LGBTQ Fiction


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A Reader's Advisory Overview

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LGBTQ Fiction

  1. 1. LGBTQ FictionA Readers Advisory Overview
  2. 2. Me•Leah White•Readers Services Librarian atNorthbrook Public Library•@leahlibrarian••
  3. 3. The Plan•Define•Appeal and Readers•History and Classic Authors•Genre Breakdown•Resources
  4. 4. What is LGBTQ?Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer
  5. 5. LGBTQ Fiction• "LGBTQ fiction explores the lives and experiences ofgay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender individuals from aLGBTQ point of view. Novels that fall into this categorymay be of any genre and can appeal to readers of allsexual orientations and gender identities. These storiesdo not necessarily identify the author’s sexualorientation or gender identity but often authors in theLGBTQ community are included." - from the ARRTGenre Boot Camp
  6. 6. Characteristics•A gay, lesbian, bi-sexual,transgender, or queer characteror group perspective must berepresented•Often explore difficulty living lifeas an outsider•Characters have feelings ofestrangement from friends orfamily due to their sexualorientation or gender identity
  7. 7. That said...•LGBTQ Fiction is as diverse as its readers•Sub genres tend to define thecharacteristics
  8. 8. Appeal•Readers belonging to the LGBTQcommunity identify with thestories and appreciate thevalidation of their experience•Readers outside of the LGBTQcommunity can gain anunderstanding of the lives andcultures of their neighbors.
  9. 9. Readers•As issues of the LGBTQ community become main-stream,readers of this category continue to grow•Readers come from all cultural and religious backgrounds,and various sexual identities•For example, literary fiction in this genre has beenpopular for a long time•These novels make excellent choices for book discussionsas they often introduce the theme of cultural differenceswithin society
  10. 10. Brief HistoryClassic Authors
  11. 11. Background•Historically, LGBTQ literature is not new•Sappho was writing lesbian poetry in 7th century BCE•Plato wrote about homosexual themes in his workSymposium in 4th century BCE•LGBTQ Fiction as we know it today became popular inthe 20th century•Gained more respect and recognition after the creationof the Lambda Literary Award in the late 1980s
  12. 12. Classic authors & titles•Giovannis Room by James Baldwin - a young Americanman begins an affair with an Italian bartender in Paris•Orlando by Virginia Woolf - a young nobleman inElizabethan era ends up as a liberated woman in the 1920s•Maurice by E. M. Forster - a tale of same sex love in 20thcentury England, published after his death•Other classic authors: Christopher Isherwood, EdmundWhite, Radclyffe Hall, Larry Kramer, Gore Vidal, Jean Genet,Djuna Barnes, Nancy Garden
  13. 13. Genre BreakdownThe more we know, the better service we can give.
  14. 14. Literary Fiction
  15. 15. Alan Hollinghurst•British novelist•Awards: Man Booker Prize,Stonewall Book Award, E. M.Forster Award, LambdaLiterary Award (multiple)•"Combines the joys of thetraditional tropes of the 19th-century novel with acontemporary sensibilityunencumbered by the 19thcentury’s social strictures,"from The Millions interview
  16. 16. The Line of Beauty•Booker winner in 2004•Nick Guest is a young gay man workingon his thesis on Henry James in the 1980swhen he goes to stay with a wealthy family•With Thatchers England as a backdrop,the novel deals heavily in politics andsexuality•Touches on the beginning of the AIDSCrisis•Suggest to fans of Colm Toibin, ZadieSmith, or Ian McEwan
  17. 17. Michael Cunningham•American writer•Awards: PEN/Faulkner Award forFiction, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction,Whiting Writers Award, LambdaLiterary Award for Gay Mens Fiction,Stonewall Book Award-BarbaraGittings Literature Award•Best known for The Hours, whichresulted in a Pulitzer Prize and anaward winning film of the samename
  18. 18. The Hours•Tells three stories in three time periods, allintertwined by their connection to theVirginia Woolf novel, Mrs. Dalloway•One character is Virginia Woolf dealing withher mental illness; another is a stay-at-home mother during the 1950s strugglingwith her own realization that she is alesbian; and finally a current time lesbianwho is throwing a party for her good friendwho is dying of an AIDs related illness•Suggest to fans of Richard Russo, AnnieProulx, or Jonathan Franzen
  19. 19. Carol Anshaw•Midwestern author•Awards: Nominated for the LambdaLiterary Award for Lesbian Fiction. Wona Carl Sandburg Award, a Ferro-Grumley Award and Society of MidlandAuthors Award•"She intimately dissects how one eventor choice can alter the trajectory of alife, how a fork in the road can lead towholly unexpected and divergentoutcomes," from NYT review of Carrythe One
  20. 20. Carry the One•When a group of friends accidentally killsa girl while drunkenly driving home after awedding, the lives of the people involvedbecome inextricably intertwined•The novel spans 25 years, examine theeffects of the accident on the cast ofcharacters•While the book deals with serious topicsand relationships theres also humor andwit•Suggest to fans of Lauren Groff, JennniferHaigh, or Tom Perotta
  21. 21. Emma Donoghue•Irish-born author•Awards: Lambda Literary Award forLesbian Fiction, Stonewall BookAward-Barbara Gittings LiteratureAward•Author of the extremely popular,Booker prize nominee novel, Room•"Donoghue displays a ventriloquist’suncanny ability to slip in and out ofvoices," from the NYT review of Astray
  22. 22. Astray•A collection of short stories on thetheme of emigration•All are based on actual historicalletters and documents of peoplewho lived but are now dead•The stories show Donoghues skillwith moving between characters ofall genders and sexual orientations•Suggest to fans of Alice Munro,Barbara Kingsolver, or Carol Anshaw
  23. 23. Leslie Feinberg•Groundbreaking author andtransgender activist•Awards: Lambda Literary Awardfor Small Press Book Award,Stonewall Book Award-BarbaraGittings Literature Award•Wrote what many consider to bethe first work of fiction abouttransgendered women living asmen
  24. 24. Stone Butch Blues•Often mistaken as autobiographical•First person account of the butch -femme culture in 1960s America•Also a coming of age tale of Jess, aworking class butch passing as a manwho works in a factory•Not an easy read but definitely a must-read in the genre•Suggest to fans of Augusten Burroughs,James Frey, or Emma Donoghue
  25. 25. Genre Fiction
  26. 26. Ellen Hart•American Mystery writer•Awards: Lambda Literary Award forLesbian Mystery (several),Minnesota Award for Best PopularFiction, Golden Crown LiteraryAward•Written 28 cozy mysteries andcounting•Her older mysteries are beingrereleased in trade paperback
  27. 27. Jane Lawless series•Set in Minneapolis•Jane Lawless is a lesbian restaurateurand an amateur sleuth•"Hart never overplays Janeslesbianism. It is just a fact of life in thistruly engaging mystery series," fromLJ review of The Cruel Ever After•Suggest to fans of Diane MottDavidson, Joanne Fluke, or othercozy writers
  28. 28. Sarah Waters•Welsh novelist•Best known for her historical fiction set inthe Victorian period, featuring lesbianmain characters•Awards: CWA Ellis Peters HistoricalDagger Award, Lambda Literary Awardfor Lesbian Fiction, Stonewall BookAward-Barbara Gittings Literature Award•Enjoys taking story lines that aretraditionally seen as heterosexual andexploring them through a lesbianperspective
  29. 29. Fingersmith•Shortlisted for both the Booker andOrange Prize, winner of the CWA EllisPeters Dagger• An orphan girl is raised among thievesand plays a key role in swindling awealthy family but finds herself falling inlove with the daughter of the family•Pacing of a thriller and the authenticityof a well-researched historical novel•Suggest to fans of Michel Faber, DianeSetterfield, or A.S. Byatt
  30. 30. Jeanette Winterson•British writer•Erotica, Speculative, Literary, Historical•Awards: E. M. Forster Award, CostaFirst Novel Award, Lambda LiteraryAward for Lesbian Fiction, BritishAcademy Television Award for BestSingle Drama•Her recent memoir, Why Be HappyWhen You Could Be Normal, isenjoying widespread critical acclaim
  31. 31. Written on the Body•A work of literary erotica•A meditation on love, pleasure,sexual awakening, and the bodywritten from a non-genderednarrator•The narrator falls in love with amarried woman and begins an affair•Suggest to readers looking toexplore erotica but not sure whereto start
  32. 32. E. Lynn Harris•American author of Urban Fiction•Passed away in 2009•Awards: Lambda Literary Award forAnthologies•Best known for his novels aboutAfrican American men who arecloseted or on the "down low"•He authored 10 consecutive booksthat made the NYT Bestseller list
  33. 33. Invisible Life•First in a trilogy•Follows the story of a young blackattorney who realizes he is bisexual butcontinues to live his life in the closet•Started a self published book that Harrissold out of the back of his car•During his lifetime he was one of thebest selling African American and gayauthors•Suggest to fans of Ernest Gaines, EricJerome Dickey, or Urban Fiction
  34. 34. Alison Bechdel•American cartoonist and writer ofgraphic novels•Awards: Lambda Literary Award forHumor, Stonewall Book Awards - IsraelFishman Non-Fiction Award, LambdaLiterary Award for Lesbian Biography/Autobiography, Lambda Literary Awardfor Lesbian Memoir/Biography•Her comic strip, Dykes to Watch OutFor, made her famous in the LGBTQcommunity but she found widespreadpopularity with her memoir, Funhouse
  35. 35. Are You My Mother?•Bechdels first memoir documents withher relationship with her father but thisbook explores her relationship with hermother•The story intertwines with herpsychoanalysis sessions•It also explores various literary works,including the works of Virginia Woolf•Suggest to readers who are interested inexploring Graphic Novels but not surewhere to start. Also suggested to fans ofgraphic memoirs
  36. 36. Triptych by J.M. Frey•Science Fiction•Considered one of the best novels of2011 by Publishers Weekly•On a future Earth, everything is peacefuland aliens can integrate peacefully intosociety•A new race that mates in threes stirs upsexual politics and eventually violentprotests•Suggest to fans of The Forever Warseries by Joe Haldeman
  37. 37. A Land Fit For Heroes series•Epic Fantasy series by Richard K.Morgan•"If what you feel has been missingfrom your average Tolkien-clone ishot, gay sex, then this is the bookfor you," from a Goodreads review.•Follows anti-hero Ringil Eskiath in aviolent and unforgiving environment.•Great read alike for Game ofThrones fans
  38. 38. Fan Fiction•Many of your patrons are already reading this•Fan Fiction is fiction written about characters thatalready exist in other stories•Published online, for free•More recently, fan fiction has been in the spotlight afterstories like Fifty Shades of Grey became popular
  39. 39. Slash Fiction•The term "slash fiction" comes from the slashdistinguishing who the erotica is about - male/male orfemale/female•Rooted in the fan fiction culture but does lead readers toerotica, making it important to have a basic understanding•While many writers and readers of slash are straightwomen, lesbian and bisexual women are also active in theculture•Characters and couplings mirror popular culture
  40. 40.
  41. 41. Young Adult•Began in the late 1960s with thepublication of Ill Get There. It BetterBe Worth the Trip by John Donovan•The popularity of authors like DavidLevithan has given the genre awider readership•Deal with topics like coming out,love stories, and often bullying•Read by both teens and youngeradults
  42. 42. Resources•glbtq:, an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual,transgender, and queer culture•Rainbow Book Reviews:, reviewsGLBTQ related books and authors - great resource for romanceand erotica•Read Something Fabulous:, excellent review blog forYA - make sure to check out the Starter Kit•Popular LGBT on Goodreads:, great book list for what people are currently reading
  43. 43. Resources•GLBT Literature:, authorlists, reading group guides, book reviews•Lambda Literary:, reading group guides,author lists, publisher lists, literary magazines•Major Awards: Lambda Literary Awards, Stonewall Book Awards•Other Awards: Dayne Ogilvie Prize (Canadian), GaylacticSpectrum Awards (speculative), James Tiptree, Jr. Award(speculative - focuses on gender), Rainbow List (GLBT RoundTable - covers birth - 18 years of age)
  44. 44. All Things Considered•LGBTQ Fiction is a valid and rich literary genre thatcovers many different sub genres•As LGBTQ issues continue to find more coverage andequality, this genre will increase in popularity•These are the basics. Now go learn more!
  45. 45. Thank you!http://leahwhite.weebly.com
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