A Celebration of Gay Writing from the Past 100 Years

A Celebration of Gay Writing from the Past 100 Years

The End of Eddy – Edouard Louis

Edouard Louis grew up in Hallencourt, a village in northern France where many live below the poverty line. His bestselling debut novel about life there has sparked debate on social inequality, sexuality and violence.

Good as You: From Prejudice to Pride: 30 Years of Gay Britain – Paul Flynn

This is the definitive account of the last 30 years of gay experience – illustrating the tragedy and triumph, the (not always legal) highs and the desperate lows, and the final transition of gay men becoming, Good As You.

Straight Jacket – Matthew Todd

 Part memoir, part ground-breaking polemic, Straight Jacket looks beneath the shiny facade of contemporary gay culture and asks if gay people are as happy as they could be – and if not, why not?

Christodora – Tim Murphy

In this vivid and compelling novel, Tim Murphy follows a diverse set of characters whose fates intertwine in an iconic building in Manhattan’s East Village, the Christodora. 

Guapa – Saleem Haddad

Rasa works as an interpreter for Western journalists by day and divides his nights between the Guapa, an underground nightclub where the city’s clandestine LGBT community congregates, and his secret lover Taymour.

The Second Footman – Jasper Barry

Nineteen year-old Max is the duchesse de Claireville’s second footman, but he does not intend to endure the indignities of service for long. He has a plan-to find an aristocratic patron who will become his unwitting accomplice in an audacious fraud.

Call Me By Your Name – Andre Aciman

Call Me By Your Name is the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blooms between seventeen-year-old Elio and his father’s house guest Oliver during a restless summer on the Italian Riviera. 

Our Young Man – Edmund White

Edmund White has in Our Young Man created some of the richest representations of gay male identity, from the disco era to the age of AIDs. What links them all is the allure and enchantment they find in beauty.

Fighter – Carol Lynne

Dray was a gay man living in a world of straight fighters. When his secret was exposed to the media, he dropped out, giving Lucky a piece of advice, if you want to make it as a MMA fighter, bury the part of yourself that won’t be accepted. 

Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration – David Wojnarowicz

From the author’s violent childhood in suburbia to eventual homelessness on the streets and piers of New York City, to recognition as one of the most provocative artists of his generation – Close to the Knives is his powerful and iconoclastic memoir. 

Fanny and Stella: The Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England – Neil McKenna

With a cast of peers, politicians and prostitutes, drag queens, doctors and detectives, Fanny and Stella is a Victorian peepshow, exposing the startling underbelly of nineteenth-century London. 

Days Without End – Sebastian Barry

After signing up for the US army in the 1950s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, fight in the Indian Wars and the Civil War. Having both fled terrible hardships, their days are now vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in. 

Life’s a Drag – Janie Millman

Roz and Jamie have moved to leafy Suffolk from London in search of a quiet life so it is a surprise to find that the village is embarking on its riotous annual drag competition. Fuelled by large quantities of alcohol and ubiquitous community spirit, they soon find themselves caught up in a battle for the identity of the village itself.

Brokeback Mountain – Annie Proulx

Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar are two ranch hands – ‘drop-out country boys with no prospects, brought up to hard work and privation, both rough-mannered, tough spoken’ – glad to have found each other’s company where none had been expected.

The Petticoat Men – Barbara Ewing

The Victorian gossipmongers called them The Petticoat Men. But to young Mattie Stacey they are Freddie and Ernest, her gentlemen lodgers. She doesn’t care that they dress up in sparkling gowns to attend society balls. She only cares that they are kind to her, make her laugh, and pay their rent on time.

What Belongs to You – Garth Greenwell

Startlingly erotic and immensely powerful, What Belongs to You tells an unforgettable story about the ways our pasts and cultures, our scars and shames can shape who we are and determine how we love.

A Boy’s Own Story – Edmund White

 A Boy’s Own Story traces a narrator’s coming-of-age during the 50s. Beset by aloof parents, a cruel sister, and mocking from his peers, the boy struggles with his sexuality, seeking consolation in art and literature, and in his own imagination as he fills his head with romantic expectations.

The Story of the Night – Colm Toibin

Set in Argentina in a time of great change, The Story of the Night is a powerful and moving novel about a man who, as the Falklands War is fought and lost, finds his own way to emerge into the world.

The Line of Beauty – Alan Hollinghurst

In the summer of 1983, twenty-year-old Nick Guest moves into an attic room in the Notting Hill home of the wealthy Feddens: Gerald, an ambitious Tory MP, his wife Rachel and their children Toby and Catherine.

A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition.

A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James

Spanning three decades and crossing continents, A Brief History of Seven Killings chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters – slum kids, drug lords, journalists, prostitutes, gunmen and even the CIA. 

Like People in History – Felice Picano

From Malibu Beach in its palmist surfer days to the legendary parties at Fire Island Pines in the 70s, from San Francisco during its gayest era to AIDS activism in Greenwich Village in the 90s, this is a heroic and funny saga of the last three decades by someone who saw everything.

Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story – Paul Monette

Becoming a Man is about growing up gay. From the white-bread 50’s through the rebellious 60’s to the self-creating 70’s and beyond, it forms a passionately honest and unsparing account of the tortures of living a lie, a naked protrait of one man’s fight for freedom in a time of ignorance and bigotry.

London Triptych – Jonathan Kemp

Three men, three lives and three eras sinuously entwine in a dark, startling and unsettling narrative of sex, exploitation and dependence set against London’s strangely constant gay underworld

Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin

When David meets the sensual Giovanni in a bohemian bar, he is swept into a passionate love affair. But his girlfriend’s return to Paris destroys everything. Unable to admit to the truth, David pretends the liaison never happened – while Giovanni’s life descends into tragedy. 

Maurice – E.M. Forster

Maurice Hall is a young man who grows up confident in his privileged status and well aware of his role in society. Modest and generally conformist, he nevertheless finds himself increasingly attracted to his own sex. 

The Swimming Pool Library – Alan Hollinghurst

Will agrees to take a look at Nantwich’s diaries. But in the story he unravels, a tragedy of twentieth-century gay repression, lurk bitter truths about Will’s own privileged existence.

Ready to Catch Him Should he Fall – Neil Bartlett

It’s 3am in The City, and in a dark corner of The Bar, two lovers fall into each other’s arms. Soon follows the exchanging of vows. Everything is in its proper place – except that every stage of their relationship is punctuated by the news of another homophobic attack in The City.

Before Night Falls – Reinaldo Arenas

Reinaldo Arenas was born to a poverty-stricken family in rural Cuba. By the time of his death in New York four decades later, he had become one of Cuba’s most important poets, an outspoken critic of Castro’s regime and one of the leading gay voices of the twentieth century.

A Single Man – Christopher Isherwood

A Single Man is the story of an English professor in suburban California left heartbroken after the death of his lover. With devastating clarity and humour, Christopher Isherwood shows George’s determination to carry on, evoking the soul’s ability to triumph over loneliness and alienation.

The Good Son – Paul McVeigh

Mickey dreams of going to America, taking Wee Maggie and Ma with him, to get them away from Belfast and Da. Mickey realises it’s all down to him. He has to protect Ma from herself. And sometimes, you have to be a bad boy to be a good son.

At Swim, Two Boys – Jamie O’Neill

Out at the Forty Foot, that great jut of Dublin rock where gentlemen bathe in the scandalous nude, two boys meet day after day. There they make a pact: that Doyler will teach Jim to swim

The Romanian – Bruce Benderson

In this brutally candid memoir, writer, translator and journalist Bruce Benderson recounts his unrequited love for an impoverished Romanian whom he meets while on a journalism assignment in Eastern Europe.

Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin

San Francisco, 1976. A naive young secretary, fresh out of Cleveland, tumbles headlong into a brave new world of laundromat Lotharios, pot-growing landladies, cut throat debutantes, and Jockey Shorts dance contests.

Howl, Kaddish and Other Poems – Allen Ginsberg

Beat movement icon and visionary poet, Allen Ginsberg broke boundaries with his fearless, pyrotechnic verse. This new collection brings together the famous poems that made his name as a defining figure of the counterculture. 

The Hours – Michael Cunningham

Moving effortlessly across the decades and between England and America, this exquisite novel intertwines the stories of three unforgettable women.

Angels in America – Tony Kushner

America in the mid-1980s. In the midst of the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration, New Yorkers grapple with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell.

Queer – William S. Burroughs

Set in Mexico City during the early fifties, “Queer” follows William Lee’s hopeless pursuit of desire from bar to bar in the American expatriate scene.

Death in Venice and Other Stories – Thomas Mann

Gustave von Aschenbach is a successful but ageing writer who travels to Venice for a holiday. One day, at dinner, Aschenbach notices an exceptionally beautiful young boy who is staying with his family in the same hotel. 

Noah Can’t Even – Simon James Green

Why can’t Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with Sophie – who is perfect and lovely – he’d be seen in a different light? But Noah’s plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.

You can find our gay literature promotion in select WHSmith UK travel stores from 22nd June – 12th July 2017