Tag Archives: R.K. Russell

Most Anticipated Non-Fiction: January-June 2023

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I Am Ace: Advice on Living Your Best Asexual Life by Cody Daingle-Orions (January 19th)

I Am AceHow do I know if I’m actually sexual?

How do I come out as asexual?

What kinds of relationship can I have as an ace person?
If you are looking for answers to these questions, Cody is here to help. Within these pages lie all the advice you need as a questioning ace teen.

Tackling everything from what asexuality is, the asexual spectrum and tips on coming out, to intimacy, relationships, acephobia and finding joy, this guide will help you better understand your asexual identity alongside deeply relatable anecdotes drawn from Cody’s personal experience.

Whether you are ace, demi, gray-ace or not sure yet, this book will give you the courage and confidence to embrace your authentic self and live your best ace life.

Buy it: Waterstones | Book Depository

Bisexual Men Exist by Vaneet Mehta (January 19th)

Bisexual Men Exist“You’re just being greedy.”
“Are you sure you’re not gay?”
“Pick a side.”

Being a bisexual man isn’t easy – something Vaneet Mehta knows all too well. After spending more than a decade figuring out his identity, Vaneet’s coming out was met with questioning, ridicule and erasure. This experience inspired Vaneet to create the viral #BisexualMenExist campaign, combatting the hate and scepticism m-spec (multi-gender attracted spectrum) men encounter, and helping others who felt similarly alone and trapped.

This powerful book is an extension of that fight. Navigating a range of topics, including coming out, dating, relationships and health, Vaneet shares his own lived experience as well as personal stories from others in the community to help validate and uplift other bisexual men. Discussing the treatment of m-spec men in LGBTQ+ places, breaking down stereotypes and highlighting the importance of representation and education, this empowering book is a rallying call for m-spec men everywhere.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Black on Black by Daniel Black (January 31st)

Black on Black“There are stories that must be told.”

Acclaimed novelist and scholar Daniel Black has spent a career writing into the unspoken, fleshing out, through storytelling, pain that can’t be described.

Now, in his debut essay collection, Black gives voice to the experiences of those who often find themselves on the margins. Tackling topics ranging from police brutality to the AIDS crisis to the role of HBCUs to queer representation in the Black church, Black on Black celebrates the resilience, fortitude and survival of Black people in a land where their body is always on display.

As Daniel Black reminds us, while hope may be slow in coming, it always arrives, and when it does, it delivers beyond the imagination. Propulsive, intimate and achingly relevant, Black on Black is cultural criticism at its openhearted best.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Hijab Butch Blues by Lamya H (February 7th)

Hijab Butch BluesWhen fourteen-year-old Lamya H realizes she has a crush on her teacher–her female teacher–she covers up her attraction, an attraction she can’t yet name, by playing up her roles as overachiever and class clown. Born in South Asia, she moved to the Middle East at a young age and has spent years feeling out of place, like her own desires and dreams don’t matter, and it’s easier to hide in plain sight. To disappear. But one day in Quran class, she reads a passage about Maryam that changes everything: when Maryam learned that she was pregnant, she insisted no man had touched her. Could Maryam, uninterested in men, be . . . like Lamya?

From that moment on, Lamya makes sense of her struggles and triumphs by comparing her experiences with some of the most famous stories in the Quran. She juxtaposes her coming out with Musa liberating his people from the pharoah; asks if Allah, who is neither male nor female, might instead be nonbinary; and, drawing on the faith and hope Nuh needed to construct his ark, begins to build a life of her own–ultimately finding that the answer to her lifelong quest for community and belonging lies in owning her identity as a queer, devout Muslim immigrant.

This searingly intimate memoir in essays, spanning Lamya’s childhood to her arrival in the United States for college through early-adult life in New York City, tells a universal story of courage, trust, and love, celebrating what it means to be a seeker and an architect of one’s own life.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Choosing Family: A Memoir of Queer Motherhood and Black Resistance by Francesca Royster (February 7th)

As a multiracial household in Chicago’s North Side community of Rogers Park, race is at the core of Francesca T. Royster and her family’s world, influencing everyday acts of parenting and the conception of what family truly means. Like Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, this lyrical and affecting memoir focuses on a unit of three: the author; her wife Annie, who’s white; and Cecilia, the Black daughter they adopt as a couple in their forties and fifties. Choosing Family chronicles this journey to motherhood while examining the messiness and complexity of adoption and parenthood from a Black, queer, and feminist perspective. Royster also explores her memories of the matriarchs of her childhood and the homes these women created in Chicago’s South Side—itself a dynamic character in the memoir—where “family” was fluid, inclusive, and not necessarily defined by marriage or other socially recognized contracts.

Calling upon the work of some of her favorite queer thinkers, including José Esteban Muñoz and Audre Lorde, Royster interweaves her experiences and memories with queer and gender theory to argue that many Black families, certainly her own, have historically had a “queer” attitude toward family: configurations that sit outside the white normative experience and are the richer for their flexibility and generosity of spirit. A powerful, genre-bending memoir of family, identity, and acceptance, Choosing Family, ultimately, is about joy—about claiming the joy that society did not intend to assign to you, or to those like you.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Unsafe Words: Queering Consent in the #MeToo Era ed. by Shantel Gabrieal Buggs and Trevor Hoppe (February 10th)

Unsafe WordsQueer people may not have invented sex, but queers have long been pioneers in imagining new ways to have it. Yet their voices have been largely absent from the #MeToo conversation. What can queer people learn from the #MeToo conversation? And what can queer communities teach the rest of the world about ethical sex? This provocative book brings together academics, activists, artists, and sex workers to tackle challenging questions about sex, power, consent, and harm. While responding to the need for sex to be consensual and mutually pleasurable, these chapter authors resist the heteronormative assumptions, class norms, and racial privilege underlying much #MeToo discourse. The essays reveal the tools that queer communities themselves have developed to practice ethical sex—from the sex worker negotiating with her client to the gay man having anonymous sex in the back room. At the same time, they explore how queer communities might better prevent and respond to sexual violence without recourse to a police force that is frequently racist, homophobic, and transphobic.

Telling a queerer side of the #MeToo story, Unsafe Words dares to challenge dogmatic assumptions about sex and consent while developing tools and language to promote more ethical and more pleasurable sex for everyone.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Ace Notes: Tips and Tricks on Existing in an Allo WorldWhat is the ace lens?
Is my relationship queerplatonic?
Am I sex-favorable, sex-averse or sex-repulsed?

As an ace or questioning person in an oh-so-allo world, you’re probably in desperate need of a cheat sheet. Allow us to introduce your new asexual best friend, an essential resource serving up the life hacks you need to fully embrace the ace. Expect interviews with remarkable aces across the spectrum, advice on navigating different communities, and low-key ways to flaunt your ace identity.

Covering everything from coming out, explaining asexuality and understanding different types of attraction, to marriage, relationships, sex, consent, gatekeeping, religion, ace culture and more, this is the ultimate arsenal for whatever the allo world throws at you.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Justice is Served: A Tale of Scallops, the Law, and Cooking for RGB by Leslie Karst (April 4th)

When Leslie Karst learned that her offer to cook dinner for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her renowned tax law professor husband, Marty, had been accepted, she was thrilled—and terrified. A small-town lawyer who hated her job and had taken up cooking as a way to add a bit of spice to the daily grind of pumping out billable hours, Karst had never before thrown such a high-stakes dinner party. Could she really pull this off?

Justice is Served is Karst’s light-hearted, earnest account of the journey this unexpected challenge launched her on—starting with a trip to Paris for culinary inspiration, and ending with the dinner itself. Along the way, she imparts details of Ginsburg’s transformation from a young Jewish girl from Flatbush, Brooklyn, to one of the most celebrated Supreme Court justices in our nation’s history, and shares recipes for the mouthwatering dishes she came up with as she prepared for the big night. But this memoir isn’t simply a tale of prepping for and cooking dinner for the famous RBG; it’s also about how this event, and all the planning and preparation that went into it, created a new sort of connection between Karst, her partner, and her parents, and also inspired Karst to make life changes that would reverberate far beyond one dinner party.

A heartfelt story of simultaneously searching for delicious recipes and purpose in life, Justice is Served is an inspiring reminder that it’s never too late to discover—and follow—your deepest passion.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

The Yards Between Us by R. K. Russell (May 16th)

60021329In 2019, R.K. Russell broke the mold when he came out as bisexual in an essay for ESPN that ignited the sports world. Now, in his powerful memoir, The Yards Between Us, he shares his story and explores his love of football, men and women, walking the devastating tightrope of keeping his sexuality secret, the tension between his private and public lives, and the importance of crashing through barriers.

Told through the people and moments that have shaped him, Russell traces the highs and lows of his life in and out of football, from his early life as a shy kid struggling with the expectations on a Black boy and the pull between his quiet nature and his athletic ability,  to being drafted by his hometown team the Dallas Cowboys, and then on to seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills. And as his time in the sport comes into full bloom, Russell realizes that keeping his secret in the NFL is easier than in college when life and football are so much more connected to social worlds.

Through being cut, injured, and frustrating setbacks, Russell’s confidence lags as the secret of his sexuality weighs heavier and heavier. And when that frustration is combined with the devastating loss of his best friend and sole confidant, the darkness that follows also brings a deep understanding that perhaps it’s time to make a change. In Los Angeles, against the backdrop of the swaying palm trees and warm sands of Malibu, Russell falls in love and it’s the final push he needs to stand up for every part of himself—a professional athlete, a writer, a son, a friend, a lover, a bisexual Black man. In The Yards Between Us, R.K. Russell shows us the life-changing power of embracing who you are and fighting to make space so others can do the same.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

From Here by Luma Mufleh (May 16th)

In her coming-of-age memoir, refugee advocate Luma Mufleh writes of her tumultuous journey to reconcile her identity as a gay Muslim woman and a proud Arab-turned-American refugee.

With no word for “gay” in Arabic, Luma may not have known what to call the feelings she had growing up in Jordan during the 1980’s, but she knew well enough to keep them secret. It was clear that not only would her family have trouble accepting who she was, but trapped in a religious society, she could also be killed if anyone discovered she was gay. Luma spent her teenage years increasingly desperate to find a way out. After two suicide attempts, she finally realizes that to survive, she must leave the Middle East for good. While attending college in the United States, Luma endures the agonizing process of applying for political asylum, which ensures her safety—but causes her family to break ties with her.

Suddenly becoming a refugee in America is a rude awakening. Disowned, depressed, and broke, Luma must rely on the grace of both friends and strangers as she builds a tenuous new life finally embracing her full self. Slowly, she forges a new path forward with both her biological and chosen families, eventually founding Fugees Family, a nonprofit dedicated to the education and support of refugee children in the United States.

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Lesbian Love Story by Amelia Possanza (May 30th)

When Amelia Possanza moved to Brooklyn to build a life of her own, she found herself surrounded by queer stories: she read them on landmark placards, overheard them on the pool deck when she joined the world’s largest LGBTQ swim team, and even watched them on TV in her cockroach-infested apartment. These stories inspired her to seek out lesbians throughout history who could become her role models, in romance and in life.

Centered around seven love stories for the ages, this is Possanza’s journey into the archives to recover the personal histories of lesbians in the twentieth century: who they were, how they loved, why their stories were destroyed, and where their memories echo and live on. Possanza’s hunt takes readers from a drag king show in Bushwick to the home of activists in Harlem and then across the ocean to Hadrian’s Library, where she searches for traces of Sappho in the ruins. Along the way, she discovers her own love—for swimming, for community, for New York City—and adds her record to the archive.

At the heart of this riveting, inventive history, Possanza asks: How could lesbian love help us reimagine care and community? What would our world look like if we replaced its foundation of misogyny with something new, with something distinctly lesbian?

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Horse Barbie by Geena Rocero (May 30th)

As a young femme growing up in Manila in the 1990s, Geena Rocero endured shouts of bakla, bakla!, a Filipino taunt aimed at her feminine sway, whenever she left the little universe of her eskinita. Eventually she found her place in trans pageants, events as widely attended and culturally significant as a national sport, going to high school by day and competing by night. When her competitors denigrated her with the nickname “horse barbie,” due to her statuesque physique, tumbling hair, long neck, and dark skin, she leaned into the epithet, stepping onto stage with an undeniable charisma—part equine and all fashion. By seventeen, she was the Philippines’ most prominent and highest-earning trans pageant queen.

When she moved to the United States, Geena was able to change her name and gender marker on her documents, which wasn’t—and still isn’t—possible for trans people in the Philippines. But legal recognition didn’t come with any guarantee of safety. In order to survive, Geena went stealth and hid her trans identity, gaining one type of freedom and truth at the expense of another. For a while, it worked. Within a few years she’d become an in-demand model, appearing in music videos, billboards, and magazine campaigns, and was hailed as the epitome of feminine beauty. But as her star rose, her sense of self eroded. She craved acceptance as her authentic self, yet had to remain eternally vigilant in order to protect her dream career. The tenuous, high-stakes double life finally led Geena to a breaking point when she had to decide how to reclaim the power of Horse Barbie once and for all: radiant, head held high, and unabashedly herself.

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The Male Gazed by Manuel Betancourt (May 30th)

Manuel Betancourt has long lustfully coveted masculinity—in part because he so lacked it. As a child in Bogotá, Colombia, he grew up with the social pressure to appear strong, manly, and, ultimately, straight. And yet in the films and television he avidly watched, Betancourt saw glimmers of different possibilities. From the stars of telenovelas and the princes of Disney films to pop sensation Ricky Martin and teen heartthrobs in shows like Saved By the Bell, he continually found himself asking: Do I want him or do I want to be him?

The Male Gazed grapples with the thrall of masculinity, examining its frailty and its attendant anxieties even as it focuses on its erotic potential. Masculinity, Betancourt suggests, isn’t suddenly ripe for deconstruction—or even outright destruction—amid so much talk about its inherent toxicity. Looking back over decades’ worth of pop culture’s attempts to codify and reframe what men can be, wear, do, and desire, this book establishes that to gaze at men is still a subversive act.

Written in the spirit of Hanif Abdurraqib and Olivia Laing, The Male Gazed mingles personal anecdotes with cultural criticism to offer an exploration of intimacy, homoeroticism, and the danger of internalizing too many toxic ideas about masculinity as a gay man.

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A Very Gay Book by Nic Scheppard and Jenson Titus (June 6th)

A Very Gay BookFrom the creators of @verygaypaint, the immensely popular comedy design brand, A VERY GAY BOOK paints a cheeky and satirical portrait of the world where everything—from sports to science to soup—is gay.

Trees are gay. It’s why their branches brush up against each other so softly. Right-handed people are gay because that’s the first hand you use when you do the Macarena. Left-handed people are also gay. Magnets. Palindromes. All gay. A satirical textbook—including sections on history and heroes, customs and traditions—celebrating a very gay world, A Very Gay Book is an invitation to revel in the (both real and absurdly fictional) iconic successes of the LGBTQ+ community.

Buy it: Bookshop | Amazon | IndieBound

Pageboy by Elliot Page (June 6th)

“Can I kiss you?” It was two months before the world premiere of Juno, and Elliot Page was in his first ever queer bar. The hot summer air hung heavy around him as he looked at her. And then it happened. In front of everyone. A previously unfathomable experience. Here he was on the precipice of discovering himself as a queer person, as a trans person. Getting closer to his desires, his dreams, himself, without the repression he’d carried for so long. But for Elliot, two steps forward had always come with one step back.

With Juno’s massive success, Elliot became one of the world’s most beloved actors. His dreams were coming true, but the pressure to perform suffocated him. He was forced to play the part of the glossy young starlet, a role that made his skin crawl, on and off set. The career that had been an escape out of his reality and into a world of imagination was suddenly a nightmare.

As he navigated criticism and abuse from some of the most powerful people in Hollywood, a past that snapped at his heels, and a society dead set on forcing him into a binary, Elliot often stayed silent, unsure of what to do, until enough was enough. Full of behind the scenes details and intimate interrogations on sex, love, trauma, and Hollywood, Pageboy is the story of a life pushed to the brink. But at its core, this beautifully written, winding journey of what it means to untangle ourselves from the expectations of others is an ode to stepping into who we truly are with defiance, strength, and joy.

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A Place for Us by Brandon J. Wolf (June 6th)

You never forget your first. First kiss. First love. First heartache. They all burrow their way into your subconscious, destined to reshape how you see the world forever.

Growing up in rural Oregon, Brandon Wolf grappled with the devastating loss of his supportive mother and with the embedded racism and homophobia of a community that made him feel like an unwelcome stranger. After the lack of connection and role models led him down a spiral of risky behavior, Wolf escaped to survive. In Orlando, he found what he’d been searching for: belonging―in a community that was a safe space with people he’d come to call his chosen family. They taught Wolf how to love, and be loved, unconditionally. Then, on June 12, 2016, in an exhilarating refuge where Wolf and hundreds of others had discovered a liberating new normal, they were suddenly challenged with fighting for a way out―in order to survive. Overnight, everything was ripped away by chaos, panic, and fear. But the unimaginable tragedy also gave Wolf a new power: purpose.

In this unforgettable coming-of-age memoir, Wolf shares his transformative journey from young outsider to galvanizing activist. Marshaling the compassion and strength of a community, Wolf explores how to get through the darkest times with healing, hope, and resistance. “With our backs against the wall,” he writes, “we find a way out together.”

Buy it:  Amazon | IndieBound

Leg: the Story of a Limb and the Boy Who Grew From It by Greg Marshall (June 13th)

61783798. sy475 Greg Marshall’s early years were pretty bizarre. Rewind the VHS tapes (this is the nineties) and you’ll see a lopsided teenager limping across a high school stage, or in a wheelchair after leg surgeries, pondering why he’s crushing on half of the Utah Jazz. Add to this home video footage a mom clacking away at her newspaper column between chemos, a dad with ALS, and a cast of foulmouthed siblings. Fast forward the tape and you’ll find Marshall happily settled into his life as a gay man only to discover he’s been living in another closet his whole life: he has cerebral palsy. Here, in the hot mess of it all, lies Greg Marshall’s wellspring of wit and wisdom.

Leg is an extraordinarily funny and insightful memoir from a daring new voice. Packed with outrageous stories of a singular childhood, it is also a unique examination of what it means to transform when there are parts of yourself you can’t change, a moving portrait of a family in crisis, and a tale of resilience of spirit. In Marshall’s deft hands, we see a story both personal and universal—of being young and wanting the world, even when the world doesn’t feel like yours to want.

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To Name the Bigger Lie: A Memoir in Two Stories by Sarah Viren (June 13th)

Sarah’s story begins as she’s researching what she believes will be a book about her high school philosophy teacher, a charismatic instructor who taught her and her classmates to question everything—in the end, even the reality of historical atrocities. As she digs into the effects of his teachings, her life takes a turn into the fantastical when her wife, Marta, is notified that she’s been investigated for sexual misconduct at the university where they both teach.

Based in part on a viral New York Times essay, To Name the Bigger Lie follows the investigation as it upends Sarah’s understanding of truth. She knows the claims made against Marta must be lies, and as she uncovers the identity of the person behind them and then tries, with increasing desperation, to prove their innocence, she’s drawn back into the questions that her teacher inspired all those years ago: about the nature of truth, the value of skepticism, and the stakes we all have in getting the story right.

A compelling, incisive journey into honesty and betrayal, this memoir explores the powerful pull of dangerous conspiracy theories and the pliability of personal narratives in a world dominated by hoaxes and fakes. To Name the Bigger Lie reads like the best of psychological thrillers—made all the more riveting because it’s true.

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Tar Hollow Trans: Essays ed. by Stacy Jane Grover (June 20th)

“I’ve lived a completely ordinary life, so much that I don’t know how to write a transgender or queer or Appalachian story, because I don’t feel like I’ve lived one. … Though, in searching for ways to write myself in my stories, maybe I can find power in this ordinariness.”

Raised in southeast Ohio, Stacy Jane Grover would not describe her upbringing as “Appalachian.” Appalachia existed farther afield―more rural, more country than the landscape of her hometown.

Grover returned to the places of her childhood to reconcile her identity and experience with the culture and the people who had raised her. She began to reflect on her memories and discovered that group identities like Appalachian and transgender are linked by more than just the stinging brand of social otherness.

In Tar Hollow Trans, Grover explores her transgender experience through common Appalachian cultural traditions. In “Dead Furrows,” a death vigil and funeral leads to an investigation of Appalachian funerary rituals and their failure to help Grover cope with the grief of being denied her transness. “Homeplace” threads family interactions with farm animals and Grover’s coming out journey, illuminating the disturbing parallels between the American Veterinary Association’s guidelines for ethical euthanasia and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s guidelines for transgender care.

Together, her essays write transgender experience into broader cultural narratives beyond transition and interrogate the failures of concepts such as memory, metaphor, heritage, and tradition. Tar Hollow Trans investigates the ways the labels of transgender and Appalachian have been created and understood and reckons with the ways the ever-becoming transgender self, like a stigmatized region, can find new spaces of growth.

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March 2022 Deal Announcements

Adult Fiction

Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate Eliot Duncan’s PONYBOY, about trans masculinity, addiction, sex, family, self-destruction, and the pains—and inevitable joy—of becoming, documenting the narrator’s spiral into and out of his body, and set in Paris, Berlin, and the Midwest, to Mo Crist at Norton, by Ian Bonaparte and PJ Mark at Janklow & Nesbit (NA)

CJ Connor’s BOARD TO DEATH, the first in a queer cozy mystery series featuring a 30-something professor-turned-board game shop proprietor who juggles keeping his father’s Salt Lake City-based board game shop alive, a budding romance with the handsome florist next door, and a murder that threatens the game shop’s livelihood, to Elizabeth Trout at Kensington, in a two-book deal, by Jessica Faust at BookEnds.

Kat Caliteri‘s debut BOYSTOWN HEARTBREAKERS, in which a Chicago hairstylist has only three things to his name: a pair of $1,200 shears, a Boystown studio apartment, and a list of men who’ve broken his heart written on his closet wall; will this friends-to-lovers romance end in a happily ever after?, to Alexandria Brown at Rising Action, in an exclusive submission, for publication in spring 2024.

Recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Edmund White‘s THE HUMBLE LOVER, about a rich older man who falls in love with a young star in the New York City Ballet and becomes something between his patron, friend, and lover, to Daniel Loedel at Bloomsbury, for publication in 2023, by Bill Clegg at The Clegg Agency (world English).

Author of THE GOLDEN SEASON Madeline Kay Sneed’s THE BEST DAY OF OUR LIVES, pitched for fans of Maggie Shipstead’s SEATING ARRANGEMENTS, a layered family drama starring an ensemble cast set at a big, splashy Texas wedding over the course of a weekend, in which a member of the wedding party is forced to reconnect—explosively—with her ex-wife, throwing several other relationships into chaos as a result, to Brittany Lavery at Graydon House, for publication in winter 2024, by Amy Elizabeth Bishop at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (world English).

Playwright Jeffrey Richards’s WE ARE ONLY GHOSTS, a psychological novel with LGBTQ+ themes about a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, who after the war, finds his way to New York City, where two decades later he is confronted by the man who was both his tormentor and his savior, to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, for publication in spring 2024, by Matthew Carnicelli at Carnicelli Literary Management (world).

Carlyn Greenwald‘s SIZZLE REEL, a love triangle rom-com following an aspiring cinematographer and talent manager’s assistant who, after coming out as bi at 23, finds herself attracted to an ambiguously gay A-list actress who takes an interest in her career, complicating her already-complex friendship with her suave, nonbinary lesbian best friend, to Caitlin Landuyt at Vintage, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2023, by Janine Kamouh at William Morris Endeavor (NA).

University of Memphis professor and author of the story collection QUANTUM CONVENTION Eric Schlich’s ELI HARPO’S ADVENTURE TO THE AFTERLIFE, a coming-of-age story about a boy raised to believe he briefly went to heaven, whose religious doubts and questions about his sexuality start to emerge at the worst possible time—on his family’s road trip to Bible World to see the new attraction based on his near-death experience, to Abby Muller at Algonquin, by Rachel Ludwig at David Black Literary Agency (world).

Lesbian comic artist Ren Strapp’s HOW COULD YOU?, in which a group of college women must navigate platonic and romantic love through heartbreak, matchmaking, and a semester abroad, to Jasmine Amiri at Oni Press, in a nice deal, for publication in 2024, by Stephanie Winter at P.S. Literary Agency (world).

Co-editor of the Cambridge University Press Elements in Crime Narratives Series and Lambda Literary Award Finalist Margot Douaihy’s debut SCORCHED CROSS, the first in a series of hardboiled-inspired queer whodunits following a chain-smoking, heavily tattooed, queer nun, who puts her amateur sleuthing skills to the test after her convent becomes the target of a shocking arson spree, leading her down a twisty path of suspicion and secrets during the end of a sweltering New Orleans summer, to Gillian Flynn Books, in a pre-empt.

Artist, filmmaker, and poet Navid Sinaki’s MEDUSA OF THE ROSES, an Iranian noir steeped in Persian and Greek mythology that follows a queer petty thief and morbid romantic in a feverish search for answers and revenge after his boyfriend disappears, to Katie Raissian at Grove/Atlantic, by Mariah Stovall at Trellis Literary Management (NA).

DEPART, DEPART! author Sim Kern’s REAL SUGAR IS HARD TO FIND, a collection of stories exploring intersections of climate change, identity, reproductive justice, queerness, and family trauma, charting a path from climate despair toward resilience and revolutionary optimism, to Justine Norton-Kertson at Android, in a nice deal, for publication in August 2022 (world English).

David R. Slayton’s TO CATCH A GEEK, pitched in the vein of FANGIRL meets RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE, in which a man wants to reboot his favorite sci-fi show but the creator’s embittered son stands in his way; when the son plots to use his reboot to show the world who his father really was, he learns that being a geek isn’t a bad thing while he learns that meeting your heroes sometimes is, to Tera Cuskaden at Crazy Maple Studio, for publication in winter 2023, by Lesley Sabga at The Seymour Agency (world).

Poet Natasha Siegel‘s debut SOLOMON’S CROWN, pitched in the vein of Madeline Miller’s THE SONG OF ACHILLES, a queer, alt-history reimagining of two medieval kings, Richard the Lionheart and Philip Augustus, who fall into a forbidden affair and must choose between betraying one another for the sake of their legacies, or following their hearts, to Jesse Shuman at Bantam Dell, in a two-book deal, by Tara Gilbert at Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency (world English).

Children’s/Middle Grade Fiction

Jazz Taylor‘s STARTING FROM SCRATCH, about a girl whose new stepsister throws off her carefully crafted coping mechanisms, takes over her favorite activities and friends, and moves in with a cat even though she is scared of them—leaving her to figure out how to deal with a copycat sister and a stubbornly affectionate feline in their new blended home, to Olivia Valcarce at Scholastic, in an exclusive submission, for publication in spring 2023, by Holly Root at Root Literary (world).

Author-illustrator Elijah Forbes’s debut ANONG AND THE RIBBON SKIRT, a middle-grade graphic novel featuring a Two-Spirit nonbinary child who sets out to create and wear a ribbon skirt—a piece of clothing typically worn by women in the Anishinaabe tradition—at an upcoming powwow, to Cassandra Pelham Fulton at Graphix, for publication in fall 2024, by Nicole Geiger at Full Circle Literary (world).

Elizabeth Lee at Penguin Workshop has bought, in an exclusive submission, Playbook for Imperfect Planets by debut author Erin Becker. This contemporary, dual-POV middle grade novel is an enemies-to-first-crushes story following two 13-year-old girls whose fierce rivalry on the soccer field is complicated by their burgeoning feelings for each other. Publication is scheduled for summer 2024; Joanna Volpe and Abigail Donoghue at New Leaf Literary & Media negotiated the deal for world English rights.

Young Adult Fiction

Justin Arnold’s WICKED LITTLE THINGS, a campy horror in which a recently outed teen discovers he is a witch and returns to his small hometown to solve the murder of his cousin; in order to catch the rabbit-faced killer, he reluctantly joins a coven of fashion-forward mean girls and gets up close and personal with a werewolf, all while learning to embrace his power, to Joshua Dean Perry at Tiny Ghost Press, in a nice deal, for publication in fall 2022 (world English).

Author of NEVER KISS YOUR ROOMMATE Philline Harms’s LOVE AND OTHER WICKED THINGS, a witchy, sapphic romance set in a small, magical town, to Rebecca Sands at Wattpad, for publication in spring 2023 (world).

Dale Walls’s debut THE QUEER GIRL IS GOING TO BE OKAY, about a tight-knit group of three queer girls navigating love, friendship, and changes during their senior year of high school in Houston, to Meghan Maria McCullough at Levine Querido, in an exclusive submission, for publication in fall 2023, by Garrett Alwert at Emerald City Literary Agency (world).

Alex Crespo’s SAINT JUNIPER’S FOLLY, a queer Gothic mystery pitched as CEMETERY BOYS meets THE DEVOURING GRAY, in which a straight-laced golden boy and a novice witch team up to rescue a Mexican American teen with a cryptic past who has become trapped inside a haunted mansion in Vermont, to Ashley Hearn at Peachtree Teen, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer of 2023, by Mary C. Moore of Kimberley Cameron & Associates (world).

Anna-Marie McLemore and Elliott McLemore‘s VENOM & VOW, a YA fantasy about a transgender prince doubling for his brother, and a bigender boy assassin/lady-in-waiting, who, thanks to their concealed identities, don’t realize they’re simultaneously falling for and trying to destroy each other, to Kat Brzozowski at Feiwel and Friends, for publication in spring 2023, by Taylor Martindale Kean at Full Circle Literary (NA).

Elle Gonzalez Rose‘s debut CAUGHT IN A BAD FAUXMANCE, a queer, Latinx rom-com pitched as TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE meets Schitt’s Creek, in which an aspiring artist’s winter vacation devolves into hijinks after his family’s affluent long-time rivals challenge them to a bet that could cost his family their beloved lake cabin; but when the enemy’s attractive son comes to him in desperate need of a fake boyfriend, he reluctantly agrees to set aside loathing for love to take down the other family once and for all, to Bria Ragin, Nicola Yoon, and David Yoon at Joy Revolution, for publication in fall 2023, by Uwe Stender at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world).

Claire Winn‘s CITY OF VICIOUS NIGHT, the sequel to CITY OF SHATTERED LIGHT, a queer, female-led cyberpunk adventure, in which an heiress-turned-smuggler and a gunslinger are forced to vie for leadership of an underworld faction after a mysterious hacker turns the city against them; meanwhile, a captured crew member must ally with an old enemy to find his way home, to Meg Gaertner at Flux, for publication in spring 2023, by Cortney Radocaj at Belcastro Agency (world).

Stacey Anthony’s MAKEUP, BREAKUP, an LGBTQ+ contemporary romance in which a self-taught, up-and-coming makeup artist competes against rival influencers—one of whom happens to be their ex—in a cosplay competition to win a scholarship to a prestigious special effects school, to Britny Brooks at Running Press Kids, in a nice deal, for publication in the summer of 2023, by Haley Casey at Creative Media Agency (world English).

Musician Jessamyn Violet‘s SECRET RULES TO BEING A ROCKSTAR, a queer debut about a teenage musician who jumps at a chance to play in her favorite rock band on their upcoming world tour, only to realize her heroes have their own agenda and might be leading her down a dark path, to Peter Carlaftes at Three Rooms Press, with Kat Georges editing, in a nice deal, for publication in April 2023, by Devon Halliday at Transatlantic Literary Agency (world English).

Jason June‘s RILEY WEAVER NEEDS A DATE TO THE GAYBUTANTE BALL, in which a gay, femme 16-year-old hopes to enter the Gaybutante Society, a world-renowned organization full of queer tastemakers, and when he’s told by a gay cis classmate that gay guys aren’t attracted to femme gays, he bets he’ll find a boyfriend in time for the Gaybutante Ball, to Megan Ilnitzki at Harper Teen, in a good deal, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2023, by Brent Taylor at TriadaUS Literary Agency (world English).

Linda Cheng’s debut YA, GORGEOUS GRUESOME FACES (and its sequel), a supernatural sapphic YA horror novel pitched as WILDER GIRLS meets LOVEBOAT, TAIPEI set in the glittering, cut-throat world of Asian pop that follows a disgraced teen idol who comes face to face with a former bandmate and the demons of their shared past when the two enter a competition that devolves into a deadly nightmare, to Kate Meltzer at Roaring Brook Press, at auction, for publication in 2023, by John Cusick at Folio Literary Management/Folio (world).

BETWEEN PERFECT AND REAL author Ray Stoeve‘s THE SUMMER LOVE STRATEGY, in which two girls (one cis, one trans) decide to emulate romcoms to help each other find love and end up falling for each other, to Maggie Lehrman at Amulet, in a two-book deal, by Lauren Abramo at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (world English).

Sarah Van Name‘s THESE BODIES BETWEEN US, pitched as The Craft by way of Nina LaCour, following four friends in a North Carolina beach town who spend their summer learning to become invisible until their newfound powers start to spiral out of control, to Hannah Hill at Delacorte, for publication in spring 2024, by Maria Bell at Sterling Lord Literistic (world English).

Xan van Rooyen‘s MY NAME IS MAGIC, set at a Finnish school for the magically gifted, in which a 15-year-old magically challenged nonbinary student must save their disappearing friends, to Joshua Dean Perry at Tiny Ghost Press, in a nice deal, for publication in September 2022, by Lindsay Leggett at The Rights Factory (world English).

Emmett Nahil and George Williams’s LET ME OUT, a queer horror graphic novel set during the Satanic panic, in which four friends must unravel a conspiracy involving secret government bureaus and strange rituals, while things take a turn for the hellish—literally, to Jasmine Amiri at Oni Press, for publication in 2023, by Tamara Kawar at ICM (world).

Non-Fiction

Dance photographer and journalist duo Yael Malka and Coco Romack‘s QUEER DANCE, a photojournalistic celebration of LGBTQ+ dancers, choreographers, companies, and collectives across the country who are challenging the heteronormative status quo of the dance world, pairing Malka’s images with Romack’s reported essays, to Mirabelle Korn at Chronicle, for publication in spring 2024, by Ayla Zuraw-Friedland at Frances Goldin Literary Agency (world).

Pop culture writer, video-maker, and queer geek extraordinaire Matt Baume‘s untitled book, which traverses the history of sitcoms from the ’60s to the present to tell the story of how subversive queer comedy transformed the American sitcom—and how our favorite sitcoms transformed America, to Robb Pearlman at Smart Pop, by Lauren Abramo at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret (world).

Filmmaker and cofounder of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop Curtis Chin‘s EVERYTHING I LEARNED, I LEARNED IN A CHINESE RESTAURANT, about coming of age and coming out, tracing the author’s journey through 1980s Detroit, navigating rising xenophobia, the AIDS epidemic, and the Reagan revolution to find his voice as a writer and activist, set against the backdrop of his family’s popular Chinese restaurant, to Vivian Lee at Little, Brown, in a good deal, at auction, by Sonali Chanchani and Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management (NA).

NYT essayist, poet, and the first out active bisexual NFL player R. K. Russell’s THE YARDS BETWEEN US, which traces his experience discovering his sexuality alongside his career in football as it explores the defining people and moments in his life; a fresh look at masculinity, sexuality, race, sports, and how they intersect, to Jennifer Levesque at Andscape, with Kelli Martin editing, at auction, for publication in fall 2022, by Sarah Bowlin at Aevitas Creative Management (world).