After decades of being relegated to the "queer" section of the bookstore, usually on a dusty bottom shelf in a dark back corner, more and more LGBTQ writers are having their work recognized and enjoyed by mainstream audiences.
Today, these writers are seeing their words reach the tops of bestsellers lists, be optioned for TV series and movies, and celebrated with the world's most prestigious literary prizes.
We've compiled a short roundup of some of our more prideful writers for pride season--some newcomers, some more established--who are making an impact in the literary world and serving as a voice for generations of queer people.
Dennis E. Staples
Newcomer Dennis E. Staples is an Ojibwe writer from Bemidji, Minnesota, whose debut novel This Town Sleeps was published earlier this year and has been met with wide acclaim from critics and audiences alike. The book follows a gay Ojibwe man from rural Minnesota who falls in love with a former high school classmate, a deeply closeted white man.
Prior to publishing his This Town Sleeps, Staples wrote short stories and earned his MFA in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is also a member of the Red Lake Nation, a unique lineage of Ojibwe people who work to protect, preserve, and maintain its status as an independent nation that is federally recognized as an Indian tribe.
Staples is one of only a few Native American writers of his generation writing about LGBTQ issues, and it’s something he says he hopes to continue doing.
Speaking about his work last year, he said:
[This Town Sleeps] is heavily influenced by my Ojibwe background. I’m currently looking into a few options for my next project. I plan on writing more novels in the future, including a sequel to my current novel, and possibly others set on the same reservation setting.