Walker Books has landed Queer Up: An Uplifting Guide to LGBTQ+ Love, Life and Mental Health by award-winning podcaster, writer and speaker Alexis Caught.
The guide, publishing in January 2022, aims to help queer and questioning teenagers explore their LGBTQ+ identity and understanding. The synopsis explains: "Queer Up is a positive and uplifting book that features personal stories from notable LGBTQ+ figures and allies, including Russell T Davies, Scarlett Curtis, author and journalist Kuchenga, award-winning transgender activist Charlie Craggs, and Peter Tatchell. The book provides an inclusive account of what it means to grow up queer, with chapters and helpful advice on questioning, coming out, friends and family, love and relationships, sex, shame, pride, being transgender and/or non-binary, and allyship. This honest and heartwarming book is an essential read for any LGBTQ+ teen as well as allies looking to support them."
Caught is the creator and co-host of the British Podcast Award-winning LGBTQ+ podcast "Qmmunity", which explores queer culture, history and identity. He is also a mental health advocate, qualified psychotherapist, writer, speaker, model and rugby player. His writing has been featured in Attitude magazine and the Mirror, along with anthology It's Not Okay to Feel Blue, And Other Lies (Penguin).
He said: “I am excited to be working with Walker Books, especially to be creating the book that I so desperately needed when I was 14. Through my work on Shout crisis line, I know it’s more important than ever that LGBTQ+ teens are celebrated and empowered to live their authentic lives. I can’t wait to be part of their journey, and I hope they feel supported, validated and loved, from their big gay brother and their other queer siblings contributing to this book.”
World rights for the guide were acquired by senior commissioning editor Daisy Jellicoe from Hannah Weatherill at Northbank Talent Management. Walker Books will also be collaborating with Shout 85258, a free, confidential 24/7 text support service for anyone in the UK who is struggling to cope, for which Caught is an ambassador and trained mental health volunteer.
Weatherill said: “We’re thrilled that Walker will be publishing Queer Up. Alexis’ work is full of brilliant messages for young people and we can’t wait for them to discover it.”
Victoria Hornby, chief executive of charity Mental Health Innovations, which powers Shout 85258, said: "We are so very grateful to Alexis for his vital role as a Shout volunteer and for shining a light on the mental health challenges that many LGBTQ+ teens experience every single day in his book, Queer Up. Forty five per cent of young people who text Shout 85258 identify as LGBTQ+, so we are absolutely thrilled to be collaborating with Alexis and Walker Books to help more UK teens get free, ‘in the moment’ mental health support when they need it most."
Supporting commissioning editor Charlie Wilson said: “We are delighted to be working on this empowering and uplifting book. Alexis’ writing is full of heart and humour, offering answers to awkward questions and important mental health advice. This is the perfect guide to welcome and support LGBTQ+ teens, helping to instil young readers with confidence and pride.”
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