During this unusual time, celebrate Pride from the comfort of your own home by discovering this carefully curated list of LGBTQIA+ reads. Here’s a selection of our books that centre of LGBTQIA+ themes, have LGBTQIA+ protagonists or LGBTQIA+ authors. Whether you read one or many of the books selected here, we hope you enjoy them.
by Sarah Waters
Piercing the shadows of the naked stage was a single shaft of rosy limelight, and in the centre of this was a girl: the most marvellous girl - I knew it at once! - that I had ever seen.
'Erotic and absorbing . . . Written with startling power' New York Times Book Review
Nan King, an oyster girl, is captivated by the music hall phenomenon Kitty Butler, a male impersonator extraordinaire treading the boards in Canterbury. Through a friend at the box office, Nan manages to visit all her shows and finally meet her heroine. Soon after, she becomes Kitty's dresser and the two head for the bright lights of Leicester Square where they begin a glittering career as music-hall stars in an all-singing and dancing double act. At the same time, behind closed doors, they admit their attraction to each other and their affair begins.
The classic thriller behind the Hitchcock film, and Highsmith's first novel - soon to be remade by David Fincher, director of Gone Girl, with a screenplay by Gillian Flynn.
By the bestselling author of The Talented Mr Ripley and Carol
The psychologists would call it folie a deux . . .
'Bruno slammed his palms together. "Hey! Cheeses, what an idea! I kill your wife and you kill my father! We meet on a train, see, and nobody knows we know each other! Perfect alibis! Catch?'''
From this moment, almost against his conscious will, Guy Haines is trapped in a nightmare of shared guilt and an insidious merging of personalities.
'The No.1 Greatest Crime Writer' The Times
Edited by Helena Whitbread
by Anne Lister
'The Lister diaries are the Dead Sea Scrolls of lesbian history; they changed everything. By resurrecting them and editing them with such loving attention and intelligence, Helena Whitbread has earned the gratitude of a whole generation' EMMA DONOGHUE
'Engaging, revealing, at times simply astonishing: Anne Lister's diaries are an indispensable read' SARAH WATERS
Anne Lister (1791-1840) was one of the most remarkable women of her time. Fearless and uncompromising, she was
determined to live life on her own terms, both financially and sexually. She wrote extensive diaries in 'crypthand', which
allowed her to record her life in intimate, and sometimes explicit, detail. When they were decoded by Helena Whitbread, lesbian history was changed for ever. This is the second volume of her diaries.
No Priest But Love begins in 1824. After an ill-fated love affair with a married woman, Anne Lister embarks on a journey alone to post-revolutionary Paris, a city alive with political intrigue. Here, she becomes romantically involved with a young widow, a relationship at odds with her social ambitions. Anne's efforts, firstly to extricate herself from this new 'scrape' and then to make a choice between the two women in her life, provides an absorbing sexual and social drama.
'[Anne Lister's] sense of self, and self-awareness, is what makes her modern to us. She was a woman exercising conscious choice. She controlled her cash and her body. At a time when women had to marry, or be looked after by a male relative, and when all their property on marriage passed to their husband, Anne Lister not only dodged the traps of being female, she set up a liaison with another woman that enhanced her own wealth and left both of them free to live as they wished . . . The diaries gave me courage' JEANETTE WINTERSON
by C Pam Zhang
LONGLISTED FOR THE BOOKER PRIZE 2020
LONGLISTED FOR THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE 2021
A BARACK OBAMA BOOK OF THE YEAR 2020
'The boldest debut of the year . . . It is refreshing to discover a new author of such grand scale, singular focus and blistering vision' Observer
America. In the twilight of the Gold Rush, two siblings cross a landscape with a gun in their hands and the body of their father on their backs . . .
Ba dies in the night, Ma is already gone. Lucy and Sam, twelve and eleven, are suddenly alone and on the run. With their father's body on their backs, they roam an unforgiving landscape dotted with giant buffalo bones and tiger paw prints, searching for a place to give him a proper burial.
How Much of These Hills is Gold is a sweeping adventure tale, an unforgettable sibling story and a remarkable novel about a family bound and divided by its memories.
'The 19th-century American West is the setting for C Pam Zhang's impressive debut. Rickety wagons, gambling dens, dusty towns and dodgy outlaws stalk its pages . . . How Much of These Hills is Gold breaks the mould [as a] revisionist immigrant fable of the making of the West . . . a daring and haunting epic' Sunday Times
'A truly gifted writer' Sebastian Barry, two-time Costa Book of the Year winner
'Pure gold' Emma Donoghue, Booker-shortlisted author of Room
'Dazzling' Daisy Johnson, Booker-shortlisted author of Everything Under
A GWYNETH PALTROW BOOK CLUB PICK
by CN Lester
'CN Lester breaks down the myths and misconceptions about trans people and politics with clarity and calm. An important, timely book' JULIET JACQUES
In this eye-opening book, CN Lester, academic and activist, takes us on a journey through some of the most pressing issues concerning the trans debate: from pronouns to Caitlyn Jenner; from feminist and LGBTQ activists, to the rise in referrals for gender variant children - all by way of insightful and moving passages about the author's own experience. Trans Like Me shows us how to strive for authenticity in a world which often seeks to limit us by way of labels.
'Lester makes the most complex of subjects easy to digest. I finished with more insight and knowledge than I ever expected' STYLIST
'CN Lester is a writer for our times - a moving, learned and essential voice at the razor edge of gender politics' LAURIE PENNY
'One of the year's most important books on transgender identity' GAY TIMES
by Molly Keane
Jessica and Jane have been living together for six months and are devoted friends - or are they? Jessica loves her friend with the cruelty of total possessiveness; Jane is rich, silly, and drinks rather too many brandy-and-sodas.
Watching from the sidelines, their friend Sylvester regrets that Jane should be 'loved and bullied and perhaps even murdered by that frightful Jessica', but decides it's none of his business. When the Irish gentleman George Playfair meets Jane, however, he thinks otherwise and entices her to Ireland where the battle for her devotion begins.
CHARLIE REGAN'S LIFE ISN'T GOING FORWARD, SO SHE'S DECIDED TO GO BACK.
* 'A perfect page-turner. I loved it' DOLLY ALDERTON * 'Wonderful' MARIAN KEYES *
'A gorgeous exploration of the messy and fragile nature of friendship and all the many forms of love, as well as of the primal need we all have to belong' IRISH TIMES
After a tough few years floundering around the British film industry, experimenting with amateur pornography and watching her father's health rapidly decline, Charlie and her best friend Laura journey to her ancestral home of Clipim, an island off the west coast of Ireland. She knows this could be the last chance to connect with her dad's history before she loses him.
But when the girls arrive, Charlie begins to question both her difficult relationship with Laura and her father's childhood stories. Before long, she's embroiled in a devastating conspiracy that's been sixty years in the making . . . and it's up to her to reveal the truth.
***Longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize***
'One of the most intelligent, well observed depictions of lust, loss, envy, betrayal, friendship and love that I've ever read' DAISY BUCHANAN
'A moving and extremely funny look at family, roots and the myth of Irishness' THE i, ESSENTIAL SUMMER READS
'Witty, tender and insightful . . . O'Donoghue is a perceptive, clever writer' GUARDIAN
'A darkly humorous, keenly observed blend of millennial drift and murder mystery from a razor-sharp writer' RED
by Radclyffe Hall
A powerful novel of love between women, THE WELL OF LONELINESS brought about the most famous legal trial for obscenity in the history of British law. Banned on publication in 1928, it then went on to become a classic bestseller.
'The archetypal lesbian novel' - TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
'The bible of lesbianism' - THE TIMES
'One of the first and most influential contributions of gay and lesbian literature' - NEW STATESMAN
'What do I care for the world's opinion? What do I care for anything but you!'
Stephen Gordon (named by a father desperate for a son) is not like other girls: she hunts, she fences, she reads books, wears trousers and longs to cut her hair.
As she grows up amidst the stifling grandeur of Morton Hall, the locals begin to draw away from her, aware of some indefinable thing that sets her apart. And when Stephen Gordon reaches maturity, she falls passionately in love with another woman.
Introduced by Diana Souhami, author of the acclaimed biography The Trials of Radclyffe Hall
by Mary Renault
'Renault's masterpiece. One of the greatest historical novels ever written' SARAH WATERS
In the second novel of her stunning trilogy, Mary Renault vividly imagines the life of Alexander the Great, the charismatic leader whose drive and ambition created a legend.
The Persian Boy traces the last years of Alexander's life through the eyes of his lover, Bagoas. Abducted and gelded as a boy, Bagoas is sold as a courtesan to King Darius of Persia, but finds freedom with Alexander the Great after the Macedon army conquers his homeland. Their relationship sustains Alexander as he weathers assassination plots, the demands of two foreign wives, a sometimes mutinous army, and his own ferocious temper. After Alexander's mysterious death, we are left wondering if this Persian boy understood the great warrior and his ambitions better than anyone.
'Mary Renault is a shining light to both historical novelists and their readers. She does not pretend the past is like the present, or that the people of ancient Greece were just like us. She shows us their strangeness; discerning, sure-footed, challenging our values, piquing our curiosity, she leads us through an alien landscape that moves and delights us' Hilary Mantel
'The Alexander Trilogy stands as one of the most important works of fiction in the 20th century . . . it represents the pinnacle of [Renault's] career . . . Renault's skill is in immersing us in their world, drawing us into its strangeness, its violence and beauty. It's a literary conjuring trick like all historical fiction - it can only ever be an approximation of the truth. But in Renault's hands, the trick is so convincing and passionately conjured. Nowhere is this more evident than in The Persian Boy . . . Bagoas is a brilliant narrator. Rendered unreliable by his passion, he is always believeable and sympathetic . . . His Persian background allows him to see the king and his Macedonians through the questioning eyes of an alien' - Antonia Senior, The Times
by Sara Quin
by Tegan Quin
From iconic musicians Tegan and Sara comes a nostalgic memoir about high school, detailing their first loves and first songs in a compelling look back at their origin story.
'Honest and hilarious, dishy and sweet, smart and self-aware and utterly charming.' Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties
'What a gift' Ellen Page
High School is the revelatory and unique coming-of-age story of Sara and Tegan Quin, identical twins from Calgary, Alberta, growing up in the height of grunge and rave culture in the 90s, well before they became the celebrated musicians and global LGBTQ icons we know today. While grappling with their identity and sexuality, often alone, they also faced academic meltdown, their parents' divorce, and the looming pressure of what might come after high school.
Written in alternating chapters from both Tegan's point of view and Sara's, the book is a raw account of the drugs, alcohol, love, music and friendship they explored in their formative years. A transcendent story of first loves and first songs, it captures the tangle of discordant and parallel memories of two sisters who grew up in distinct ways even as they lived just down the hall from one another. This is the origin story of Tegan and Sara.
by Florence King
'Granny worked so hard at my rearing. She was a frustrated ladysmith and I was her last chance . . . This is the story of my years on her anvil. Whether she succeeded in making a lady out of me is for you to decide, but I will say one thing in my own favour before we begin. No matter which sex I went to bed with, I never smoked on the street.'
When Florence King was born, her Granny, a would-be Virginia grande dame, moved in. 'Anybody could have a family,' writes Miss King. 'She wanted a race all to herself.' Granny's dream of raising the perfect Southern belle failed dismally with her own daughter, a chain-smoking, baseball-playing tomboy given to wild expletives. Florence is Granny's last hope . . .
'I've never read so many perfect one-liners . . . This book is dynamite. Don't miss it' - Jeanette Winterston
'It's for everyone. Candid, authentic and utterly charming' Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet
'Funny and super relatable' Alice Oseman, author of Heartstopper
A tender and funny graphic memoir about identity, love and Willow from Buffy
Ellie always knew she was different. Contrary and creative, she wore black, obsessed over Willow in Buffy and somehow never really liked boys. As she grew, so did her fears and a deep sense of unbelonging. From her first communion to her first girlfriend via a swathe of self-denial, awkward encounters and everyday courage, Ellie's journey is told through tender and funny illustrations - a self-portrait sketched out from the heart.
The Times I Knew I Was Gay reminds us that sexuality is not often determined by falling in love with others, but by coming to terms with oneself; that people must come out not just once but again and again. Full of vitality and love, it will ring true for anyone who took time to discover who they truly are.
by Abbi Jacobson
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From the co-creator and co-star of the hit series Broad City, a hilarious and poignant collection about love, loss, work, comedy and figuring out who you really are when you thought you already knew.
When Abbi Jacobson announced to friends and acquaintances that she planned to drive across the country alone, she was met with lots of questions and opinions: Why wasn't she going with friends? Wouldn't it be incredibly lonely? The North route is better! Was it safe for a woman? The Southern route is the way to go! You should bring mace! And a common one . . . why? But Abbi had always found comfort in solitude, and needed space to step back and hit the reset button. As she spent time in each city and town on her way to Los Angeles, she mulled over the big questions - What do I really want? What is the worst possible scenario in which I could run into my ex? How has the decision to wear my shirts tucked in been pivotal in my adulthood? In this collection of anecdotes, observations and reflections - all told in the sharp, wildly funny and relatable voice that has endeared Abbi to critics and fans alike - readers will feel like they're in the passenger seat on a fun and, ultimately, inspiring journey. With some original illustrations by the author.
* 'The greatest psychological thriller of all time' ERIN KELLY
* 'One of the most influential novels of the twentieth century' SARAH WATERS
* 'It's the book every writer wishes they'd written' CLARE MACKINTOSH
NOW A MAJOR NETFLIX MOVIE STARRING LILY JAMES, ARMIE HAMMER AND KRISTEN SCOTT THOMAS
Working as a lady's companion, the orphaned heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. Whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to his brooding estate, Manderley, on the Cornish Coast, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers . . .
Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.
By the bestselling author of The Talented Mr Ripley, Carol and Strangers on a Train
Completed just months before Patricia Highsmith's death in 1995, Small g explores the labyrinthine intricacies of passion, sexuality, and jealousy in a charming tale of love misdirected.
'What is most remarkable in this novel is the empathy . . . with which Highsmith writes about gay men . . . one can imagine the small g existing, a piquant mixture of bohemianism and respectability, exactly as Highsmith describes it' Francis King, Spectator
At the 'small g', a Zurich bar known for its not exclusively gay clientele, the lives of a small community are played out one summer.
Rickie Markwalder is a designer whose lover Petey was brutally murdered. Rickie and his performing dog Lulu are regulars at the bar, as are vindictive Renate, a seamstress, and her teenage apprentice Luisa. Into their lives comes Teddie, impressionable and beautiful, and a catalyst for the series of events that will change everything.
Patricia Highsmith's final novel is an intricate exploration of love and sexuality, the depths of spite and the triumph of human kindness. It is a work that, in the tradition of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, shows us how bizarre and unpredictable love can be. Small g, in the words of her biographer Andrew Wilson, is an 'extended fairy tale suggesting that...happiness is precarious and...romance should be embraced.'
by June Eric-Udorie
'A map for how feminism can move forward inclusively' (GRAZIA), featuring essays by writers including Brit Bennett, bestselling author of The Vanishing Half, and Afua Hirsch, bestselling author of Brit(ish)
Black Lives Matter * Trans Rights * Sex Workers' Rights * Body Positivity * Disability Rights * Immigration * British Muslims * Intersectionality * Latinx Identity * Colourism
How can we make feminism more inclusive?
In Can We All Be Feminists? seventeen writers from diverse backgrounds wrestle with this question, exploring what feminism means to them in the context of their other identities. Edited by the inspiring activist and writer June Eric-Udorie, this impassioned, thought-provoking collection offers a vision for a new feminism that is truly for all.
Including essays by: Soofiya Andry, Gabrielle Bellot, Caitlin Cruz, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Brit Bennett, Evette Dionne, Aisha Gani, Afua Hirsch, Juliet Jacques, Wei Ming Kam, Mariya Karimjee, Eishar Kaur, Emer O'Toole, Frances Ryan, Zoé Samudzi, Charlotte Shane and Selina Thompson.
'As timely as it is well-written, this clear-eyed collection is just what I need right now' Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone
'Not just a key read but a mandatory one' STYLIST
'The intersectional feminist anthology we all need to read' BUSTLE
Shortlisted for the 2019 Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing
by Stella Duffy
Based on a true story, London Lies Beneath is a compelling historical novel from the award-winning writer Stella Duffy.
'As gloriously alive as the turn of the century south London streets it portrays' RED
In August 1912, three friends set out on an adventure. Two of them come home.
Tom, Jimmy and Itzhak have grown up together in the crowded slums of Walworth. All three boys are expected to follow their father's trades and stay close to home. But Tom has wider dreams. So when he hears of a scouting trip, sailing from Waterloo to Sheppey and the mouth of the Thames - he is determined to go. And Itzhak and Jimmy go with him.
Inspired by real events, this is the story of three friends, and a tragedy that will change them for ever. It is also a song of south London, of working class families with hidden histories, of a bright and complex world long neglected. London Lies Beneath is a powerful and compelling novel, rich with life and full of wisdom.
'Vivid and full of heart, Duffy's new novel is a fitting hymn to the city that inspired it' FINANCIAL TIMES
'A paean not just to South London, but to a vanished way of working-class life . . . Duffy's narrative is as fluid as a costermonger's patter, carrying the reader along' DAILY MAIL