Reading Trans Writers: A Primer

3 minute read
Author: RobertB

We’re marvellous-happy to introduce another guest blog from the brilliant Alice Slater (@smokintofu) – the third in our series of #ResistanceReading book recommendations. So break out of your bubble and read something different, why don’t you? 

How to procure a traditionally published work of fiction by a trans author in the UK:

  • First, you must leave a saucer of milk on a bed of fresh soil on the night of a full moon to appease the huldufólk.
  • Next, you have to do quite a lot of research on the internet in which you have to scroll through multiple recommendations for non-fiction that you’re already familiar with.
  • Finally: drum up the funds to place some online orders for expensive books from foreign lands that have been out of print for 10+ years.

In a nutshell: we have a dearth of traditionally published fiction from trans authors in the UK, so here’s a reading list of books that are both affordable and available.

Nevada by Imogen Binnie

Nevada follows trans punk New Yorker Maria. When she discovers her girlfriend has been cheating on her, Maria does the only sensible thing: she packs up her shit, buys some drugs and fucks off to Reno.

Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

This seminal work explores the complexities of gender and sexuality within the lesbian community of ’90s Buffalo, New York. A bleak, gritty trans coming-of-age story in which protagonist Jess negotiates where she fits in between transmasculinity and the butch lesbian identity. Stone Butch Blues is a radical meditation on identity and – even better – it’s free to download from here.

Margot and Me by Juno Dawson

Juno Dawson writes both fiction and non-fiction for teenagers. Her latest offering is about a girl who discovers her racy old nan’s wartime diaries, although in reading about her grandmother as a young woman during the second world war, Fliss uncovers a much darker and more traumatic past than she had ever previously imagined.

Hav by Jan Morris

When travel writer Jan Morris turned her hand to fiction, she created Hav: an episodic ride through a fictional landscape, steeped in such a well-constructed history that readers in 1985 thought Hav was a real place, kind of like the famous War of the Worlds radio snafu where listeners thought Earth was really being invaded by aliens. Literary Sci Fi without a clear plot or characters? Of course it was short-listed for the Booker.

A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wild

If a book about a trans guy and his billionaire genderqueer bisexual love interest makes you turn your head, perhaps the reassurance that – spoiler alert – NOTHING TERRIBLE HAPPENS TO EITHER OF THEM will you make you pull up a chair and give it a go. A Boy Called Cin is warm, optimistic and gentle, but it’s also sexy and sharp, with the bratty, cynical Cin adding a welcome shot of sour mix to this otherwise sweet margarita.

For more alternative reads, check out Revolutionary Books for People Who #Resist and My Favourite Novel Apocalpyse: Trump and Brexit Edition

And for more from Alice Slater (bookseller, writer, short story columnist at Mslexia, and all round hilarious and very good person), follow her on Twitter or take a gander at her website

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