A digital collage of 12 Vintage books against a magenta background.

We Can Do Better Than This, edited by Amelia Abraham (2021)

‘The starting point to change is acknowledging there’s a lot more to do.’ Tom Rasmussen

How can we create a better world for LGBTQ+ people? 35 extraordinary voices, including Beth Ditto, Owen Jones, Peppermint, Olly Alexander, Tom Rasmussen and Wolfgang Tillmans share their stories and visions for the future in this thought-provoking collection of essays.

My Policeman by Bethan Roberts (2012)

‘Conventions, other people’s opinions, the law, all appear laughable in the face of your desire, your drive to reach your love.’

An exquisitely told, tragic tale of thwarted love, set in 1950s’ Brighton, Bethan Roberts’s quietly charismatic policeman is caught in a complex love-triangle with his wife and another man. Soon to be adapted into a film for Amazon Prime starring Harry Styles and Emma Corrin.

The Queens’ English by Chloe O. Davis, introduced by Paula Akpan (2021)

‘Our similarities and our differences unite us, and as a result, labels do, too.’

The Queens' English is a comprehensive guide to modern gay slang, queer theory terms, and playful colloquialisms that define and celebrate LGBTQ+ culture. This modern dictionary provides an in-depth look at queer language and a celebration of queer history, identity, and the limitless imagination of the LGBTQ+ community.

An Experiment in Leisure by Anna Glendenning (2021)

‘Some human relationships were simply damage limitation no matter how hard you tried.’

A sharp and witty debut novel that is at once a tender portrait of youth and an exploration of the emotional costs of social mobility, the possibilities of leaving and returning, the meanings of work and the ways a woman learns to love a woman. 

Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (1985)

‘There are many forms of love and affection, some people can spend their whole lives together without knowing each other’s names... But on the wild nights who can call you home? Only the one who knows your name.’ 

At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home and her family for the young woman she loves. Winterson’s classic rite-of-passage first novel is well worth revisiting and is as explosive and extraordinary as when first published in 1985.

A Dutiful Boy by Mohsin Zaidi (2020)

‘What matters is not this story, not my story, but the story of what happens next.’ 

Mohsin Zaidi’s personal journey from denial to acceptance, growing up in a devout Muslim household where it felt impossible to be gay, to being the first person from his school to attend the University of Oxford, where new experiences and encounters helped him discover who he truly wanted to be.

Ballad of a Happy Immigrant by Leo Boix (2021)

‘Sleep tight

for night is all

there is: the limbs of men

their pain and grief. I too succumb

to this.’ 

A collection of poems on what it means to live, love and write between two cultures and traditions, an exploration of otherness and home.

Some Body to Love by Alexandra Heminsley (2021)

‘The only way I could truly be comfortable in my own skin was by being ruthlessly honest, and committing to being an ally of the LGBT+ community.’ 

Shortly after the birth of their child, Alexandra Heminsley learned that her then-husband was going to transition. This is a profoundly open-hearted memoir about losing a husband but gaining a best friend, and together bringing up a baby in a changing world.

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang (2021)

‘My mother always says that the story you believe depends on the body you’re in.’

Three generations of Taiwanese American women are haunted by the myths of their homeland in this spellbinding, visceral debut about one family’s queer desires, violent impulses and buried secrets.

The Secret to Superhuman Strength by Alison Bechdel (2021)

‘Far from relegating me to the Well of Loneliness, coming out had brought me into the human fold. I had a lot of friends for the first time.’ 

An extraordinary, laugh-out-loud graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel has written a deeply layered, personal story about selfhood, self-sabotage, mortality, addiction, bliss, wonder and the concerns of a generation.

Surge by Jay Bernard (2019)

‘am I the steaming black street, am I the banner and the band, the crush,

lilting ale, tipsy hug, charged flesh and open eye’ 

Tracing a line from New Cross to the ‘towers of blood’ of the Grenfell fire, this urgent collection speaks with, in and of the voices of the past, brought back by the incantation of dancehall rhythms and the music of Jamaican patois, to form a living presence in the absence of justice.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (2019)

‘I am writing because they told me to never start a sentence with because. But I wasn’t trying to make a sentence – I was trying to break free.’ 

Brilliant, heartbreaking and highly original, Ocean Vuong’s debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, and a testament to the redemptive power of storytelling.

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