Val McDermid has revealed her choice for the 10 most compelling LGBTQI+ writers working in the UK today, with a list including Fiona Mozley and Kirsty Logan.
Revealed at an event in the National Library of Scotland, it was part of the International Literature Showcase, with six guest curators invited to focus on different aspects of writing from the UK.
The list includes writers who weave the political and personal like Northern Ireland’s Colette Bryce, author of Self-Portrait in the Dark (Picador).
It also features Mary Paulson-Ellis who, in her acclaimed debut The Other Mrs Walker (Picador), writes on mistaken identity and family secrets.
Meanwhile, Mozley, whose Polari-winning debut Elmet (JM Originals) was nominated for the Booker in 2017, mixes history, place and language to explore how we claim our place in the world.
Polari First Book Prize winner Logan, whose most recent book is The Gloaming (Vintage) and The Night Brother author Rosie Garland (Borough Press) show the potential for play in exploring identity.
Ex-teacher and Meat Market writer Juno Dawson (Quercus), former UK Poetry Slam champion and Saleh author Keith Jarrett (Burning Eye) and Juliet Jacques, author of Trans: A Memoir (Verso), also made the list.
Andrew McMillan, author of Polari-shortlisted Playtime (Jonathan Cape) and Luke Turner, whose book Out of the Woods (W&N) explored nature, sexuality and faith in Epping Forest, completed McDermid’s 10.
She said: “These writers are writing for everyone. These are not words for a niche readership. These are not writings for a ghetto. These are the works of writers who have something to say that can be – and should be – heard by as many people as possible.
“LGBTQI+ writers have forced their way out of the dark corners where we were pushed by a society that didn’t want to be reminded of our existence.
“Thanks to writers such as Ali Smith, Alan Hollinghurst, Russell T. Davies, Carol Ann Duffy and many more, LGBTQI+ writers are everywhere. And deservedly praised everywhere too. Recommended by reviewers, librarians, teachers, booksellers, reviewers and friends. Words do change the world, reader by reader.”
The list was commissioned by the National Centre for Writing and British Council, supported by Arts Council England as part of a two-year programme to promote writing from the UK to an international audience.
The International Literature Showcase launched with Elif Shafak’s selection of women writers at London Book Fair in March. In October Jackie Kay will reveal her selection of writers of colour with special events at Cheltenham and Manchester Literature Festivals.
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