chaos he might bring, she’s reluctant to let him in. Willa lives a carefully ordered life working as a nurse and making ornate dioramas in her spare time. As Justin tries to connect with the people she’s closest to — her landlord, her boyfriend, their mother — she begins to feel exposed. Willa and Justin’s relationship has always been strained yet loving, frustrating and close. But it hits a new breaking point when Justin spirals out of control, unable to manage his sobriety and the sustained effects of a brain injury. Years earlier, in high school, desperate to escape his home life and his disapproving, troubled mother, Justin falls into the hands of his first lover, a slightly older boy living on his own who offers Justin some semblance of intimacy and refuge. When Justin’s boyfriend commits a terrifying act of violence, the two flee on a doomed road trip, a journey that will damage Justin and change his and his family’s lives forever. Weaving together these two timelines, Brother & Sister Enter the Forest unravels the thread of a young man’s trauma and the love waiting for him on the other side.
By Robyn Gigl
Verve Books / 9780857308351 / PB / £9.99 / Out 16/03/2023
Erin McCabe is a New Jersey criminal defense attorney doing her best to live a quiet life in the wake of a profound personal change — until a newsworthy case puts both her career and her safety in jeopardy…
Erin McCabe has been referred the biggest case of her career. Four months ago, William E. Townsend Jr, son of a New Jersey State Senator, was found fatally stabbed in a rundown motel near Atlantic City. Sharise Barnes, a nineteen year-old transgender sex worker, is in custody, and given the evidence, there seems little doubt of a guilty verdict. As a trans woman herself, Erin knows that defending Sharise will blow her own private life wide open and doubtless deepen her estrangement from her family. Yet she feels uniquely qualified to help Sharise and duty-bound to protect her from the possibility of a death sentence. Because Sharise admits she killed the senator’s son — in self-defense. As Erin works with her law partner, former FBI agent Duane Swisher, to build a case, Senator Townsend begins using the full force of his prestige and connections to publicly discredit everyone involved in defending Sharise. And behind the scenes, his tactics are even more dangerous.
By Kes Otter Lieffe & Anja Van Geert
Microcosm Publishing / 9781648411939 / PB / £16.99 / Out 23/03/2023
Queerness is everywhere in the natural world.
Queerness is everywhere in the natural world. Lesbian gulls, intersex grizzly bears, gay orgies of manatees, trans clownfish, binary-smashing lichens, sex-changing willow trees, and asexual naked mole rats! So many of us grew up with wildlife programs and school biology classes that showed only monogamous, heterosexual pairings with the goal of making little baby animals. This coloring book celebrates the diversity of animals, plants, and fungi, and the way our beautiful queer communities exist far beyond the realms of human culture. Bring your brightest colors to learn about and befriend some of the most colorful characters in nature and challenge society’s cis-het norms. This entertaining and educational resource, created by trans woman and ecologist Kes Otter Lieffe, and richly illustrated by Anja Van Geert, builds on the success of their popular Queer Animals Coloring Zine to liberate our understanding of ourselves and the natural world we belong to.
By Matillda MatBickers, peech breshears & Janis Luna
PM Press / 9781629639918 / PB / £16.99 / Out 28/03/2023
A fierce and intimate portrait of the lives of sex workers through essays, interviews, poetry, drawings, collage and photographs.
Fiercely intelligent, fantastically transgressive, Working It is an intimate portrait of the lives of sex workers. A polyphonic story of triumph, survival, and solidarity this collection showcases the vastly different experiences and interests of those who have traded sex; among them a brothel worker in Australia, First Nation survivors of the Canadian child welfare system, and an Afro-Latina single parent raising a radicalized child. Packed with first person essays, interviews, poetry, drawings, mixed media collage, and photographs, Working It honours the complexity of lived experience.
By Mondell Pope
Urban Books / 9781645564676 / PB / £15.99 / Out 30/03/2023
Four gay men struggle to find a balance between their work lives and their club personas before the nightlife consumes them.
It is said that all work and no play makes life dull. Justin, Keith, Marcus, and Evan love to do both. These young guys are four hard-working professionals who also have an addiction to club life. Keith is in the banking field, trying to rise to the top as easily as possible, but it is not happing as fast as he would like. Justin is a caregiver with a heart of gold. He loves taking care of the needs of his patients, but he is on the search for someone to take care of his needs. Marcus is a therapist with impeccable wisdom and honesty. He owns his own business, and it is doing well. His life seems perfect, but his work life is boring him to tears. Evan is the handsome hunk of the bunch. He is a personal trainer who will whip you into shape with ease, though his own life is in shambles. Partying hard gets easier to do as the pressures of life get the best of them. Drinking, bad decisions, and bad boys are always a recipe for disaster.
By Uvile Ximba
Interlink Books / 9781623717964 / PB / £15.99 / Out 30/03/2023
Coming-of-queer story navigating the confusion that is intimacy, sex, and identity.
In her debut novel, Dreaming in Color, Uvile Ximba explores with subtlety, humour, and probing insight the connections between the joyful reclaiming of pleasure and the healing of buried traumas. As students at university of Makhanda, South Africa during the #RUReferenceList campaign, Langa and her lover Khwezi have a passionate and complex relationship. Puzzling gaps in her memory haunt Langa, yet her dreams are vivid with colours and symbols that hint at a nightmare of forgotten violations and losses. So many secrets — and Langa has had enough of secrets and silences. Who can she turn to? Her mother? Her grandmother? Khwezi? Or herself?
By Scott Branson, Raven Hudson, Bry Reed & Mimi Thi Nguyen
PM Press / 9781629639710 / PB / £18.99 / Out 04/04/2023
A cutting-edge exploration of current ideas in the radical queer movement and revolutionary theory through a collection of essays from leading theorists, organisers and radicals.
Surviving the Future is a collection of the most current ideas in radical queer movement work and revolutionary queer theory. Though the mainstream media saturates us with the boring norms of queer representation, the writers in this book ditch false hope to imagine collective visions of liberation that tell different stories, build alternate worlds, and refuse the legacies of racial capitalism, anti-Blackness, and settler colonialism. The work curated in this book spans Black queer life in the time of COVID-19 and uprising, assimilation, building anarchist trans/queer infrastructures, & more.
By H. Gareth Gavin
Cipher Press / 9781739784966 / PB / £10.99 / Out 06/04/2023
Part hallucination, part queer bildungsroman, Never Was is a beautifully strange novel about grief, addiction and working-class masculinity, taking us from a limbo of lost dreams to a small salt-mining town and exploring the way identity is both inherited and re-invented.
Daniel sits on a clifftop in the aftermath of a party at Fin’s mansion, looking out over a junky sea. Daniel’s not sure why they’re there, or who Fin is, even though Fin seems to be somebody famous. To find out, Daniel must tell Fin the story of their childhood, going back to a small salt-mining town in The North, a visit from their now-estranged cousin Crystal, and the life and losses of their salt-miner father, Mika. Taking us from bus shelters to playgrounds to McDonalds, from the depth of a salt mine to a nightclub toilet, Daniel describes their world of soap operas, sunglasses, newspaper clippings and Princess Diana, steering Fin through the events that led up to The Great Subsidence, when their town and the mine that sustained it collapsed. As Daniel tells their story, they come to learn they’re in a place called Never Was, a limbo for lost dreams and disappointments, a landfill for things that never came to be, but also a place of change and transition. Dreamy, poignant, and revelatory, Never Was is a bold and inventive novel by an inimitable voice in literary fiction.
By Sean Patrick Mulroy
Button Poetry / 9781638340713 / PB / £16.99 / Out 02/05/2023
An award-winning poet offers intricate and gracefully constructed poems of queer coming-of-age in the deep South.
Sean Patrick Mulroy’s Hated for the Gods invites the reader to embrace their queer heritage with disarming tenderness, and urges them to celebrate the joy of gay sex without shame. Plaintive and joyous, sexy and ferocious — often all at once — Hated for the Gods is as much a call to action as it is a work of literature. Gorgeously rendered and skillfully constructed both to educate and inspire, Sean Patrick Mulroy’s poetry weaves together stories from his coming of age in the American South of the 1990s with the broader history of gay men in America. The result is a politically radical text that will leave you shocked with all you didn’t know about the history of queer people, and surprised by what you already knew but never could articulate. A world-renowned poet and award-winning scholar, Mulroy’s work exists in a lineage of fearless gay literature; from Shakespeare to Siken, Genji to Ginsberg. Masterfully intricate, yet effortlessly approachable, by turns hopeful and incendiary, Hated for the Gods is a must-read for the LGBT+ community and their loved ones.
by Selby Wynn Schwartz
Galley Beggar Press / 9781913111397 / PB / £9.99 / Out 04/05/2023
Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022, this is the brand new edition of Selby Wynn Schwartz’s After Sappho.
It’s 1895. Amid laundry and bruises, Rina Pierangeli Faccio gives birth to the child of the man who raped her — and who she has also been forced to marry. Unbroken, she determines to change her name; and her life, alongside it. 1902. Romaine Brooks sails for Capri. She has barely enough money for the ferry, nothing for lunch; her paintbrushes are bald and clotted… But she is sure she can sell a painting — and is fervent in her belief that the island is detached from all fates she has previously suffered. In 1923, Virginia Woolf writes: I want to make life fuller — and fuller. Sarah Bernhardt, Colette, Eleanora Duse, Lina Poletti, Josephine Baker… these are just a few of the women sharing the pages of a novel as fierce as it is luminous. Lush and poetic; furious and funny; in After Sappho, Selby Wynn Schwartz has created a novel that celebrates the women and trailblazers of the past — their constant efforts to push against the boundaries of what it means, and can mean, to be a woman — that also offers hope for our present, and our futures.
By Tre’vell Anderson
Andscape Books / 9781368081733 / HB / £25.99 / Out 11/05/2023
A groundbreaking look at the history of transgender representation in TV and film, by an of-the-moment and in-demand culture reporter.
We See Each Other is a personal history of trans visibility since the beginning of moving images. A literary reckoning, it unearths a transcestry that’s long existed in plain sight and in the shadows of history’s annals, and further contextualizes our present moment of increased representation. The films and television shows that Tre’vell covers include: Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil, Psycho, Holiday Heart, Boy’s Don’t Cry, America’s Next Top Model, Some Like It Hot, Survivor, Tangerine, Pose, RuPaul’s Drag Race and much more. Though there have been trans memoirs and histories, there has never been a book quite like this, nor is anyone more suited to write it than Tre’vell. ‘I don’t remember exactly when I was taught to hate myself,’ says Tre’vell Anderson in We See Each Other‘s introduction. As the narrative unfolds, Tre’vell knits together the history of trans people on screen with stories of their life growing up and their formative experiences as a Black, trans journalist.
By Casey Plett
Arsenal Pulp Press / 9781551529134 / PB / £17.99 / Out 18/05/2023
A new edition of the acclaimed debut story collection by two-time Lambda Literary Award winner Casey Plett.
By the author of Little Fish and A Dream of a Woman: eleven unique short stories featuring young trans women stumbling through loss, sex, harassment, and love in settings ranging from a rural Mennonite town to a hipster gay bar in Brooklyn. These stories, shiny with whiskey and prairie sunsets, rattling subways and neglected cats, show that growing up as a trans girl can be charming, funny, frustrating, or sad, but will never be predictable. A Safe Girl to Love, winner of the Lambda Literary Award for transgender fiction, was first published in 2014. Now back in print after a long absence, this new edition includes an afterword by the author.
By Susin Nielsen
Tundra / 9780735271227 / PB / £9.99 / Out 18/05/2023
A funny and heartfelt story about learning how to rise above your most embarrassing moment with humour, best friends and a killer triangle solo.
We all have moments that define us. For the comically clueless Wilbur, his moment happened on the first day of middle school, when someone shared his private letter with the entire student body. It revealed some of Wilbur’s innermost embarrassing thoughts that no one else should ever know. Now it’s the start of ninth grade and Wilbur hasn’t been able to escape that major humiliation. His good friend Alex stuck by him, but Alex doesn’t have as much time since he started dating Fabrizio. Luckily, Wil can confide in his best friend: his elderly neighbour Sal. Also, Wil’s in the school band, where he plays the triangle. They’re doing an exchange program with students from Paris, and Wilbur’s billet, Charlie, a tall, chic young woman who plays the ukulele and burps with abandon, captures his heart. Charlie likes him, but only as a friend. So Alex, Fabrizio and Sal host a Queer Eye-style intervention to get Wil in shape and to build his confidence so he can impress Charlie.
By Ryan Russell
Andscape Books / 9781368081368 / HB / £25.99 / Out 18/05/2023
A groundbreaking memoir from the first active NFL player to come out as bisexual.
The Yards Between Us explores Russell’s life in the NFL, his love of football, men and women, walking the devastating tightrope of keeping his sexuality secret, the tension between his private and public lives, and the importance of crashing through barriers. One part inspirational journey and one part coming of age as an athlete struggling to break a mould, The Yards Between Us follows in the footsteps of powerful sports memoirs like Agassi’s Open, Misty Copeland’s Life In Motion and Megan Rapinoe’s One Life. Ryan’s memoir shows us the power, the love and the benefit of starting over and starting strong.
By Ayodele Olofintuade
Cipher Press / 9781739220709 / PB / 10.99 / Out 25/05/2023
A twisty thriller about the fate of a sprawling family in Lagos, Lakiriboto is a queer, feminist revenge thriller like no other, in which murder, betrayal, and witchcraft collide — with explosive results.
When her grandmother dies in the night, Moremi’s fate falls to her uncle, the grasping family chief who sends her off to work as a housemaid in Lagos. On arriving there, Moremi finds that the big city is not all she thought it would be. But she’s not alone. After another family death, Kudirat, accused of bringing misfortune to her close family, has also been sent to live as a maid in the same house, scrubbing floors and folding laundry for long-suffering Tola, whose abusive doctor husband refuses to treat. Together, with the help of her queer aunt Morieba, the four women must wrestle back control of their lives as the patriarchal traditions that govern the family push back against their freedoms. When Tola’s condition worsens, someone new emerges, someone with revenge and redemption in mind. Mixing family saga, mobster pulp, and queer coming-of age, Lakiriboto is a staggeringly original and surprising novel about Nigeria’s queer and feminist communities, the struggles they face, and the lengths they will go to to overcome them.
By Amelia Possanza
Catapult / 9781646221059 / HB / £25.99 / Out 30/05/2023
An intimate journey into the archives — uncovering the romances and role models written out of history and what their stories can teach us all about how to love.
When Amelia Possanza moved to Brooklyn to build a life of her own, she found herself surrounded by queer stories: she read them on landmark placards, overheard them on the pool deck when she joined the world’s largest LGBTQ swim team, and even watched them on TV in her cockroach-infested apartment. These stories inspired her to seek out lesbians throughout history who could become her role models, in romance and in life. Centered around seven love stories for the ages, this is Possanza’s journey into the archives to recover the personal histories of lesbians in the twentieth century: who they were, how they loved, why their stories were destroyed, and where their memories echo and live on. Possanza’s hunt takes readers from a drag king show in Bushwick to the home of activists in Harlem and then across the ocean to Hadrian’s Library, where she searches for traces of Sappho in the ruins. Along the way, she discovers her own love — for swimming, for community, for New York City — and adds her record to the archive. At the heart of this riveting, inventive history, Possanza asks: How could lesbian love help us reimagine care and community? What would our world look like if we replaced its foundation of misogyny with something new, with something distinctly lesbian?
By Bridget Morrissey
Berkley — US / 9780593549247 / PB / £16.99 / Out 30/05/2023
Turns out you’re never too old for a summer camp romance. Or a change of heart. When a divorced woman attends a sleepaway camp for adults only, she reconnects with a man from her past-only to catch feelings for his sister instead.
Garland Moore used to believe in magic, the power of optimism, and signs from the universe. Then her husband surprised her with divorce papers over Valentine’s Day dinner. Now Garland isn’t sure what to believe anymore, except that she’s clearly never meant to love again. When new friends invite her to spend a week at their reopened sleepaway camp, she and her sister decide it’s an opportunity to enjoy the kind of summer getaway they never had as kids. If Garland still believed in signs, this would sure seem like one. Summer camp is a chance to let go of her past and start fresh.
Nestled into the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Camp Carl Cove provides the exact escape Garland always dreamed of, until she runs into Mason — the man she had a premonition about after one brief meeting years ago. No matter how she tries to run, the universe appears determined to bring love back into Garland’s life. She even ends up rooming with Mason’s sister Stevie, a vibrant former park ranger who is as charming as she is competitive. The more time Garland spends with Stevie, the more the signs confuse her. The stars are aligning in a way Garland never could have predicted.
Amid camp tournaments and moonlit dances, Garland continues to be pulled toward the beautiful blonde outdoorswoman who makes her laugh and swoon. Summer camp doesn’t last forever, but if Garland can learn to trust her heart, the love she finds there just might.
Fragments Of A Woman
By Emma Venables
Aderyn Press / 9781916398665 / PB / £8.99 / Out 01/06/2023
Five women, trapped by duty, fighting to survive.
National Socialist Berlin, and as their world changes around them, five women — Ingrid, Liesel, Greta, Gisela, and Lore — battle to hold on to their identities and their lives as they know them. Ingrid tries to save her daughter from her husband’s zealous beliefs. Liesel, a lesbian, marries a gay man for his, and her own, protection. Greta, spurned by Liesel, joins the Resistance then disappears. Gisela finds herself incarcerated in Ravensbruck, a women’s concentration camp, and then working in the camp brothel at Mauthausen. And Lore craves a life beyond Berlin, beyond wifedom and motherhood — a desire which leads her down a dark path. Exploring themes of motherhood, identity, trauma, war, fascism, and survival, Fragments of a Woman offers a nuanced and heart-breaking exploration of what it meant to be a woman under National Socialist rule.
By Stine Pilgaard, translated by Hunter Simpson
World Editions / 9781912987528 / PB / £13.99 / Out 08/06/2023
When good advice is all you need.
The narrator’s long-term girlfriend has just broken things off, forcing her to move back in with her father, a Pink Floyd-loving priest. While she desperately tries to convince her girlfriend to reconsider, the rest of the world bombards her with advice: from her childhood friend Mulle to her kindly therapist to her overbearing mother and card-playing father. Bumbling through the fog of disillusionment, the narrator gives herself permission to grieve, philosophize, and be generally outrageous until at last she sees a light at the end of the tunnel. Hilariously funny, My Mother Says is a compendium of conversations between people who talk past one another in a universe of misplaced good intentions. In this whirlwind of memories, confessions, temper tantrums, and declarations of love, Pilgaard’s sheer affection for her characters turns the pain of a broken heart into a heart-warming comedy of errors.
A Spark in the Cinders
By Jenny Elder Moke
Disney-Hyperion / 9781368039918 / HB / £17.99 / Out 08/06/2023
An epic YA fantasy about a kingdom on the brink of ruin, and one wicked stepsister’s journey from side character to heroine of her own quest.
The story has reached it’s happily ever after, the peasant girl has married her prince and become queen, all is well in the kingdom… But for Aralyn, the princesses stepsister, the story is only just beginning. The kingdom of Novador has had a streak of misfortunes, with drought, famine, and disease plaguing the lands. According to a prophecy, restoring an ancient magical artifact — the Protector’s Blade — is the only thing that can pull the kingdom back from the brink of destruction. With inside information from her fairy godmother, Aralyn teams up with lady knight Vee to go questing for the shattered pieces of the blade that have been scattered to the furthest reached of Novador. To win each element of the dagger, the girls must prove themselves by using their strengths to conquer their greatest fear. Aralyn uses wisdom, Vee physical prowess, and Queen Ellarose who is ruling the kingdom, uses benevolence. Together, these three powerful women fight to take their place as the rightful heirs to the Kingdom..
It Did Happen Here
By Erin Yanke, Julie Perini, Mic Crenshaw, Moe Bowstern, Moe, Celine Flores & Alec Dunn
PM Press / 9781629633510 / PB / 20.99 / Out 6/15/2023
Portland, Oregon, 1988. The brutal murder of Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw by racist skinheads shocked the city. In response disparate groups quickly came together to organize against white nationalist violence and right wing organizing throughout the Rose City and the Pacific Northwest.
It Did Happen Here compiles interviews with dozens of people who worked together during the waning decades of the 20th century to reveal an inspiring collaboration between groups of immigrants, civil rights activists, militant youth, and queer organizers. This oral history focuses on participants in three core groups: the Portland chapters of Anti Racist Action and Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice, and the Coalition for Human Dignity. Using a diversity of tactics — from out-and-out brawls on the streets and at punk shows, to behind-the-scenes intelligence gathering — brave antiracists unified on their home ground over and over, directly attacking right wing fascists and exposing white nationalist organizations and neo-Nazi skinheads. Embattled by police and unsupported by the city, these citizen activists eventually drove the boneheads out of the music scene and off the streets of Portland. This book shares their stories about what worked, what didn’t, and ideas on how to continue the fight.
By Hayley Jakobson
Dutton / 9780593473009 / HB / £24.99 / Out 22/06/2023
A debut novel about a young bisexual woman who is pulled between the new life she’s creating for herself and the life she worked so hard to escape.
Savannah Henry is almost the person she wants to be, or at least she’s getting closer. It’s the second semester of her sophomore year. She’s finally come out as bisexual, is making friends with the other queers in her dorm, and has just about recovered from her disastrous first queer “situationship.” She is cautiously optimistic that her life is about to begin. But when she learns that her best friend from childhood, Izzie, has gotten engaged, Savannah’s life is sent into a tailspin. Things with Izzie haven’t been the same since what happened between Savannah and Izzie’s older brother when they were sixteen. Now, with the wedding around the corner, Savannah is pulled back into a history she had just barely begun to heal from. To make things more complicated? Savannah is definitely in love with her classmate Wes — sweet, long-eyelashed, funny Wes and their green backpack — something her college friends Candace and Vera take great pleasure in teasing her about. With a singularly funny, heartfelt voice, Old Enough explores queer love, community, and what it means to be a survivor. Haley Jakobson has written a love letter to friendship, and an honest depiction of what finding your people can feel like — for better or worse.
By Chloe Michelle Howarth
Verve Books / 9780857308412 / PB / £9.99 / Out 22/06/2023
Sunburn is an astute and tender portrayal of first love, adolescent anxiety and the realities of growing up in a small town where tradition holds people tightly in its grasp.
It’s the early 1990s, and in the Irish village of Crossmore, Lucy feels out of place. Despite her fierce friendships, she’s always felt this way, and the conventional path of marriage and motherhood doesn’t appeal to her at all. Not even with handsome and doting Martin, her closest childhood friend. Lucy begins to make sense of herself during a long hot summer, when a spark with her school friend Susannah escalates to an all-consuming infatuation, and, very quickly, to a desperate and devastating love. Fearful of rejection from her small and conservative community, Lucy begins living a double life, hiding the most honest parts of herself in stolen moments with Susannah. But with the end of school and the opportunity to leave Crossmore looming, Lucy must choose between two places, two people and two futures, each as terrifying as the other. Neither will be easy, but only one will offer her happiness.