The Voices Shaping Literature: A Spotlight on LGBTQ+ Authors of Color

Read on to discover six remarkable LGBTQ+ authors of color and the stories they wrote that are taking the literary world by storm!

Author's Corner Diverse Voices LGBTQIA+ Reads Recommendations
Book covers for When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar, Cinema Love by Jiaming Tang, and The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta are framed by a white square outlined in purple. A rainbow wave on a blue background is behind them.

Literature acts as a remarkable reflection of humanity, beautifully illustrating and celebrating authenticity through insightful tales, prose, and poetry. From this diverse art, readers feel seen and heard, learn of the differences that make society stronger, and are united in solidarity and understanding. As we admire the intersectional perspectives bringing vivid color to the world, here is a roundup of books written by trailblazing LGBTQ+ authors of color that are sculpting the literary landscape.

YA Fiction

The Dos and Donuts of Love by Adiba Jaigirdar

In a dream come true, Shireen Malik is brought on as a contestant on the Junior Irish Baking Show. Not only could she be awarded the prize money, but winning the competition would shed vital light on Shireen’s parents’ beloved but struggling donut shop. On a personal note, it would also provide Shireen with the distraction she needs to move past her breakup with her ex-girlfriend, Chris.

The Dos and Donuts of Love by Adiba Jaigirdar book cover. A girl in a yellow shirt holds up a plate of donuts. Over each of her shoulders are two other girls with baking supplies and donuts.
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But in an unexpected turn of events, Chris is also a contestant on the Junior Irish Baking Show, along with the outgoing, charismatic Niamh. If Shireen is going to secure her win, she must ignore the flame igniting between her Niamh along all the other baking foes and woes. Critically acclaimed Bangladeshi and Irish writer and teacher Adiba Jaigirdar takes us on another beautiful and sweet rom-com ride with The Dos and Donuts of Love.

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta book cover. A young Black man wears a pink feather boa on a black background engraved with flamingos.
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An eloquently honest and poignant novel in verse, Dean Atta takes us on a poetic journey exploring the intersections of identity. In The Black Flamingo, teenager Michael Angeli traverses through life unsure of where he belongs. He struggles to fit into his Greek and Black communities, but after coming out as gay, he realizes that the journey of self-discovery is a long, lively one. When he discovers the Drag Society, he unearths within himself the Black Flamingo and thus embarks on a voyage of becoming.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

In their debut novel, first-generation Chinese immigrant Xiran Jay Zhao writes a fantastical reimagining of history in Iron Widow. Behind the Great Wall of China, boys of Huaxia watch enviously as the girls commandeer alien-fighting robots called Chrysalises. They dream of being like them, regardless of the fatal pressure these young women face.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao book cover. A woman in fantasy armor poses amount red, orange, and yellow feathers on a mystical creature.
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To avenge her sister’s death, 18-year-old Zetian becomes a concubine pilot to the ace male pilot responsible for the tragedy. As she works out her plan to assassinate him, she discovers that she’s an Iron Widow, powered with the ability to sacrifice men in order to make the Chrysalises stronger. Partnered with Li Shimin, a strong male pilot who was shunned from society for killing his family, Zetian makes it her mission to save the failed women and girls with her newly adorned powers.

Fiction

Cinema Love by Jiaming Tang

By queer immigrant writer Jiaming Tang, Cinema Love is a stunning story of forbidden love and secrecy spanning across geography in post-socialist China, Chinatown in the 1980s, and modern-day New York.

Cinema Love by Jiaming Tang book cover. In neon chalk-like art, two men lean on each other.
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Back at the Workers’ Cinema in rural Fuzhou, Old Second yearned for intimacy among other men camouflaged behind the theater’s screening room. Bao Mei, selling the tickets to these closeted men, masks her own outlawed relationship with the projectionist. But one fateful day, Old Second’s life behind closed doors is made public, and he and Bao Mei escape to New York’s Chinatown, masking their truth as a couple as they navigate the uncertainty of their future.

Coexistence: Stories by Billy-Ray Belcourt

Coexistence: Stories by Billy-Ray Belcourt book cover. Two shirtless men link arms in the sunlight.
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Driftpile Cree Nation writer and professor Billy-Ray Belcourt celebrates a unique array of Indigenous lives in several philosophical, wonderous stories. A grieving mother; a collection of testimonials from queer Indigenous men in the midst of brutal eroticism; a man rebuilding his life after years of prison; a professor whose research is impeded by a haunting, evil ghost; and a student navigating the intensity of dating apps, yearning for the love of an esteemed painter.

When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar

When We Were Sisters follows the lives of three orphaned sisters who are left to care for each other and themselves. Kausar, the youngest sister, battles grief and the beautiful yet tumultuous questioning and understanding of her gender. The middle child, Aisha, cannot discern the unimaginable situation she’s in, fighting constantly with Kausar as a result. Noreen, the eldest, struggles to balance parenting her sisters while navigating her own journey toward motherhood and understanding her autonomy.

When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar book cover. Three women in matching outfits lie next to each other on a green background.
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As time passes, Kausar must decide whether to abandon the life she’s always known or embark on a path she had never considered. Fatimah Asghar, a poet, filmmaker, educator, and performer, explores sisterhood with compassion, poetically analyzing life as a Muslim girl against the world and the multitudinous meaning of home in this heartfelt novel.

Read with intention and pick up any of these beautiful books today for a guaranteed wonderful read!


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