Bush Staff Recommends: LGBT+ Books

Happy LGBT+ History Month!

In the midst of LGBT+ history month we wanted to focus on our favourite pieces of literature that we believe diversify the perspective from which stories are told. So we asked our staff to pull out their best recommendations for books written by LGBT+ authors and/or including gay characters. It’s time to celebrate and shine a spotlight on stories whose significance has been undermined and dismissed in the past.

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst and Howard’s End by E.M.Foster

Published in 2004, the novel won a Man Booker prize.

Published 1910, this novel was later developed into a romantic drama film which received massive critical acclaim.

Can I say two? The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (so sexy – shows how lust and power are always intertwined) and Howard’s End by E.M.Foster (so wistful – you fall in love with every character and in the film version Helena Bonham Carter and Emma Thompson will break your heart)

Fun Fact: Line of beauty is used, in art, to describe an S-shaped curved line – a shape which ‘swings both ways’. 

Jessica Campbell – Producer

Trumpet by Jackie Kay

Published 1998, the novel won the Guardian Fiction Prize and Lamda Literary Award for Transgender.

Exploring our connections to gender and identity, with this book Jackie Kay creates a delicate world of music, love and hurt that is so exhilirating and complicated. Beautiful.

Fun Fact: In an interview, Kay spoke about her desire for the book to read like music and integrates a Jazz aesthetic to the writing. 

Angela Wachner – General Manager

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green

Published 2012, awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. It’s the most beautifully written book I think I’ve ever read. It’s a gay love story, set in Ancient Greece and the writing is just so vibrant. I’ve cried too many times reading it on the tube.

Published 2010

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green. Just a really great, warm LGBTQ+ book about growing up, first love and living in this world as a queer person.

Fun Fact: Will Grayson, Will Grayson was the first LGBT-themed young adult novel to make The New York Times children’s best-seller list

Jack Cook – Duty Manager

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Published 1982

Once I started reading it I couldn’t stop. I thought it was such a beautiful story and it’s one which has stuck with me for for years. I wish I could read it for the first time again.

Fun Fact: The Color Purple won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983, making Walker the first black woman to win the prize.

Tasha Msanide – Digital Marketing Officer

Her Body & Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Published 2017, the book won the Shirley Jackson award.

This is a collection of amazingly weird, scary, harrowing, funny, violent, sexy, extraordinary & magic short stories – a lot of them based on fairy tales, but told in a way that you won’t have heard them before – centering queer women. These stories are explosive and Machado is a truly unique writer. “Especially Heinous” is my favourite in the collection.

Fun Fact: In an interview, Machado explained her inspiration for the story came from attempting to re-imagine Law and Order SVU into surreal visions. However she found the capsule descriptions too restrictive and instead wrote down the title of each episode in a row, which became the starting point for her writing. 

Elly Tindall – Development Assistant

Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave


Holding the Man by Timothy Conigrave.. it’s just so beautiful and heartbreaking.

Fun Fact: Holding the Man was adapted for the stage by Tommy Murphy in 2006. The original production, directed by David Berthold, is one of the most successful Australian stage productions in recent years, playing in most Australian capital cities and London’s West End.

Ilaria – Box Office