‘Positioning queerness in time is a creative act.’
From the diverse collection of titles published right here in Scotland we have spotted:
We Were Always Here – A Queer Words Anthology edited by Ryan Vance and Michael Lee Richardson (404 Ink)
From drag queens and discos, to black holes and monsters, these stories and poems wrestle with love and loneliness and the fight to be seen.
Amateur – A Reckoning With Gender, Identity and Masculinity, Thomas Page McBee (Canongate)
An exploration of modern masculinity by the first transgender man to box at Madison Square Garden, shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize.
Girl Meets Boy, Ali Smith (Canongate)
Ali Smith’s remix of Ovid’s most joyful metamorphosis is a story about the kind of fluidity that can’t be bottled and sold. It is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, a story of puns and doubles, reversals and revelations. Funny and fresh, poetic and political, here is a tale of change for the modern world.
Queer Bloomsbury edited by Brenda S. Helt, Madelyn Detloff (EUP)
This anthology presents fifteen wide-ranging readings that trace the cultural, ideological and aesthetic facets of the Bloomsbury Group’s development as a queer subculture.
Becoming Dangerous edited by Katie West and Jasmine Elliot (Fiction & Feeling)
A non-fiction book of deeply personal essays by marginalised people operating at the intersection of feminism, witchcraft, and resistance to summon power and become fearsome in a world that would prefer them afraid. With contributions from twenty witchy femmes, queer conjurers, and magical rebels.
China in Drag: Travels with a Cross-dresser, Michael Bristow (Sandstone Press)
Approaching the end of his eight-year stay in Beijing, Michael Bristow decided he wanted to write about the country’s modern history. To assist him he asked for the help of his language teacher, who was born just two years after the communist party came to power in 1949. It came as a surprise though, to learn that the teacher was also a cross-dresser. The teacher’s story is the story of modern China.
Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy, Chitra Ramaswamy (Saraband)
When Chitra Ramaswamy discovered she was pregnant, she longed for a book that went above and beyond a manual; a book that did more than describe what was happening in her growing body. One that, instead, got to the very heart of this overwhelming, confusing and exciting experience.
Sonny and Me, Ross Sayers (Cranachan Publishing – Young Adult)
When Daughter and Sonny’s favourite teacher leaves unexpectedly, they decide to investigate. As they dig deeper into the staff at Battlefield High, they discover a dark secret which one person will kill to protect… Will they uncover the truth without being expelled? Can their friendship survive when personal secrets are revealed?
Amphibian, Christina Neuwirth (Speculative Books)
It’s summer in Edinburgh. Rose Ellis arrives at MoneyTownCashGrowth one morning to find that the entire fourth floor has been flooded with water, in a desperate attempt to improve productivity. As the water steadily rises, her working situation becomes more and more absurd…
Tonguit, Harry Giles (Stewed Rhubarb)
Politically radical and formally inventive, Tonguit plays at the borders of nationality and sexuality with irreverent affection, questing through languages for a place to speak.
Goblin, Ever Dundas (Saraband)
Set during the Blitz and the London riots of 2011, Goblin tells the story of “an iconic protagonist” with “a powerful imaginative force”. An outsider, the titular Goblin uses the power of imagination to help her navigate and survive in a cruel world, even to find a desperate kind of joy.
Ever Fallen in Love, Zoe Strachan (Sandstone Press)
Richard fell for Luke at university. Luke was handsome, dissolute, dangerous; together they did things that Richard has spent the last decade trying to forget. Zoe Strachan takes us on a journey through hedonistic student days to the lives we didn’t expect to end up living, and the hopes and fears that never quite leave us.
The Cutting Room, Louise Welsh (Canongate)
When Rilke, a dissolute and promiscuous auctioneer, comes across a collection of highly disturbing photographs during a house clearance he feels compelled to unearth more about the deceased owner who coveted them.
And beyond the Scottish publishing scene there are more brilliant LGBT stories from Scottish writers to keep you busy:
Trumpet, Jackie Kay (Picador)
This novel is centred on jazz player Joss Moody. His trumpeting has made him famous, but after his death a fact emerges: he was a woman. Kay deals sensitively with race and gender, adoption and inheritance, to create a vivid portrayal of love.
Wain: LGBT Reimaginings of Scottish Folk Tales, Rachel Plummer (The Emma Press)
Wain is a collection of LGBT themed poetry for teens based on retellings of Scottish myths. The collection contains stories about kelpies, selkies, and the Loch Ness Monster, alongside perhaps lesser-known mythical people and creatures, such as wulvers, Ghillie Dhu, and the Cat Sìth. These poems immerse readers in an enriching, diverse and enchanting vision of contemporary life.
Maggie & Me, Damian Barr (Bloomsbury)
A touching and darkly witty memoir about surviving Thatcher’s Britain. It’s a story of growing up gay in a straight world and coming out the other side in spite of, and maybe because of, the iron lady.
The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales, Kirsty Logan (Salt)
These stories feature clockwork hearts, lascivious queens, paper men, island circuses, and a flooded world; some are radical retellings of classic stories, some are modern-day fables, but all explore substitutions for love.
The Mermaids Singing, Val McDermid (HarperCollins)
You always remember the first time. Isn’t that what they say about sex? How much more true it is of murder. A tense, beautifully written psychological thriller, The Mermaids Singing explores the tormented mind of a serial killer unlike any the world of fiction has ever seen.
The Wages of Sin, Kaite Welsh (Tinder Press)
Sarah Gilchrist has fled from London to Edinburgh in disgrace and is determined to become a doctor, despite the misgivings of her family and Victorian society. Sarah finds herself drawn into Edinburgh’s dangerous underworld of bribery, brothels and body snatchers – and a confrontation with her own past.
Collected Poems, Edwin Morgan (Carcanet)
Edwin Morgan’s wonderful transforming imagination is democratic, generous and inclusive. Even the sonnet form becomes a new experiment for a poet of questing and anarchic vision, unwilling to rest on rules. An absolute must-have for every bookshelf.
For children’s titles the Scottish Book Trust have pulled together a lovely list of picture books.