Here's a list of books by LGBT+ voices which explore the experience of love, from Virginia Woolf, Sarah Waters, James Baldwin and more.






 

Tipping the Velvet

A coming-of-age story set in the music halls of 19th century London, Sarah Waters's debut novel follows the rise and romances of Nan King, from a music-hall star to a rent boy and East-End 'Tom'.

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Tales of the City

Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series follows the lives the LGBT+ community in the hippy heartland of 1970s San Francisco. Centering on Mary Ann Singleton’s arrival from small-town Cleveland and her subsequent San Fransican adventures, these are funny, heartwarming and sometimes tragic stories of awakening, self-discovery and love.

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Carol

Carol is a visceral portrait of the relationship between Therese Belivet, a lonely young artist, and Carol, a self-assured divorcee, set against the backdrop of 1950s New York. Highsmith first published Carol as The Price of Salt under a pseudonym in 1952 to avoid potential scandal around her own personal life.

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Challenge

After eloping to France with her lover Violet Trefusis and leaving behind their husbands and children, Sackville-West wrote Challenge, a fictional love story with many parallels to her own life. Although now considered a classic of LGBT+ literature Challenge lay unread for almost fifty years after the author stopped its publication in 1920 for fear of a scandal amongst her aristocratic peers.

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The Color Purple

Set in America’s Deep South, Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel is told through the words of of Celie, a young black woman born into segregation and poverty. The Color Purple is a heartbreaking story of abuse and exploitation, but also of Celie finding her own identity and discovering the ability to love.

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The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister

The daughter of wealthy landowners in the 19th century, Anne Lister had to keep her real identity and relationships a secret from the world. Her recently discovered and decoded diaries reveal her fascinating secret life, and reveal how this remarkable woman was able to be a landowner, industrialist, traveller and lesbian in this most conservative of times.

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Orlando

Following it’s immortal namesake through three centuries of history, Orlando is an whimsical exploration of perceptions of gender and love through the ages. It’s also a love letter, written by Virginia Woolf to her long time female companion and fellow novelist Vita Sackville-West, who inspired the character of Orlando.

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Giovanni's Room

After David, a young American living in 1950s Paris meets the mysterious Giovanni in a bar the two begin an intense affair. When David's girlfriend returns three months later he is forced to choose between them, which has devestating consequences for them all. Highly controversial when it was first published in 1956 for it's portrayal of a gay relationship in mainsteam literature, James Baldwin’s tale of an ill fated love triangle is now considered a classic.

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