20 Exceptional Books by Transgender and Non-Binary Writers – Novels and Non-Fiction That’ll Enthral You, Entertain You, Move You and Mend You.

Sparked by reading Queer Life, Queer Love, a dazzling anthology published by Muswell Press that showcases 43 writings (short stories, poetry, and narrative non-fiction) by exceptional LGBTQI+ voices, this Collection celebrates a selection of books by outstanding transgender and non-binary writers (Queer Life, Queer Love is published in memory of Lucy Reynolds, the trans daughter of Sarah Beal, publisher at Muswell Press, and niece of co-publisher Kate Beal). From contemporary soon-to-be-classics, to remarkable memoirs, to compelling coming-of-age masterworks, these books will variously grip, move, enthral, and entertain. And some of them might just change the way you think. 

Bestselling writer and video artist Akwaeke Emezi is a true tour de force of contemporary literature. Dear Senthuran, their remarkable memoir in letters, is at once intimate, honest, spiritual and brutal, while Pet, written for young adults, tells the incisively inventive story of a Black trans teen fighting to save the world from monsters that no one else will admit exist (Emezi’s talents are nothing but versatile). Sticking with the memoir theme, Jackson Bird’s Sorted is a soulfully warm and witty account of the author’s coming-of-age and coming to terms with his gender and bisexuality. It’s a beautiful, big-hearted book.

If short stories are more your thing, Juliet Jacques’ Variations is a treasure trove of tales about trans lives in Britain from Oscar Wilde’s trial, to contemporary times. Though the stories are all informed by real-life events, and variously explore themes of friendship, community and identity, each of them takes an entirely different style and format, making it utterly unique as well as utterly engaging.

Before we leave you to explore the Collection, mention must be made of one of our LoveReading favourites - award-winning writer, journalist and Stonewall School Role Model Juno Dawson. Juno’s journalism and non-fiction are always whip-smart and compassionately informative (and funny with it), while her fiction for young adults is dynamic, deep and delivered as irresistible blasts of dialogue-driven novels that thrill, chill, and quicken the pulse - no matter what your age.

Stay Another Day

Stay Another Day

Author: Juno Dawson Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/11/2021

Pacey, racy and reeling with real-life struggles, comforts and joys, Juno Dawson’s Stay Another Day is a cracker of a Christmas novel, with a compelling home for the holidays set-up - if you watched the TV series Why Women Kill, you’ll also appreciate how the novel is framed through the 120-year history of the family home. Sparkling with the author’s trademark talent for writing authentic dialogue (funny, thought-provoking, always on the mark) and rounded characters, this seasonal story is as satisfyingly-formed (and moreish) as a chocolate orange. When the three McAllister siblings convene at the family home in Edinburgh for Christmas, secrets, lies and lusts come together to create an absolute banger of a novel. Star student Fern, a self-professed embodiment of Lisa from The Simpsons, arrives from London with her stunning boyfriend, Thom, while her twin Rowan (gay, an aspiring actor, and consumed by FOMO) brings his best friend Syd. Though Fern is, as always, determined to enjoy the perfect family Christmas, she notes that “Christmas with a mixed-race boyfriend and a non-binary and mixed-race best friend is a potential minefield. Where are you from? But where are you really from?” Then there’s the twin’s younger sister, Willow, still living at home and constantly scrutinised due to her anorexia. As the big day draws closer, past liaisons and unfolding secrets envelop the family like a tangle of Christmas tree lights, setting the scene for a series of snowy showdowns and a whole lot of soul-searching. Hearty, satisfying stuff, with seasonal cheer shining bright through the real-life strife.

The Gender Games

The Gender Games

Author: Juno Dawson Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/02/2018

'It's a boy!' or 'It's a girl!' are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world. Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes - before we, or anyone else, has any idea who we are. And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we've been getting it. Gender isn't just screwing over trans people, it's messing with everyone. From little girls who think they can't be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment. From exclusionist feminists to 'alt-right' young men. From men who can't cry to the women who think they shouldn't. As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story, but the story of everyone who is shaped by society's expectations of gender - and what we can do about it. Featuring insights from well-known gender, feminist and trans activists including Rebecca Root, Laura Bates, Gemma Cairney, Anthony Anaxagorou, Hannah Witton, Alaska Thunderfuck and many more, The Gender Games is a frank, witty and powerful manifesto for a world in which everyone can truly be themselves. The Gender Games has been optioned by SunnyMarch Productions to be turned into an original television series, written by Rose Lewenstein.

Wonderland

Wonderland

Author: Juno Dawson Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/05/2020

Fall into the lives of the city's filthy rich with Juno Dawson's deliciously dark and intoxicating London Collection. FROM THE WINNER OF THE YA BOOK PRIZE 2020 What happens when you fall down the rabbit hole? The compulsive must-have follow-up to CLEAN and MEAT MARKET from bestselling, award-winning author Juno Dawson Alice lives in a world of stifling privilege and luxury - but none of it means anything when your own head plays tricks on your reality. When her troubled friend Bunny goes missing, Alice becomes obsessed with finding her. On the trail of her last movements, Alice discovers a mysterious invitation to 'Wonderland': the party to end all parties - three days of hedonistic excess to which only the elite are welcome. Will she find Bunny there? Or is this really a case of finding herself? Because Alice has secrets of her own, and ruthless socialite queen Paisley Hart is determined to uncover them, whatever it takes. Alice is all alone, miles from home, and now she has a new enemy who wants her head... A searing exploration of mental health, gender and privilege, from the most addictive YA novelist in the UK today. NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNGER READERS

What's the T?

What's the T?

Author: Juno Dawson Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/02/2021

Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2022 Information Books 3-14 What’s the T? is street talk for ‘tell me the truth’ and this is exactly what Juno Dawson sets out to do. This Book is Gay by the same author became a staple purchase for school libraries and this new title absolutely deserves the same treatment and indeed should be purchased for the staff shelf too. This reader is paranoid about the correct language and terminology and I feel far more confident in my understanding now. The excellent glossary is worth the purchase price alone. Although it sets out to answer all the possible questions that anyone feeling body dysmorphia or anybody supporting a friend or family member with similar anxieties, could come up with, my strongest impression was one of moral rectitude. Without being strident or patronising and in her warm, witty and friendly way, the author makes very clear the right of every human being to define themselves and to be able to live their lives without fear. Many misconceptions (often generated by ill-informed or blatantly hateful messages in mainstream and social media) are firmly laid to rest. Notably what is and is not actually possible in terms of treatment for young people under 18. The information and advice given does not sugar coat anything. Nobody could be left in any doubt of the difficulties and the time that it would take to make any sort of transition, nor that there is one simple answer or one simple journey. The fascinating look at the history of transgender in different cultures and the witness statements from trans and non-binary people across the globe, give those of us in our cisgender privilege a salutary wake-up call, which is why this book has value for any sociology, politics or philosophy students too. An essential purchase for secondary schools and a recommended addition to any young person's bookshelf.

Felix Ever After

Felix Ever After

Author: Kacen Callender Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/05/2021

From award-winning author Kacen Callender comes a revelatory YA novel about a transgender teen grappling with identity and self-discovery while falling in love for the first time. Felix Love has never been in love - and, yes, he's painfully aware of the irony. He desperately wants to know what it's like and why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. What's worse is that, even though he is proud of his identity, Felix also secretly fears that he's one marginalisation too many - Black, queer and transgender - to ever get his own happily-ever-after. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages - after publicly posting Felix's deadname alongside images of him before he transitioned - Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. What he didn't count on: his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle . . . But as he navigates his complicated feelings, Felix begins a journey of questioning and self-discovery that helps redefine his most important relationship: how he feels about himself. Felix Ever After is an honest and layered story about identity, falling in love, and recognising the love you deserve.

If I Was Your Girl

If I Was Your Girl

Author: Meredith Russo Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2016

June 2016 NewGen Debut of the Month. Amanda Hardy is the new girl at school. Like everyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she's falling in love with. Amanda has a secret. At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out... Zoella Book Club title Autumn 16.

eBooks of the Month
Dear Senthuran

Dear Senthuran

Author: Akwaeke Emezi Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/07/2021

One of Stylist's Best Memoirs for Summer 2021 In letters addressed to their friends, to members of their family - both biological and chosen - and to fellow storytellers, Akwaeke describes the shape of a life lived in overlapping realities. Through heartbreak, chronic pain, intimacy with death, becoming a beast, this is embodiment as a nonhuman: outside the boundaries imposed by expectations and legibility. This book is an account of the grueling work of realignment and remaking necessary to carve out a future for oneself. The result is a Black spirit memoir: a powerful, raw unfolding of identity.

The Death of Vivek Oji

The Death of Vivek Oji

Author: Akwaeke Emezi Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/05/2021

SHORTLISTED FOR THE DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE  They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died. One afternoon, a mother opens her front door to find the length of her son's body stretched out on the veranda, swaddled in akwete material, his head on her welcome mat. The Death of Vivek Oji transports us to the day of Vivek's birth, the day his grandmother Ahunna died. It is the story of an over protective mother and a distant father, and the heart-wrenching tale of one family's struggle to understand their child, just as Vivek learns to recognize himself. Teeming with unforgettable characters whose lives have been shaped by Vivek's gentle and enigmatic spirit, it shares with us a Nigerian childhood that challenges expectations. This novel, and its celebration of the innocence and optimism of youth, will touch all those who embrace it.

Pet

Pet

Author: Akwaeke Emezi Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/11/2019

In their riveting and timely young adult debut, acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi asks difficult questions about what choices a young person can make when the adults around them are in denial.

Debut Books of the Month
Freshwater

Freshwater

Author: Akwaeke Emezi Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/12/2018

Ada has always been unusual. Her parents prayed her into existence, but something must have gone awry. Their troubled child begins to develop separate selves and is prone to fits of anger and grief. When Ada grows up and heads to college in America, a traumatic event crystallises the selves into something more powerful. As Ada fades into the background of her own mind, these 'alters' - now protective, now hedonistic - take control, shifting her life in a dangerous direction.

Confessions of the Fox

Confessions of the Fox

Author: Jordy Rosenberg Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/05/2019

Jack Sheppard - a transgender carpenter's apprentice - has fled his master's house to become a notorious prison break artist, and Bess Khan has escaped the draining of the fenlands to become a revolutionary mastermind. Together, they find themselves at the center of a web of corruption leading back to the dreaded Thief-Catcher General ... ...Or so we are told in a mysterious manuscript unearthed by one Professor R. Voth. Voth traces the origins and authenticity of the manuscript as Jack and Bess trace the connections between the bowels of Newgate Prison and the dissection chambers of the Royal College, in a bawdy collision of a novel about gender, love, and liberation. SHORTLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE

Paul Takes the Form of A Mortal Girl

Paul Takes the Form of A Mortal Girl

Author: Andrea Lawlor Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/02/2020

It's 1993 and Paul Polydoris tends bar at the only gay club in a university town thrumming with politics and partying. He studies queer theory, has a lesbian best friend, makes zines, and is a flaneur with a rich dating life. But Paul's also got a secret: he's a shapeshifter. Oscillating wildly from Riot Grrrl to leather cub, Women's Studies major to trade, Paul transforms his body at will in a series of adventures that take him from Iowa City to Boystown to Provincetown and finally to San Francisco - a journey through the deep queer archives of struggle and pleasure. Andrea Lawlor's debut novel offers a speculative history of early 90s identity politics during the heyday of ACT UP and Queer Nation. Paul Takes the Form of A Mortal Girl is a riotous, razor-sharp bildungsroman whose hero/ine wends his way through a world gutted by loss, pulsing with music, and opening into an array of intimacy and connections.

Variations

Variations

Author: Juliet Jacques Format: Paperback Release Date: 17/06/2021

Variations is the debut short story collection from one of Britain's most compelling voices, Juliet Jacques. Using fiction inspired by found material and real-life events, Variations explores the history of transgender Britain with lyrical, acerbic wit. Variations travels from Oscar Wilde's London to austerity-era Belfast via inter-war Cardiff, a drag bar in Liverpool just after the decriminalisation of homosexuality, Manchester's protests against Clause 28, and Brighton in the 2000s. Through diary entries of an illicit love affair, an oral history of a contemporary political collective; a 1920s academic paper to a 1990s film script; a 1950s memoir to a series of 2014 blog posts, Jacques rewrites and reinvigorates a history so often relegated to stale police records and sensationalist news headlines. Innovative and fresh, Variations is a bold and beautiful book of stories unheard; until now.

Trans

Trans

Author: Juliet Jacques Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/11/2016

In July 2012, aged thirty, Juliet Jacques underwent sex reassignment surgery—a process she chronicled with unflinching honesty in a serialised national newspaper column. Trans tells of her life to the present moment: a story of growing up, of defining yourself, and of the rapidly changing world of gender politics. Fresh from university, eager to escape a dead-end job, she launches a career as a writer in a publishing culture dominated by London cliques and still figuring out the impact of the Internet. She navigates the treacherous waters of a world where, even in the liberal and feminist media, transgender identities go unacknowledged, misunderstood or worse. Yet through art, film, music, politics and football, Jacques starts to become the person she had only imagined, and begins the process of transition. Interweaving the personal with the political, her memoir is a powerful exploration of debates that comprise trans politics, issues which promise to redefine our understanding of what it means to be alive. Revealing, honest, humorous, and self-deprecating, Trans includes an epilogue with Sheila Heti, author of How Should a Person Be?, in which Jacques and Heti discuss the cruxes of writing and identity.

Sorted

Sorted

Author: Jackson Bird Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/10/2019

An unflinching and endearing memoir from LGBTQ+ advocate Jackson Bird about how he finally sorted things out and came out as a transgender man. When Jackson Bird was twenty-five, he came out as transgender to his friends, family, and anyone in the world with an internet connection. Assigned female at birth and raised as a girl, he often wondered if he should have been born a boy. Jackson didn't share this thought with anyone because he didn't think he could share it with anyone. Growing up in Texas in the 1990s, he had no transgender role models. He barely remembers meeting anyone who was openly gay, let alone being taught that transgender people existed outside of punchlines. In this soulful and heartfelt coming-of-age story (Jamia Wilson, director and publisher of the Feminist Press), Jackson chronicles the ups and downs of growing up gender-confused. Illuminated by journal entries spanning childhood to adolescence to today, he candidly recalls the challenges and loneliness he endured as he came to terms with both his gender and his bisexual identity. With warmth and wit, Jackson also recounts how he navigated the many obstacles and quirks of his transition--like figuring out how to have a chest binder delivered to his NYU dorm room and having an emotional breakdown at a Harry Potter fan convention. From his first shot of testosterone to his eventual top surgery, Jackson lets you in on every part of his journey-taking the time to explain trans terminology and little-known facts about gender and identity along the way. A compassionate, tender-hearted, and accessible book for anyone who might need a hand to hold as they walk through their own transition or the transition of a loved one (Austin Chant, author of Peter Darling), Sorted demonstrates the power and beauty in being yourself, even when you're not sure who yourself is.

Detransition, Baby

Detransition, Baby

Author: Torrey Peters Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/01/2021

Reese nearly had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York, a job she didn't hate. She'd scraped together a life previous generations of trans women could only dream of; the only thing missing was a child. Then everything fell apart and three years on Reese is still in self-destruct mode, avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men. When her ex calls to ask if she wants to be a mother, Reese finds herself intrigued. After being attacked in the street, Amy de-transitioned to become Ames, changed jobs and, thinking he was infertile, started an affair with his boss Katrina. Now Katrina's pregnant. Could the three of them form an unconventional family - and raise the baby together?

The Passing Playbook

The Passing Playbook

Author: Isaac Fitzsimons Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

Love, Simon meets Friday Night Lights in this feelgood LGBTQ+ romance about a trans teen torn between standing up for his rights and staying stealth. Fifteen-year-old Spencer Harris is a proud nerd, an awesome big brother and a Messi-in-training. He's also transgender. After transitioning at his old school leads to a year of bullying, Spencer gets a fresh start at Oakley, the most liberal private school in Ohio. At Oakley, Spencer seems to have it all: more accepting classmates, a decent shot at a starting position on the boy's soccer team, great new friends, and maybe even something more than friendship with one of his teammates. The problem is, no one at Oakley knows Spencer is trans - he's passing. So when a discriminatory law forces Spencer's coach to bench him after he discovers the 'F' on Spencer's birth certificate, Spencer has to make a choice: cheer his team on from the sidelines or publicly fight for his right to play, even if it means coming out to everyone - including the guy he's falling for. Perfect for fans of Red, White and Royal Blue.

The City in the Middle of the Night

The City in the Middle of the Night

Author: Charlie Jane Anders Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/03/2020

Entertainment Weekly's 27 Female Authors Who Rule Sci-Fi and Fantasy Right Now All the Birds in the Sky - Winner of the 2017 Nebula Award for Best Novel, Finalist for the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Novel If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams... And from there, it's easy to control our entire lives. January is a dying planet - divided between a permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. Humanity clings to life, spread across two archaic cities built in the sliver of habitable dusk. But life inside the cities is just as dangerous as the wastelands outside. Sophie, a student and reluctant revolutionary, is supposed to be dead, after being exiled into the night. Saved only by forming an unusual bond with the enigmatic beasts who roam the ice, Sophie vows to stay hidden from the world, hoping she can heal. But fate has other plans - and Sophie's ensuing odyssey and the ragtag family she finds will change the entire world.

Don't Call Us Dead

Don't Call Us Dead

Author: Danez Smith Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/01/2018

Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a ground-breaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don't Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality - the dangers experienced in skin and body and blood - and an HIV-positive diagnosis. 'Some of us are killed / in pieces,' Smith writes, 'some of us all at once.' Don't Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes an America where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.

Something That May Shock and Discredit You

Something That May Shock and Discredit You

Author: Daniel Mallory Ortberg Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/04/2020

A New York Times bestselling feminist author's sparkling memoir of gender transition (among many other things). Reasons for Transitioning: Want to impress good-looking ex; Want to upset good-looking ex; Bored of existing wardrobe, looking for excuse to buy all-new clothes that don't fit in a new way; Younger siblings getting too much attention; Neoliberalism??; Want to sing both parts of a duet at karaoke; Something about upper-body strength; Excited to reinforce a different set of sexist stereotypes; Cheaper haircuts; Just love layering shirts ... From the beloved writer behind The Toast and Slate's 'Dear Prudence' column comes a personal essay collection exploring popular culture, literature, religion, and sexuality. With wit and compassion, Daniel Mallory Ortberg revisits beloved cultural and literary figures in the light of his transition.

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