Gay's the Word Shop Favourites: Uli's Picks

By Gay's The Word

By Gay's The Word

Uli is the assistant manager of Gay's the Word, who has a preference for literary fiction, literary non-fiction, poetry and just a really well written book, essentially. 


Bryan Washington

£8.99 £8.36

A collection of linked and stand-alone short stories about a young biracial man finding his place among family and community in Houston, Texas. Raw, brutal and beyond brilliant.

Real Life

Brandon Taylor

£9.99 £9.29

Black and gay biochemistry student Wallace at times struggles to fit into campus life. During one fervent weekend, as he ends up in bed with someone he probably shouldn't, ushering fresh vulnerability into his controlled existence. Shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize.

It Takes Blood and Guts

Lucy O'Brien and SKIN

£20.00 £18.60

An uncompromising and deeply satisfying autobiography from the trail-blazing black, queer lead singer of '90s rock band Skunk Anansie.

The Pink Line: The World's Queer Frontiers

Mark Gevisser

£25.00 £23.25

Based on six years of detailed research The Pink Line is a landmark new study into global political homophobia and the shifting battlegrounds in the culture wars over sexual orientation and gender identity. Humanising the political through people's real lived experiences, author Mark Gevisser profiles LGBTQ+ individuals from nine countries around the world to tell the story of how queer rights have become one of the world's new human rights frontiers: the pink line. From transgender mothers in Russia to queer Palestinians in Tel Aviv, from transitioning teenagers in the American Mid-West to the daily life of queer people in Mexico, Malawi and Uganda, this powerful and elucidating book maps out the often fraught new queer global landscape. The Pink Line is about geopolitics, the Internet and the media; nationalism and modernity, about religion and sovereignty, ideological neocolonialism, culture wars, power and persecution. Written with a lightness of touch, often moving, always clarifying, every LGBTQ+ person should read this book.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf: Dark Star Trilogy Book 1

Marlon James

£9.99 £9.29

The first in Booker Prize winner Marlon James’ Dark Star Trilogy. Drawing on a rich tradition of African mythology to imagine an ancient world, a lost child, shape-shifting leopards, tribal feuds, witches, flesh-eating monsters, and an extraordinary hunter: this is a mesmerising epic fantasy that electrifies the imagination. Lord of the Rings meets Beowulf in this bloody, hallucinatory and thoroughly queer masterpiece. Beyond stunning!

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong

£8.99 £8.36

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, it unearths a family's history that whose epicentre is rooted in Vietnam, and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation. This debut novel by the exceptional poet of Night Sky with Exit Wounds is a luminous, mesmerising gift.

Fabulosa!: The Story of Polari, Britain's Secret Gay Language

Paul Baker

£9.99 £9.29

A riveting, funny and joyous insight into the story of Polari, Britain's Secret Gay Language. Polari is the coded vernacular used mainly by gay men in the first half of the twentieth century, often associated with the 1960s BBC radio show Round the Horne starring Kenneth Williams. A fascinating and fantastically readable account of this funny, filthy and ingenious language.

Life as a Unicorn: A Journey from Shame to Pride and Everything in Between

Amrou Al-Kadhi

£9.99 £9.29

A powerful, moving and poignant memoir . This is the story of how Amrou Al-Kadhi went from a god-fearing Muslim boy enraptured with their mother, via the hallowed but problematic halls of Eton, to become a vocal queer drag queen estranged from their family. Through their astonishingly articulate honesty, Amrou has created a soulful, generously-hearted book, rich in understanding and healing. WINNER OF THE 2020 POLARI FIRST BOOK PRIZE

Everyone is Watching

Megan Bradbury

£7.99 £7.43

This debut novel about time, art, photography and how our environment moulds us, blew our minds. A love-letter to New York and its surroundings across time, the book meditates on the fictionalised lives of four real people: artist Robert Mapplethorpe (1967), poet Walt Whitman (1891), city planner Robert Moses (1922) and the writer Edmund White (2013). Often in tight, short sentences and sections this spell-binding book covers a variety of themes, central among them the tension between art and pragmatism. It is also about the chemistry of a city as it evolves and how, as progress is made, it comes with losses as well as gains. It is amazing just how present the sense of consciousness of Bradbury’s subjects are, particularly Mapplethorpe. Megan Bradbury has this astonishing ability to capture a lifetime in a line and to evoke the tangibility of longing in the human heart. Everyone is Watching is an exquisite orchestra of lyrical narratives. Loved it!


Tim Murphy

£9.99 £9.29

In this outstanding and judicious novel Tim Murphy has created a multi-generational narrative of bohemian New York across time, from the devastating emergence of AIDS, through to the hipster generations and on to the near future. It is a breathtakingly vibrant and nuanced portrait of a diverse family of characters whose fates entwine in an iconic building in Manhattan’s East Village, the Christodora. The block is home to Milly and Jared, a privileged artistic young couple. Their neighbour, Hector, a Puerto Rican gay man and former AIDS activist, now exists there as a lonely addict. Milly and Jared have an adopted son, Mateo, who grows up yearning to know more of his birth mother while fliting with the opportunities for both self-realization and oblivion that New York offers. This breathtakingly panoramic saga feels lithe and refreshingly current; a tale of addiction, activism and art, Christodora is the most exciting New York novel since A Little Life. Tim Murphy is a journalist for the New York Times and Conde Nast Traveller and has reported on HIV/AIDS for twenty years, for such publications as Poz, Out, Advocate, and New York magazine.

How to be Both

Ali Smith

£8.99 £8.36

One of my favourite novels by one of my favourite authors. There's a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There's the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real - and all life's givens get given a second chance.

Swimming in the Dark: 'One of the most astonishing contemporary gay novels we have ever read ... A masterpiece' - Attitude

Tomasz Jedrowski

£8.99 £8.36

Poland, 1980. Anxious, disillusioned Ludwik Glowacki, soon to graduate university, has been sent along with the rest of his class to an agricultural camp. Here he meets Janusz - and together, they spend a dreamlike summer swimming in secluded lakes, reading forbidden books - and falling in love. This book is a masterpiece of fiction and made me smile and cry! Beautiful!

Shelter in Place

David Leavitt

£18.98 £17.65

A new novel from David Leavitt guarantees immersive and stylish storytelling, wit, intelligence and a good dose of mischief. It is the Saturday after the 2016 American presidential election, and at a upscale weekend house in Connecticut, a group of liberal New Yorkers has gathered to recover from the political catastrophe of their lives: Trump’s election. At the centre of this little group is Eva Lindquist, a generous yet self-involved hostess with an obsession for decorating. One of her little coterie of followers is her decorator, Jake: early fifties, gay, with impeccable taste and a much valued sense of discretion. Seeking refuge from a neighbour’s inauguration party, Eva escapes with her loyal yet manipulative friend Min to Venice just to be somewhere far away and beautiful. There she falls in love with a dilapidated Venetian apartment and resolves to buy it from a stately but somewhat dodgy acquaintance. And that’s where the trouble really starts. A sumptuous, accomplished and hilarious novel about money, insecurity, generosity, loss and what makes a home a home.

Detransition, Baby

Torrey Peters

£14.99 £13.94

Ferociously smart and fearlessly queer, Detransition, Baby is a uncompromising journey into trans desire, psychology, relationships and modern family-making. This extraordinary and enthralling novel is as queer as Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor and as sharp as A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. Superb!