Under consideration for September 2020

The following titles have been read and recommended for inclusion on the final list by at least one juror:

Fiction and Poetry

Addison, Katherine. Angel of Crows. Tor Books, 2020.

Chang, K-Ming. Bestiary. One World, 2020.

Cipri, Nino. Homesick: Stories. Dzanc Books, 2019.

Corral, Eduardo C. Guillotine: Poems. Graywolf Press, 2020.

Dunbar, Eboni. Stone and Steel. Neon Hemlock Press, 2020.

Frohn, Celine (editor). Unspeakable: A Queer Gothic Anthology. Nyx Publishing, 2020.

Garcia, Benjamin. Thrown in the Throat. Milkwood Press, 2020.

Gordon, John R. Hark. Team Angelica, 2020.

Kern, Sim. Depart, Depart! Stelliform Press, 2020.

Lydon, Clare. Before You Say I Do. Custard Books, 2020.

Montlack, Michael. Daddy. NYQ Books, 2020.

Persaud, Ingrid. Love After Love. One World, 2020.

Phillips, Stephanie. Devil Within. Black Mask Comics, 2020.

Wild, Arhm Choi. Cut to Bloom. Write Bloody Publishing, 2020.


Buttigieg, Chasten. I Have Something to Tell You. Atria, 2020.

Doyle, Glennon. Untamed. Dial Press, 2020.

Eskridge, William N. Jr. and Christopher R. Riano. Marriage Equality: From Outlaws to In-Laws. Yale University Press, 2020.

Faliveno, Melissa. Tomboyland: Essays. Topplebooks, 2020.

Glasby, Hillery, Sherrie Gradin, and Rachael Ryerson (editors). Storytelling in Queer Appalachia. West Virginia University Press, 2020.

Hernández, Robb. Archiving an Epidemic. NYU Press, 2019.

Ivester, Jo. Once a Girl, Always a Boy: A Family Memoir of a Transgender Journey. She Writes Press, 2020.

Levya, Marizol and Selenis Levya. My Sister: How One Sibling’s Transition Changed Us Both. Bold Type Books, 2020.

Lorde, Audre (edited by Roxane Gay). Selected Works of Audre Lorde. W. W. Norton, 2020.

Malatino, Hil. Trans Care. University of Minnesota Press, 2020.

Wagner, R. Richard. Coming Out, Moving Forward: Wisconsin’s Recent Gay History. Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2020.


Under consideration for August 2020

The following titles have been read and recommended for inclusion on the final list by at least one juror:

Fiction and Poetry

Bass, Ellen. Indigo. Copper Canyon Press, 2020.

Bellefleur, Alexandria. Written in the Stars. Avon, 2020.

Doss, Zachary. Boy Oh Boy. Red Hen Press, 2020.

Flowers, Charles. The Idea of Him. Midsummer Nights Press, 2020.

Guenther, Faye. Swimmers in Winter. Invisible Publishing, 2020.

Lansky, Sam. Broken People. Hanover Square Press, 2020.

Maldonado, Ricardo Alberto. The Life Assignment. Four Way Books, 2020.

Mootoo, Shani. Polar Vortex. Akashic Books, 2020.

Polk, C.L. Stormsong. Tom Doherty Associates, 2020.

Sala, Sarah M. Devil’s Lake. Tolsun Books, 2020.

Singer, Lea. The Piano Student. New Vessel Press, 2020.

Stintzi, John Elizabeth. Vanishing Monuments. Arsenal Pulp, 2020.

Tran, Eric. The Gutter Spread Guide to Prayer. Autumn House Press, 2020.

Wilson, G. Willow, and Christian Ward. Invisible Kingdom: Volume 1, The Walking Path. Dark Horse Comics, 2019.


Belcourt, Billy-Ray. A History of My Brief Body. Two Dollar Radio, 2020.

McBeth, Mark. Queer Literacies. Lanham Lexington Books, 2019.

Som, Bishakh. Spellbound: a Graphic Memoir. Street noise Books, 2020.


Under consideration for July 2020

The following titles have been read and recommended for inclusion on the final list by at least one juror:

Fiction and Poetry

Borges Polesso, Natália. Amora: Stories. Amazon Crossing, 2020.

Dolan, Naoise. Exciting Times. Ecco, 2020.

Fitzwater, A. J. No Man’s Land. Paper Road Press, 2020.

Hargrave, Kiran Millwood. The Mercies. Little, Brown, 2020.

Hart, Ellen. Twisted at the Root. St. Martin’s, 2019.

Hudson, Genevieve. Boys of Alabama. W. W. Norton, 2020.

Jedrowski, Tomasz. Swimming in the Dark. William Morrow, 2020.

Kispert, Peter. I Know You Know Who I Am. Penguin Books, 2020.

Manning, Corinne. We Had No Rules. Arsenal Pulp, 2020.

Mar-Jones, Adam. Box Hill. New Directions, 2020.

Rader, Mark. The Wanting Life. Unnamed Press, 2020.

Smith, Timothy Jay. Fire on the Island. Arcade Crimewise, 2020.

Stintzi, John Elizabeth. Junebat. Anansi, 2020.

Upson, Nicola. Sorry for the Dead. Crooked Lane, 2019.


Díaz, Jaquira. Ordinary Girls. Algonquin Press, 2019.

Jansson, Tove. Letters from Tove. University of Minnesota Press, 2020.

Manion, Jen. Female Husbands: A Trans History. Cambridge University Press, 2020.

Wojczuk, Tana. Lady Romeo: The Radical and Revolutionary Life of Charlotte Cushman, America’s First Celebrity. Avid/Simon & Schuster, 2020.


Under consideration for June 2020

The following titles have been read and recommended for inclusion on the final list by at least one juror:

Fiction and Poetry

Alexander, Jenn. Home. Bywater, 2020.

Arafat, Zaina. You Exist Too Much. Catapult, 2020.

Aragón, Francisco. After Rubén. Red Hen Press, 2020.

Caruso, Melissa. The Obsidian Tower. Orbit, 2020.

Christmas, Jillian. The Gospel of Breaking. Arsenal Pulp, 2020.

Guzmán, Roy G. Catrachos: Poems. Graywolf, 2020.

Sickels, Carter. The Prettiest Star. Hub City Press, 2020.

Som, Biskakh. Apsara Engine. Feminist Press, 2020.

Staples, Dennis. This Town Sleeps. Counterpoint, 2020.


Adjmi, David. Lot Six. Harper, 2020.

Bombardier, Cooper Lee. Pass with Care: Memoirs. Dottir Press, 2020.

Esposito, Cameron. Save Yourself. Grand Central Publishing, 2020.


Under Consideration for May 2020

The following titles have been read and recommended for inclusion on the final list by at least one juror:

Fiction and Poetry

Buchanan, Rowan Hisayo. Starling Days. Abrams, 2020.

Charles, KJ. Slippery Creatures. KJC Books, 2020.

Dawn, Amber. My Art is Killing Me and Other Poems. Arsenal Pulp Press, 2020.

Delabroy-Allard, Pauline. They Say Sarah. Other Press, 2020.

Earley, Elizabeth. Like Wings, Your Hands. Red Hen Press, 2019.

Hall, Alexis. Boyfriend Material. Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2020.

Hashimoto, Emily. A World Between. Feminist Press, 2020.

Herren, Greg. Royal Street Reveillon. Bold Strokes Books, 2019.

Hicks, Faylita. Hoodwitch: Poems. Acre Books, 2019.

Knecht, Rosalie. Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery. Tin House, 2020.

Moniz, Tomas. Big Familia. Acre Books, 2019.

Shraya, Vivek. The Subtweet. ECW Books, 2020.



Altman, Elissa. Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing, and Longing. Ballantine Books, 2019.

Baron, Dennis. What’s Your Pronoun? Beyond He and She. W. W. Norton, 2020.

Boylan, Jennifer Finney. Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs. Celadon Books, 2020.

Brim, Matt. Poor Queer Studies: Confronting Elitism in the University. Duke University Press, 2020.

Cervini, Eric. The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. The United States of America. Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2020.

Chen, Angela. Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex. Beacon Press, 2020.

Crewes, Eleanor. The Times I Knew I Was Gay. Scribner, 2020.

Ghaziani, Amin, and Matt Brim, editors. Imagining Queer Methods. NYU Press, 2019.

Koestenbaum, Wayne. Figure It Out: Essays. Soft Skull Press, 2020.

Marszalek, John F. Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi, 2020.

Mesch, Rachel. Before Trans: Three Gender Stories from Nineteenth-Century France. Stanford University Press, 2020.

Orloff, Alvin. DISASTERAMA!: Adventures in the Queer Underground 1977 to 1997. Three Rooms Press, 2019.

Ortile, Matt. The Groom Will Keep His Name: And Other Vows I’ve Made about Race, Resistance, and Romance. Bold Type Books, 2020.

Rasmussen, Crystal. Diary of a Drag Queen. FSG Originals, 2020.

Rogers, Baker A. Trans Men in the South: Becoming Men. Rowman & Littlefield, 2020.

Szewczyk, Jesse. Tasty Pride: 75 Recipes and Stories from the Queer Food Community. Clarkson Potter Publishers, 2020.

Thomas, R. Eric. Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America. Ballantine Books.




Under Consideration for April 2020

The following titles have been read and recommended for inclusion on the final list by at least one juror:

Fiction and Poetry

Awkward-Rich, Cameron. Dispatch. Persea Books, 2019.

Bibbins, Mark. 13th Balloon. Copper Canyon Press, 2020.

Brayden, Melissa. Back to September. Bold Strokes Books, 2019.

Cabezón Cámara, Gabriela and Frances Riddle. Slum Virgin. Charco Press, 2019.

Coldiron, Katharine. Ceremonials. Kernpunkt Press, 2020.

Diaz, Natalie. Postcolonial Love Poem. Graywolf Press, 2020.

Kramer, Larry. The American People Volume 2: The Brutality of Fact, A Novel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.

Plante, Hazel Jane. Little Blue Encyclopedia. Metonymy Press, 2019.

Reed, Justin Phillip. The Malevolent Volume. Coffee Press Books, 2020.

Smith, Danez. Homie. Graywolf Press, 2020.

Szpara, K. M. Docile. Tor, 2020.

Villanueva Siasoco, Ricco. The Foley Artist. Gaudy Boy, 2019.


Barker, Meg-John. Gender: A Graphic Guide. Icon Books, 2019.

Clemmons, François. Officer Clemmons. Catapult, 2020.

Ruberg, Bonnie. Queer Games Avant-Garde. Duke University Press, 2020.

Shapland, Jenn. My Autobiography of Carson McCullers. Tin House Books, 2020.

Wizenberg, Molly. The Fixed Stars. Abrams Press, 2020.


Under Consideration for March 2020

The following titles have been read and recommended for inclusion on the final list by at least one juror:

Fiction and Poetry

Crain, Caleb. Overthrow. Penguin Random House, 2019.

Delgado Lopera, Juliana. Fiebre Tropical. Feminist Press, 2020.

Foster, Claire Rudy. Shine of the Ever. Interlude Press, 2019.

Gailey, Sarah. Upright Women Wanted. Tor, 2020.

Greenwell, Garth. Cleanness. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.

Heard, Wendy. The Kill Club. Mira Books, 2019.

Johnson, Cyree Jarelle. Slingshot. Nightboat Books, 2019.

Klune, TJ. The House in the Cerulean Sea. Tor, 2020.

Laskey, Celia. Under the Rainbow. Riverhead, 2020.

Lee, Joon Oluchi. Neotenica. Nightboat Books, 2020.

Martin, Kimmery. The Antidote for Everything. Berkley, 2020.

Moskovich, Yelena. Virtuoso. Two Dollar Radio, 2020.

Muir, Tasmyn. Harrow the Ninth. Tor, 2020.

Phillips, Xandria. Hull. Nightboat Books, 2019.

Porter, Chana. The Seep. Soho Press, 2020.

Taylor, Brandon. Real Life. Riverhead, 2020.


Arceneaux, Michael. I Don’t Want to Die Poor. Atria Books, 2020.

Gottlieb, Iris. Seeing Gender. Chronicle Books, 2019.

Koets, Julia. Rib Joint: A Memoir in Essays. Red Hen Press, 2020.

Lavery, Daniel. Something that May Shock and Discredit You. Simon and Schuster, 2020.

Li, Helen, Jake Hall, Jasjyot Singh Hans, Sofie Birkin. The Art of Drag. Nobrow Press, 2020.


Over the Rainbow Press Release, ALAMW 2020

PHILADELPHIA–The Over the Rainbow committee of ALA’s Rainbow Roundtable gave careful consideration to 324 books this year, 152 fiction and 172 nonfiction. We chose 32 fiction titles and 38 nonfiction titles to make up the complete 2020 Over the Rainbow book list. We are excited by the continued expansion of queer publishing. The depth of substantial topics covered and the number of quality books from all over the genre spectrum is thrilling. No longer is the focus solely upon stories of tragedy. We read about lives filled with joy.
The top ten fiction and nonfiction titles are:
Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Marlon James. Riverhead Books, 2019.
Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked a Movement. David K. Johnson. Columbia University Press, 2019.
Claiming the B in LGBT: Illuminating the Bisexual Narrative. Edited by Kate Harrad. Thorntree Press, 2018.
Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers. Jake Skeets. Milkweed Editions, 2019.
Gideon the Ninth. Tamsyn Nuir. Tom Doherty Associates, 2019.
In the Dream House. Carmen Maria Machado. Graywolf Press, 2019.
Introduction to Transgender Studies. Ardel Haefele-Thomas. Harrington Park Press, 2019.
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Machines. Olivia Waite. Avon Impulse, 2019.
The Priory of the Orange Tree. Samantha Shannon. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019.
When Brooklyn Was Queer. Hugh Ryan. St. Martin’s Press, 2019.


2020 Over the Rainbow Fiction Longlist

Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Marlon James. Riverhead Books, 2019. Violent, lyrical and intense prose follow a troubled warrior around a high fantasy version of epic Africa. His quest is complex and caught up in stories inside stories, diversions that are literal as well as narrative, and James style tumbles through nonlinearly and evoking raw images. This book is full of pain, fear, rage and their flipsides of strength, grace and beauty. It is a difficult masterpiece. 

Cantoras. Carolina De Robertis. Knopf, 2019. A lyrical novel about five queer women living in Uruguay from the 1970s to 2013. They find sanctuary in a coastal community that is temporary, but allows them to create a found family to sustain them despite dictators, trauma, and fear.

Condomnauts. Yoss. Restless Books, 2018.  A totally zany space opera that is sexy, erotic and sometimes non-erotic on purpose. Follow along with the human crewmembers whose job it is to have sex with aliens, because sex is the way all aliens have been making first contact long before anyone in the galaxy knew about humans. It’s funny, it’s gross, it’s queer, it’s happy, and it’s weird. 

Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers. Jake Skeets. Milkwood Editions, 2019. Skeets tells fierce stories of growing up queer and indigenous in the American West. His debut collection of poems is a mix of brutality and tenderness, showcasing the raw beauty and horror of the southwest. Skeets is an essential and ambitious new voice. 

Feed. Tommy Pico. Tin House Books, 2019. The final installation in the “Teebs” tetralogy weaves together a bountiful array of themes in this free-verse, tour-de-force of a book-length poem.  With a style that moves at the speed of a social media feed, Pico kneads his inner dialogue into a beautiful and funny poetic form, with plenty of pop culture references and internet slang, along with a good helping of depth and meaning. This is queer poetry for right now.

Frankissstein: A Love Story. Jeanette Winterson. Grove Press, 2019.  Three intertwined stories explore a transgender doctor falling in love, a cryogenics lab with people frozen and waiting to be revived, and Mary Shelley writes her famous story.  

Gideon the Ninth. Tamsyn Muir. Tom Doherty Associates, 2019.  After growing up in the geriatric 9th house of bone magicians, Gideon longs to be anywhere else. When she plans a daring escape, she is instead forced to fight against the other eight necromancer houses alongside her childhood nemesis to win a deadly trial put forth by the Emperor. 

Girl, Woman, Other. Bernardine Evaristo. Grove, 2019. A joyful read following connected characters in the UK, each with their own lived experience with identities of color and queerness. Each section haș its own voice and style while the connected nature gives varying perspectives of the others.

Grease Bats. Archie Bongiovanni. Boom! Box, 2019. This collection of comics follows the daily adventures of two queer main characters and their circle of friends. These comics explore the realities that queer individuals face in everyday life with dry humor. 

Half Moon Street. Alex Reeve. Felony & Mayhem, 2019. Half Moon Street features a transgender main character, Leo Stanhope. Leo finds his life turned upside-down when the woman he loves is murdered. When local authorities show little interest in the truth of the killing, Leo turns into an amateur sleuth in order to discover what happened. Though this novel is imperfect, it remains a valuable addition to the list of works featuring a transgender main character. 

In at the Deep End. Kate Davies. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019. Julia has a tumultuous coming out in her twenties, followed by a high-intensity relationship with the beautiful and confident Sam. As their relationship intensifies, Sam’s need for control begins to stifle Julia’s newfound liberation. This funny and painful coming of age novel does not shy away from the joys of queer community, or the challenges or shame of finding oneself in an abusive queer relationship. An unexpected and sincere read. 

The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics. Olivia Waite. Avon Impulse, 2019. After her father’s death and her female lover’s sudden wedding to a man, Lucy wants nothing more than to distract herself with the challenge of translating a famous French astronomy text; however, in Regency England, the men offering to fund the text’s translation refuse to support a female translator. Luckily, she finds an unexpected ally in the Countess of Moth, a widowed artist whose talents were never recognized. The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics tells the story of how these two women navigate their differences, their shared goals, and, ultimately, their love for one another. 

Last Night in Nuuk. Niviaq Korneliussen. Black Cat, 2019. Haunting and evocative prose pulls the reader into the messy lives of 5 young Greenlanders and never lets go, propelling with an inventive style and voice that is brand new and mature at the same time. Featuring lots of drinking and drugs, sex, ambiguity and fluidity, these characters and their relationships tell all about contemporary Greenland, as well as what it is like for any young person just trying to figure stuff out.

Leading Men. Christopher Castellani. Viking, 2019. The real-life relationship between Tennessee Williams and his longtime lover, Frank Merlo, is the starting point for this highly fictionalized tale. At a party thrown by Truman Capote in Portofino, Italy in 1953, the couple meets a Swedish actress who becomes a pivotal figure in their lives in this lush, evocative story about love and fame.

Lie With Me. Philippe Besson. Scribner, 2019.  Philippe and Thomas become lovers in their last year of high school in rural France in 1984. Years later, Philippe looks back on their brief, doomed romance after spotting a Thomas look-alike. Translated by Molly Ringwald. 

The Long Road to Liquor City. Macon Blair and Joe Flood. Oni Press, 2019. The Long Road to Liquor City is a graphic novel that follows two hobos, Jed and Thanny, as they search for the fabled Liquor City. Along the way, they run afoul of rail yard sergeant, Ronan O’Feathers, who believes the two to be responsible for the death of his wife. This graphic novel is well-drawn, amusing, and features a unique and endearing cast of characters.

Love Letters to Jane’s World. Paige Braddock. Lion Forge, 2018. This collection pairs popular comic strips from Jane’s World–the first syndicated comic strip with a lesbian main character–with love letters from notable fans. This curated selection of strips from 1998 to 2018 will be a joy for current fans, as well as for new readers. 

The Melting Queen. Bruce Cinnamon. NeWest Press, 2019. The annual crowning of the Melting Queen in Edmonton, Alberta is given an unexpected twist when gender-fluid River Runson is named the newest queen in this modern fairy tale. 

Mostly Dead Things. Kristin Arnett. Tin House Books, 2019. After Jessa-Lynn discovers her father’s body on his taxidermy table, she must step up to run the family taxidermy business while her mother and brother fall apart. While grieving both her father and her brother’s wife–her first love, who married her brother Milo and later walked out without a word–Jessa must navigate the world created by their absence, including her mother’s increasingly sexualized art created out of her father’s prized mounts. This Floridian debut is macabre, intrinsically gay, and shockingly funny. 

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous. Ocean Vuong. Penguin Randomhouse, 2019. Poet Vuong’s debut novel, featured on several long and shortlists for the year, including the National Book Award Longlist, and winner of the 2019 New England Book Award for Fiction. The narrator, a twenty-something Vietnamese-American, is writing a long letter to his Vietnamese mother who cannot read. Vuong’s tender prose spans generations of trauma, exploring the narrator’s family’s experience in war, American poverty, and the narrator’s sexuality and relationships with other men. Vuong redefines form in this dreamlike and groundbreaking novel. 

The Priory of the Orange Tree. Samantha Shannon. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019. The Priory of the Orange Tree is a welcome queer addition to the existing catalog of high fantasy novels. Presented in three unique perspectives, the novel tells a story of magic, dragons, and political intrigue. At over 800 pages, this feminist fantasy tale will delight readers looking for a long read with a unique setting and well-developed characters. 

Red, White & Royal Blue. Casey McQuiston. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2019. The First Son of the United States and Prince of England go from antagonists to lovers in this slightly altered world. Both are very intelligent and quote literary icons in their emails. This was definitely the feel good read of the summer!

Scourge of the Seas of Time (and Space). Edited by Catherine Lundoff. Queen of Swords Press, 2018. This collection of short stories features themes of pirates and takes place across different settings and times. These stories feature a wide range of subjects from historical piracy on the seas to galactic piracy in space in the far future. Many of the characters featured throughout these stories are queer identified and are written by queer authors.

The Spellbinders. Aleardo Zanghellini. Lethe Press, 2018. This work of historical fiction reimagines the life of Edward II. The story focuses on Edward’s relationship with a soldier, Piers Gaveston, and how this relationship affects and even helps to build his relationship with his queen before Gaveston is murdered by a jealous earl. This book looks at the medieval king’s personal relationships with an honest and unapologetic lens.

Sugar Run. Mesha Maren. Algonquin Books, 2019. When Jodi McCarty is released from prison after 18 years on a manslaughter charge, she has plans for a low-key future, however the world is not cooperative in this noir-inspired tale of flawed characters living in Appalachia.

Thorn. Anna Burke. Bywater Books, 2019. Rowan is kidnapped by the legendary Huntress of local superstition after her father hunts on the Huntress’s lands and steals a cursed rose. Despite being held against her will, Rowan finds herself drawn to the Huntress, a welcome reprieve from the arranged betrothal that awaits her should she return home. Thorn is a brilliant feminist retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

The Tradition. Jericho Brown. Copper Canyon Press, 2019. Jericho Brown speaks the truth through poetry about being a gay black man in America who is also HIV-positive. Poems reflect his own experiences, some incredibly painful, while others provide insights into other members of his community. If the personal is universal, Jericho Brown represents all of us.

Transcendent 3. Edited by Bogi Takács. Lethe Press, 2018. A vivid collection of the year’s best transgender speculative fiction, these fantastical tales include everything from far futures to time travel, ghosts, horror movies, and much more. This anthology features diverse stories from important new voices: K.M Szpara, Rivers Solomon, Indrapramit Das.

Willa & Hesper. Amy Feltman. Grand Central Publishing, 2019. Willa and Hesper are both students in the MFA creative writing program at Columbia University, but it isn’t until a chance encounter one night in Brooklyn that their relationship turns romantic. The unraveling of their brief, intense relationship, and the journeys, both literal and figurative, that the break up propels both of them towards, are just as formative. The story is told with a thrillingly contemporary sensibility, mixing a lot of funny and playful moments with the sad ones.

Without Protection. Gala Mukomolova. Coffee House Press, 2019. Mukomolova mixes modern life as a lesbian in New York City with classic Russian folktales. In this stunning collection, Mukomolova explores her identities and family through the story of Vassilyasa, a young girl who must fend for herself against Baba Yaga. Her poems are compelling and erotic, a mix of mythology and modernity. 

WWJD and Other Poems. Savannah Sipple. SIbling Rivalry Press, 2019. These poems cover themes of what it is like to grow up in Appalachia while queer, female, and fat. She doesn’t shy from the seeming contradictions that evangelical underpinnings carry through her work. 

You are enough: Love Poems For the End of the World. Smokii Sumac. Kegedonce Press, 2018. In his debut collection of poetry using haiku format as a starting point in composition, Sumac shares with us all 2 years of poetry created from the experiences of 2 years of his journey as a Ktunaxa, Two-Spirit trans masculine scholar. Funny, touching, and inspiring poems.



2020 Over the Rainbow Non-Fiction Longlist

The A-Z of Gender and Sexuality: From Ace to Ze. Morgan Lev Edward Holleb. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019. This thorough A-Z glossary catalogs the ever-evolving vocabulary used to describe LGBTQ identities and experiences. Holleb has created an essential reference work that recognizes the power in having the language to describe a feeling, as well as dispelling the anxiety some feel around using the “wrong” terminology.

Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man. Thomas Page McBee. Scribner, 2018. In 2015, Thomas Page McBee began training to fight in a charity boxing match at Madison Square Garden — the first transgender man to do so. As he recounts his training and the emotions he feels as he learns to box in mostly-male spaces, he also confronts his relationship to masculinity and violence — and begins to chart a path toward a more whole vision of maleness.

American Boys. Soraya Zaman. Daylight Books, 2019. Pairing short autobiographical testimonials with revealing and beautiful portrait photo essays, Zaman presents a diverse array of trans male experiences across America.

Brown White Black. Nishta J. Mehra. Picador, 2019. Mehra is a lesbian daughter of Indian immigrants married to a white woman. The couple adopted a black son. In this candid series of essays she shares with us some of the daily struggles her family is faced with as they navigate the frontlines of cultural conflict. This powerful book serves as a call for a more compassionate understanding of identity and family.

Buying Gay: How Physique Entrepreneurs Sparked a Movement. David K. Johnson. Columbia University Press, 2019. Important study of male physique magazines, and how they facilitated not only gay male community and desire, but also created a market of things to buy and sell, and profits to be made. 

Capturing Mariposas: Reading Cultural Schema in Gay Chicano Literature. Doug P. Bush. The Ohio State University Press, 2019. Bush aims to identify commonalities of genre in the writing of gay Chicano writers.  Providing close readings of the texts of Rigoberto González, Manuel Muñoz, Alex Espinoza, as well as an examination of the market for gay chicano literature and interviews with Muñoz and Espinoza, Bush does important scholarly work while also directing more readers to his featured authors.

Claiming the B in LGBT: Illuminating the Bisexual Narrative. Edited by Kate Harrad. Thorntree Press, 2019. An engaging and clear primer on bisexuality. The book tackles persistent and pernicious myths and misconceptions and explores bisexuality’s intersections with non-monogamy, gender, race, disability, and faith (among other topics). The book includes numerous and diverse testimonials of bisexual people insterspersed throughout the book that provide real-world insights and experiences.

Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime. Alex Espinoza. The Unnamed Press, 2019. Espinoza researches the history of anonymous public gay sex from Ancient Greece to Grindr mixing research and personal memoir in this conversational history.

Drag: The Complete Story. Simon Doonan. Laurence King Publishers, 2019. Doonan amusingly explores drag from a variety of lenses: history, philosophy, classification (glamour drag vs. art drag vs. butch drag). Doonan’s droll narration and the beautiful full color photos interspersed throughout the book provide an engaging and illuminating overview.

Dying to Be Normal: Gay Martyrs and the Transformation of American Sexual Politics. Brett Krutzsch. Oxford University Press, 2019. A look at how the deaths of gay people are portrayed in the media–be it from murder or suicide. Often portrayed as martyrs, the author analyzes their deaths from viewpoints of whiteness, Christianity, and heterosexual assimilation. The book concludes with thoughts of queering memorials with a comparison of the tragedies of the Upstairs Lounge fire in New Orleans in 1973 and the Orlando Pulse Nightclub massacre in 2016.

Gender Identity, Sexuality and Autism: Voices from Across the Spectrum. Eva A. Mendes and Meredith R. Maroney. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2019. An exploration of the experiences of people whose identity include both LGBTQ+ and Autism Spectrum Difference (ASD). The first portion of the book is interview transcripts with ASD/LGBTQ+ individuals and some interviews with family members and loved ones. The authors then analyze to discuss common themes.

Gender Queer: A Memoir. Maia Kobabe. Oni Press, 2019. Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, masterfully uses the graphic memoir format to describe what can seem indescribable. Kobabe charts eir journey from a childhood of feeling “different” to finally understanding eirself as non-binary and asexual with humor and heart, making space for the reader while also making it clear that the story is eirs and eirs alone.

Gentleman Jack: The Real Anne Lister. Anne Choma. Penguin Books, 2019. Read the words and learn about the life of a lesbian from more than a century ago. A woman who discarded the time’s gender roles and expectations and wrote more than 20 highly personal and detailed journal volumes. Some of her diary entries she wrote for all and some she wrote for herself–she wrote in “plain hand” and in “crypt hand” of her own secret code. Anne Lister has recently been recognized and brought to life on the screen of HBO’s Gentleman Jack.

Headcase: LGBTQ Writers & Artists on Mental Health and Wellness. Edited by Stephanie Schroeder and Teresa Theophano. Oxford University Press, 2019. This anthology collects personal reflections and artistic interpretations that focus on mental illness and the LGBTQ community. These stories give a look into the lives of queer individuals and some of them document the process as the authors navigate a flawed and sometimes biased health care system. This collection features many stories that display the raw emotions of the authors with stories that display the experiences of a minority community.

Her Widow. Joan Alden. Hillside Press, 2018*. Told in the form of letters from Joan Alden to her deceased wife, Catherine Hopkins, Her Widow is a raw and powerful memoir of grief. Alden catalogs the intimate details of daily life both before and after Catherine’s passing and invites the reader to share in her devastation and her hope. The memoir is illustrated with Hopkins’ black and white photographs.

Honeypot: Black Southern Women Who Love Women. E. Patrick Johnson. Duke University Press, 2019. An oral history of the experiences of African-American women in the South who express same-sex desire. Johnson uses a creative approach to oral history by creating a fictional community liaison/travel companion “Miss B” to converse with in the narrative integrating bee and honey imagery in the prose. Johnson’s study population spans age, social class, and the geography of the American South.

How We Fight for Our Lives: A Memoir. Saeed Jones. Simon & Schuster, 2019. Poet and journalist recounts his experience coming of age and coming out as a gay black man in the American south in the late 1990s and early 2000s through college in Kentucky and the path of his successful writing career. Jones writes with humor and emotional honesty about his complicated relationship with his mother and surviving in an America where “Being a black gay boy is a death wish.” 

In the Dream House. Carmen Maria Machado. Graywolf Press, 2019. Carmen Maria Machado writes about her own experience in an abusive relationship, and also within the broader context of lesbian and/or queer domestic abuse. All the pieces of her life, experiences, and relationships create this “dream house” that also builds a structure to surround the experience. An essential read to highlight domestic abuse within the community. 

Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall. James Polchin. Counterpoint, 2019. Polchin investigates queer true crime stories recounted in the historical press between World War I and Stonewall shedding light on the violence of homosexual criminalization that eventually ignited organization and social protest.

Introduction to Transgender Studies. Ardel Haefele-Thomas. Harrington Park Press, 2019. This textbook is one of the first of its kind to be aimed at undergraduate students. It focuses on the transgender experience on a global scale and poses questions to the reader about how they can relate to this experience. This text also includes many stories and perspectives written by members of the transgender community and has chapters focused on the history of transgender society.

Mama’s Boy: A Story from Our Americas. Dustin Lance Black. Knopf, 2019. A touching and often heartbreaking memoir from the Oscar-winning screenwriter and LGBTQ activist, this book tells Black’s mother’s story as much as his own. Subtitled “a story from our Americas” it foregrounds the cultural, religious and political divides in the country, and looks at them in reference to his own (eventually redeemed) relationship with a conservative, Mormon and anti-gay mother. 

Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age. Darrel J. McLeod. Milkweed Editions, 2019. The title of McLeod’s memoir is taken from “the Cree word used as a response to dreams shared.” Accordingly, McLeod’s own story of coming of age as a queer man is also the shared story of his family: his mother Bertha, his siblings, and the life of poverty, abuse, and racism they all experienced as First Nations people in Alberta, Canada. 

No Walls and the Recurring Dream: A Memoir. Ani DiFranco. Viking, 2019. The coming-of-age of a musician who always refused to play by the rules, creating her own record label and finding her own way to radio play and the festival circuit. While not as linear as most memoirs, the narrative finds its way from childhood into the 21st century, with a lot of stories of life on the road, triumph and failure, relationships with both genders, and her political views. 

Nonbinary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity. Edited by Micah Rajunov and Scott Duane. Columbia University Press, 2019. This collection of thirty first-person narratives showcases a wide variety of experiences outside the gender binary, as well as illuminating how these experiences can be influenced by class, race, age, and ability. The result is a collection that is descriptive rather than prescriptive, and will be eye-opening to any reader who is interested in learning more about nonbinary experiences.

Not Just a Tomboy: A Trans Masculine Memoir. Caspar J. Baldwin. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018. This memoir focuses on the authors’ experience growing up in a time when being transgender was not widely accepted in society. It takes an unflinching and personal look at the experiences that transgender people faced from the 90s until today along with showing the journey of transitioning during those times.

Precious and Adored: The Love Letters of Rose Cleveland and Evangeline Simpson Whipple, 1890-1918. Edited by Lizzie Ehrenhalt and Tilly Laskey. Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2019. An edited and annotated collection of original letters charting the romantic relationship between a Minnesota widow and the sister of President Grover Cleveland. The letters chronicle their sexual attraction and partnership over the years through heartbreak and reconciliation.

Pride: The LGBTQ+ Rights Movement: A Photographic Journey. Christopher Measom. Sterling, 2019. Described as “a photograpic journey” Measom selects a wide range of photos charting queer, mostly American, history from the 1920s through the modern day. A well-curated collection of visually interesting photos, posters, and illustrations charts the joy, sadness, and anger of the past century with informative accompanying text and descriptive captions.

Pride: Fifty Years of Parades and Protest from the Photo Archives of the New York TImes. The New York Times. Abrams Image, 2019. Pride highligts fifty years of LGBTQ progress, struggle, celebration and tragedy through the photographs and images of articles from the New York Times. Starting with the Stonewall riots, the book takes readers on a journey through the first gay liberation marches, the first March on Washington, the AIDS epidemic and ACTUP, modern Pride parades, Marriage Equality and the Pulse tragedy.

The Queering of Corporate America: How Big Business Went from LGBTQ Adversary to Ally. Carlos A. Ball. Beacon Press, 2019. This book traces the evolution of corporate America from being harsh bigots to using their leverage to advocate for equality. In a chonological order, it shows how LGBTQ activists used consumer power and pressure to change the queer rights movement. Employment discrimination, pharmacutical companies during the AIDS crisis, domestic partner benefits, and marriage equality are a few of the issues covered in how LGBTQ force corporations to improve and how in some cases corporations go a step further to become advocates for the community.

Raising Rosie: Our Story of Parenting an Intersex Child. Eric and Stephani Lohman. Jessica Kinglsey Publishers, 2018. When Eric and Stephani Lohman’s daughter Rosie was born intersex, with ambiguous genitalia, they made the decision to allow for Rosie’s informed consent in terms of what cosmetic procedures she would undergo to “normalize” her genitalia. This brief book describes how they came to this decision, as well as their experience with a medical establishment that is still primed to operate on infants who display intersex characteristics. The Lohmans also briefly discuss how they have approached raising Rosie and their openness regarding her condition. 

Sissy: A Coming-of-Gender Story. Jacob Tobia. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2019. Tobia takes the reader on a gender journey showing a hilarious embrace of the genderqueer experience. Tobia provides an example of overcoming gender-based trauma to thrive in a non-binary identity.

The Soul of the Stranger: Reading God and Torah from a Transgender Perspective. Joy Ladin. Brandeis University Press, 2018. Reading the Torah through the lens of transgender experience. Religious texts receive a close reading in this deeply personal search at understanding God. It shows how our own perspectives bring life to the ancient text. The book illuminates an openness and flexibility to gender roles in the Torah. 

The Stonewall Reader. Edited by Jason Baumann. Penguin Classics, 2019. In this book the New York Public Library features LGBTQ+ first-hand accounts from its archives in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Magazine and newsletter articles, diary entries, and stories of major LGBTQ+ trail blazers including Audre Lourde, Harry Hay, Reverend Troy Perry, Frank Kameny, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy.

The Stonewall Riots: a Documentary History. Edited by Marc Stein. New York University Press, 2019. Brings together an extensive range of primary sources documenting the Stonewall Riots. Importantly, it also includes documentation of the period leading up to the Stonewall Riots, and what came after, including the first pride parades. Contextualized in eight different chapters, provides insight into the thinking on activism and protest before, during, and after the riots.

Swelling with Pride: Queer Conception and Adoption Stories. Edited by Sara Graefe. Caitlin Press Inc., 2018. This book contains more than twenty personal accounts of how queer, transgender, and nonbinary people make families. Powerful and touching, the stories tell of in-vitro fertilization, adoption, co-parenting, and the many various ways queer families come to be. The editor provides for readers the book of stories that she and her wife wished they had on their journey to parenthood. 

This One Looks Like a Boy: My Gender Journey to Life as a Man. Lorimer Shenher. Greystone Books, 2019. Lorimer Shenher is the former head of the Missing Persons Unit of the Vancouver Police Department and well known in Canada for their involvement in a serial killer case. Readers will be pulled in by his journey in his gender identity, finishing with gender reassignment surgery in his 50s, and navigating small-town Canadian life in the meantime.

Unashamed: A Coming-Out Guide for LGBTQ Christians. Amber Cantorna. Westminster John Knox Press, 2019. A slim guidebook helping those who identify as Christian to navigate coming out, establishing boundaries, and coping with the shame narrative. Also includes information for allies, families and church leaders who want to put their teachings of love into action.

When Brooklyn Was Queer. Hugh Ryan. St. Martin’s Press, 2019. Ryan recounts Brooklyn’s queer scene from the era of Walt Whitman up to Stonewall. Ryan highlights the lives of well-known queer historical figures like Carson McCullers and Hart Crane along with less well-known figures such as male impersonator Florence Hines, and dancer Mabel Hampton, as he vividly recreates the evolution of Brooklyn’s queer communities.

*Her Widow originally published by Dog Ear Publishing, 2018.