Contemporary Trans* and Nonbinary Authors to Read TODAY

Strand Book Store
8 min readJan 29, 2019

by Janna Jesson

Trans and Nonbinary authors are creating compelling and beautiful works every day of the year, but sometimes you may feel like you are just hearing from the same few representative authors over and over again. We’ve gathered some names you may not know yet, along with a few quintessential authors who blazed the trail. These authors are vitally important, but not always present in our literary canon until something wonderful or horrible happens to the LGBTQ+ community.

So don’t wait for another ridiculous ban to enrage you. Don’t wait for Pride month. Read LGBTQ+ authors consistently and with an open heart all year long.

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Akwaeke Emezi is a nonbinary Igbo and Tamil writer and video artist. Their debut autobiographical novel Freshwater explores their experience growing up with a fragmented identity.

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

Charlie Jane Anders is an American writer and commentator. Her upcoming sci-fi release is about Sophie, a reluctant revolutionary who lives on a dying planet. See her discuss her new book on The Strand’s YouTube.

Lord of the Butterflies by Andrew/ Andrea Gibson

Andrew/ Andrea Gibson is an American poet and activist. Their latest poetry collection boldly delves into topics such as gender, romance, loss, and family.

Nevada by Imogen Binnie

Imogen Binnie is a transgender novelist whose darkly comedic debut Nevada shows a young trans woman struggling to figure things out in NYC (while working at Strand!).

Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

Danez Smith is a Black, Queer, Poz writer & performer. Their stunning poetry collection confronts issues of race, police brutality, the body, and more, and was a Finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry.

the earthquake room by Davey Davis

Davey Davis is an editor and writer who focuses on body horror and queer sensibilities. Their speculative fiction debut centers on a queer couple bea and k, who are haunted by the fear of natural disaster in the Bay area.

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Daniel Mallory Ortberg

Daniel Mallory Ortberg is an American author and editor who co-founded The Toast. The Merry Spinster is a darkly witty retelling of traditional children’s stories and fairy tales.

An Unkindness of Ghosts by

Rivers Solomon is an award-winning author of literary and speculative fiction. Their compelling debut confronts sexual identity, race, and class as it shows the life of Aster, who is enslaved on a segregated space vessel.

Whipping Girl by

Julia Serano is an American writer, spoken-word performer, trans–bi activist, and biologist. In this updated version of the provocative and popular Whipping Girl, she elucidates biological and social perspectives on gender.

A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story About Schizophrenia by

Sandy writes and speaks about mental health, gender, normalcy, and power. Their enigmatic uncle Bob once sent them an autobiographical manuscript about being labeled schizophrenic and asked Sandy to share his story with the world.

Advice from the Lights: Poems by Stephanie Burt

Stephanie Burt is a literary critic, poet, professor at Harvard University and transgender activist. In Advice from the Lights, she explores gender identity, self-actualization, artistry, and the past.

Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution by Susan Stryker

Susan Stryker is a professor, author, filmmaker, and theorist whose work focuses on gender and human sexuality. Her important book uncovers transgender history from the mid-twentieth century to today.

Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man by Thomas Page McBee

Thomas Page McBee is a writer and the first transgender man to box in Madison Square Garden. His newest book is centered around that story as the author struggles with the linked concepts of masculinity and violence.

I’m Afraid of Men by

Vivek Shraya is a Canadian musician, writer, and visual artist. In this painfully honest book, she talks about the misogyny, transphobia, and homophobia she has endured from a life of not fitting in with the mainstream.

Anybody: Poems by Ari Banias

Ari Banias is an author and poetry teacher. In Anybody, he skillfully discusses identity, particularly gender identity, and being alive in a time with such rigid boundaries for existence.

Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me by Janet Mock

Janet Mock is an American writer, television host, director, producer, and transgender rights activist. Her newest nonfiction work shows what her twenties were like, and how she slowly, painfully earned her success.

Born Both: An Intersex Life by

Hida Viloria is a Latinx writer, author, and vanguard intersex and non-binary activist. S/he writes about being raised a girl but discovering how hi/r body was different compared to others.

TRANS: A Memoir by Juliet Jacques

Juliet Jacques is a writer and filmmaker based in London. Her extraordinary memoir chronicles her transition while also commenting on transgender politics and culture.

Finding Nevo by

Nevo Zisin is a non-binary Australian writer and transgender rights activist. Personal as well as political, Finding Nevo is about one person’s experience with and understanding of gender.

Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Loss, and the Fight for Trans Equality by

Sarah McBride is an American transgender rights activist, author, and the first transgender person to speak at a national political convention in 2016. Her book is about her empowering and heartbreaking journey coming out and coping with her husband’s untimely death.

Trans Like Me: Conversations For All of Us by

CN Lester is a British classical and alternative singer-songwriter, as well as a transgender rights activist. Their book explores pressing questions facing the transgender community today.

Before I Had the Words: On Being a Transgender Young Adult by Skylar Kergil

Skylar Kergil is an American transgender activist, singer-songwriter, and vlogger who documented his transition on YouTube. His touching biography discusses what things were like before he ever posted on YouTube.

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