The 23rd annual Baltimore Book Festival takes place at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor Sept. 28-30 from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. The festival will feature hundreds of local and national authors speaking on 11 stages throughout the festival, including several LGBT contributors.
On Saturday (Sept. 29) at 3 p.m. at the Radical Bookfair Pavilion, Charlene A. Carruthers, a black queer feminist activist and author, presents her new book “Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements,” exploring how (and why) to make the black liberation movement more radical, queer and feminist. Later that day at 5 p.m. at Science Fiction and Fantasy, a panel of LGBT authors will discuss the integration of queer folks in science fiction writing and the role queer voices play in the genre. The festival is free and open to the public. For more information, including a full schedule of events and a map, visit baltimorebookfestival.com.
This year’s Fall for the Book festival takes place Oct. 10-13 at George Mason University (10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.; 4400 University Dr., Fairfax, Va.). Now in its 20th year, the festival seeks to connect readers with authors and encourage cultural growth through reading.
In addition to nationally renowned politician and civil rights leader John Lewis, there are many noteworthy activists and authors lined up, including several representatives from the LGBT world. Sandy Allen, a non-binary trans writer, speaker and teacher, will participate in a panel on “Writing Through Identity” with three other essayists whose work all focus on exploration of identity (Oct. 12, 6-7:15 p.m.). Eithne Luibhéid, professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Arizona, will also give a talk on “Sexualities, Intimacies and Queer Migration,” dissecting the intersection between immigration and queerness (Oct. 10, 4:30 p.m.). The event is free and open to the public. For more details and a full schedule of events, visit fallforthebook2018.org.
In her powerful debut, “Black Queer Hoe” (Haymarket Books, Sept. 4), Chicago performance poet and playwright Britteney Black Rose Kapri wrestles with questions about sexual freedom and sexual exploitation in a world where black queer women are frequently denied basic rights to bodily autonomy. Kapri is refreshingly unapologetic and provides crucial insights and perspective into many conversations currently playing out across the country surrounding race, gender, sexuality and power.
In his new poetry collection, “The Rise of Genderqueer” (Brain Mill Press, Sept. 4), Wren Hanks challenges assumptions about gender, dismantling the status quo from every angle. A trans writer from Texas, his poems are raw and authentic and create a space for his extraordinary voice.
Akemi Dawn Bowman’s new novel “Summer Bird Blue” (Simon Pulse, Sept. 11) tells the story of Rumi Seto, a mixed race teen suffering from the tragedy of losing her sister while simultaneously attempting to understand her own identity as asexual. A raw story about loss, grief and identity, “Summer Bird Blue” is a powerful read that sheds light on the strength and perseverance of humanity.
If you love graphic novels, Tillie Walden’s “On a Sunbeam” (First Second, Oct. 2) is a must read. Set in the deepest reaches of space, “On a Sunbeam” is an epic graphic novel that takes the reader on one girl’s journey of falling in love at boarding school then losing everything. A story of love and second chances, Walden beautifully writes and illustrates what one critic has called “her best work yet” in this fall’s release.
If you have a young person in your life, “Jack (Not Jackie)” (little bee books, Oct. 9) is a wonderful gift idea. In this moving picture book, Erica Silverman tells the story of a big sister who realizes her little sister Jackie may not in fact be her sister at all. Jackie doesn’t like to wear dresses or have long hair and wants to be called Jack instead.
Author of acclaimed fiction “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” Becky Albertalli alongside Adam Silvera release their new young-adult romance “What If It’s Us” this October (HarperTeen, Oct. 9). Ben has just broken up with his boyfriend when Arthur moves to New York City for the summer to work on Broadway. Although Ben is heartbroken and not interested in starting a new relationship, when he meets Arthur at the post office, he’s forced to reconsider. “What If It’s Us” is a story of fate and trying to figure out what exactly the universe has in store for us.
Lambda Award Winner Julia Watts releases her latest young-adult novel, “QUIVER” (Three Rooms Press, Oct. 16), this fall. Set in rural Tennessee, it tells of a friendship between two teenagers on opposite sides of today’s culture wars. Libby comes from a strict evangelical family while her new neighbor Zo is a gender fluid feminist, socialist (and of course vegetarian), and yet despite their differences, they are drawn to each other and connect instantly.
Creator of Amazon’s “Transparent” Jill Soloway is finally releasing her powerful memoir “She Wants It: Desire, Power and Toppling the Patriarchy” (Crown Archetype, Oct. 16), which reveals her personal journey from a straight, married mother of two to a queer and nonbinary activist. Her memoir deconstructs the harmful dominant narratives still shaping our society, challenging the status quo and encouraging the reader to think critically about issues from consent and #metoo to gender and inclusion.
If you love poetry, Mary Lambert’s new collection “Shame Is an Ocean I Swim Across” (Feiwel & Friends, Oct. 23) should definitely be added to your fall reading list. A writer and LGBT activist, Lambert is also a songwriter and collaborated with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to create the Grammy-nominated queer anthem “Same Love.” The poems in her new collection tackle issues of sexual assault, mental illness and body acceptance.
In “The Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist” (Mit Press, Oct. 23) Ben Barres, esteemed neurobiologist at Stanford University, tells the story of his life from his gender transition to his scientific work and finally his advocacy for gender equity in the sciences. This book, completed shortly before his death in 2017, explores his experience as a female student at MIT in the 1970s and his transition from female to male in his 40s alongside fascinating accounts of his scientific accomplishments.
If you enjoyed “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” Kheryn Callender’s new book “This is kind of an epic love story” (HarperCollins, Oct. 30) may be up your alley. After losing his father and watching too many relationships in his life fall apart, Nathan Bird no longer believes in happy endings. However all that changes when he realizes his true feelings for his best friend from childhood, Oliver. Can Nathan set aside his anxieties and pursue his own happy ending?
Set in Washington, Robin Talley’s “Pulp” (Harlequin Teen, Nov. 13) tells of two queer women across generations, one from the 1950s and another from present day. The first narrative follows 18-year-old Janet as she struggles to keep her queer identity a secret and finds solace in literature during the age of McCarthyism. The second follows Abby Zimet who can’t stop thinking about her senior project on 1950s lesbian pulp fiction and her ever-growing connection with the authors and works she’s reading. Talley’s dual narrative novel weaves the stories of two girls across six decades, connected by words, bravery and their desire to push society forward.
Trans activist Brynn Tannehill walks readers through transgender issues and dismantles harmful misconceptions in her new book “Everything you every wanted to know about trans* (but were too afraid to ask)” (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Nov. 21). Her book will open your eyes and leave you prepared to engage in critical conversations around transgender folks and most importantly, be a better ally to the trans community.
In “Not just a tomboy: a trans masculine memoir” (Jessica Kingsley, Nov. 21), Caspar J. Baldwin recounts his own gender exploration from the 1990s to present day, arguing that even though progress has been made in the last two decades, there is still a lot of work to be done regarding trans activism and acceptance. This book serves as both a support for trans men currently struggling to accept their identities and live with their bodies and an informative glimpse for non-trans folks into one trans man’s experience.