LGBTQ+ Book List for June + the other 11 months

Pride Month is drawing to a close, but it doesn’t have to be June to read, enjoy, and celebrate literary works by LGBTQ+ authors! Here’s a list of some award-winning contemporary books by LGBTQ+ writers to drop in your checkout bin.

Her Body and Other Parties (2017) by Carmen María Machado. In Her Body and Other Parties, a National Book Award finalist, Carmen María Machado traverses genre boundaries to make a strange and unforgettable debut story collection. The ways Machado explores violence against women in her stories are, by turns, experimental, queer, funny, horrific, and absurd.

Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life for Girls Who Dig Girls (2016) by Lindsay King Miller. Having written the advice column “Ask a Queer Chick” since 2011, Lindsay Miller brings us a compilation of her best and most interesting advice, à la Cheryl Strayed, for LGBTQ women. Ask a Queer Chick: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life for Girls Who Dig Girls is her first book.  

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family (2015) by Amy Ellis Nutt. A remarkable true story that follows the journey of a transgender girl, her identical brother, and the family that adopted them as they learn to understand, nurture, and celebrate their daughter’s transformation.

The Teahouse Fire (2006) by Ellis Avery. Set in late nineteenth century Japan, this historical novel tells the story of the Japanese tea ceremony and how Aurelia, an American orphan, enters this world. Aurelia is taken in by the Shin family and ends up falling in love with the family’s daughter, Yukako.

Juliet Takes a Breath (2016) by Gabby Rivera is a coming of age novel about Inga Muscio, a Puerto Rican girl living in the Bronx, and her journey about coming out to her family. After receiving a less-than-warm response to her sexuality, she decides to go to Portland, Oregon to find herself.

Less (2017) by Andrew Sean Greer. Arthur Less, a failed novelist about to turn fifty, skips town in order to avoid his ex-boyfriend’s wedding. Running away from his problems is the only thing he can do.  When the wedding invitation arrives in the mail, Less can’t say yes – it would be too awkward – and he can’t say no – it would look like defeat. Instead of accepting the invitation, he accepts a series of invitations to half-baked literary events that take him all around the world. Through it all, there is his first love. And there is his last.

Black Deutschland (2016) by Darryl Pinckney. Jed, a young, black, gay man fresh out of rehab, flees his city and travels to Berlin as an expatriate to escape white America. While Reagan and the AIDS crisis dominate national news back in the US, Jed explores the troubled city of his nostalgic fantasies, falling in with a range of people on the margins of Berlin society, and finding that there are some aspects of his life back in America that follow him despite the distance.

I Am J (2011) by Cris Beam. In her debut novel, Cris Beam shows us the inner life of J, a teenager on the ever-elusive path to self-acceptance. As J decides to stop hiding his true identity, he grapples with the varying degrees of approval from the people closest to him, even facing abandonment from his best friend. More than just a crucial elevation of trans voices in YA fiction, I Am J gives us a magnetic protagonist whose life is affected, yet not entirely defined, by gender and expression.

Mundo Cruel (2010) by Luis Negrón. In this debut short story collection, Luis Negrón explores some of the most transgressive and intimate aspects of gay life in Puerto Rico. In nine monologue-style stories, Negrón introduces us to the eccentric and compelling characters that comprise this small but dynamic community, and writes beautifully of its highs, lows, humor, and incredible heart.

The Tower of the Antilles (2017) by Achy Obejas. Achy Obejas’s protagonists in The Tower of the Antilles, a 2018 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction Finalist, deal with what it means to leave home through a distinctly Cuban lens. As Obejas weaves themes of borders, separation, and belonging through the 10 stories of the collection, she explores complicated visions of Cuba from the perspectives of people who can no longer call it home. While The Tower of the Antilles is Obejas’s most recent work, she has been an important voice in the Latina lesbian literary community for decades.

WinS Summer Programming!

Únete con nosotros para un programa gratis de verano para estudiantes que entran al séptimo/octavo/noveno grado el proximo año escolar. Estaremos hablando con poetas que han contribuido al la colección Knocking on the Doors of the White House: Latina and Latino Poets in Washington, DC . Hablaremos de sus vidas como creadores y escritores. Los estudiantes serán animados a hacer algún proyecto creativo. El programa dura 4 semanas, con reuniones los miércoles.


Apúntate aqui!
Join us for a FREE summer program for rising 7th – 9th graders who want to read, write, and create. We will be meeting Latino/Latina poets who have contributed to the collection Knocking on the Doors of the White House: Latina and Latino Poets in Washington, D.C. to discuss their lives as writers and creators. Students will be encouraged to pursue their own creative project throughout the 4 week program (meeting once a week on Wednesdays)!


Register here!


WinS Summer Programming!


Join us for a FREE summer program for teens who want to read, write, create, and make their voices heard. We are bringing in a multitude of writers with diverse backgrounds to discuss their lives as writers and as creators. Students will be encouraged to pursue their own creative project throughout the 7 week program (meeting once a week)!

Register here!



Fall 2018 Internship Opportunities at PEN/Faulkner

Love literature, the arts, and education? Want to learn how a nonprofit operates from the ground up? The PEN/Faulkner Internship program is perfect for you if you answered yes, and we are currently looking to fill four positions for the Fall of 2018. 

  • Writers in Schools Internship
  • Spanish Language & Latinx Communities Internship
  • Literary Events Internship
  • Media and Outreach Internship

Continue reading

Announcing the Winner of the 2018 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction!

We are pleased to announce that the 2018 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction winner is Joan Silber for her novel Improvement (Counterpoint Press)!

Congratulations again to the four finalists:

Hernán Diaz for In the Distance (Coffee House Press)

Samantha Hunt for The Dark Dark (FSG Originals)

Achy Obejas for The Tower of the Antilles (Akashic Books)

Jesmyn Ward for Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner)

Tickets for The 38th Annual PEN/Faulkner Award Ceremony & Reception are still available!

About the 2018 PEN/Faulkner Award Winner:


Joan Silber is the author of eight books of fiction. The most recent, Improvement, has been nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction and listed as one of the year’s best books by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Newsday, the Seattle Times, and Kirkus Reviews.  Her previous book, Fools, was longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Other works include The Size of the World, finalist for the LA Times Fiction Prize, and Ideas of Heaven, finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize. She lives in New York and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program.

About the 2018 PEN/Faulkner Award Finalists:

In the Distance
(Coffee House Press)

Hernan Diaz is the author of In the Distance (Coffee House 2017) and Borges, Between History and Eternity (Bloomsbury 2012), managing editor of RHM, and associate director of the Hispanic Institute at Columbia University. He lives in New York.

The Dark Dark
(FSG Originals)

Samantha Hunt is the author of The Dark Dark: Stories, and three novels: Mr. Splitfoot, The Invention of Everything Else, and The Seas. Hunt is the recipient of a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Bard Fiction Prize, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Prize and she was a finalist for the Orange Prize. She teaches at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and lives in upstate New York.

The Tower of the Antilles

(Akashic Books)

Achy Obejas is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ruins, Days of Awe, and three other books of fiction. She edited and translated (into English) the anthology Havana Noir, and has since translated Junot Díaz, Rita Indiana, Wendy Guerra, and many others. In 2014, she was awarded a USA Ford Fellowship for her writing and translation. The Tower of the Antilles is her latest work.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

Jesmyn Ward is the author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds, Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award, and Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner, 2017), which won the 2017 National Book Award and which will be published in paperback on May 8, 2018. She is also the editor of the anthology The Fire This Time (Scribner, 2016) and the author of the memoir Men We Reaped, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. From 2008-2010, Ward had a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. She was the John and Renée Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi for the 2010-2011 academic year. In 2016, the American Academy of Arts and Letters selected Ward for the Strauss Living Award. She was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2017. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan and is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University. She lives in Mississippi.

About the 2018 Judges:

Andrea Barrett is the author of six novels, most recently The Air We Breathe, and three collections of stories: Ship Fever, which received the 1996 National Book Award, Servants of the Map, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and, most recently, Archangel.

Stacey D’Erasmo is the author of the novels Tea, A Seahorse Year, The Sky Below, and Wonderland, and the nonfiction book The Art of Intimacy: The Space Between. She is a former Stegner Fellow in Fiction, the recipient of a 2009 Guggenheim  Fellowship in Fiction, and the winner of an Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize from the Lambda Literary Foundation. Her essays, features, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, The Boston Review , Bookforum, The New England Review, and Ploughshares, among other publications. She was a Frederick Lewis Allen Room Fellow at the New York Public Library for 2016-17. She is an Associate Professor of Writing and Publishing Practices at Fordham University.

Alex Espinoza
was born in Tijuana, Mexico. He came to the United States with his family at the age of two and grew up in suburban Los Angeles. Author of the novel Still Water Saints, he received an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. A recipient of the Margaret Bridgman Fellowship in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Espinoza is currently an associate professor of English at California State University, Los Angeles.

Buy Copies of the Books from Politics & Prose:

Politics and Prose logoOur longtime friends and partners at Politics & Prose will be on hand to sell copies of books by this year’s finalists and winner, and we encourage you to check out the store’s huge selections of books and amazing lineup of live events by visiting them online here:


Call Me By Your Name: An Evening with André Aciman

Join us for this exciting evening with André Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name, as he discusses his critically acclaimed novel, particularly in the context of the Oscar-winning movie adaptation!

André will be joined by Spencer Kornhaber, culture critic at The Atlantic, for a moderated discussion on literature in the context of film, crafting a queer love story, and maybe even André’s cameo performance in the film. You won’t want to miss out on this talk!

The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience, and an exclusive book signing for those who purchase the VIP ticket package! This includes a copy of the book, provided by Politics and Prose Bookstore.

Tickets are on sale now! VIP Packages are limited in number, so make sure you grab yours before they sell out!


Photo by Sigrid Estrada

André Aciman is an American essayist and New York Times bestselling novelist originally from Alexandria, Egypt. He teaches Comparative Literature at the Graduate Center of City University of New York. He is the author of Out of Egypt: A MemoirFalse PapersAlibis, and four novels: Call Me by Your NameEight White NightsHarvard Square, and most recently Enigma Variations. He is the co-author and editor of Letters of Transit and of The Proust Project. Aciman is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as a fellowship from The New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. A contributor to The New York TimesThe New YorkerThe New RepublicThe New York Review of Books, he has also appeared in several volumes of Best American Essays. He lives with his wife in Manhattan.


Photo by Daniel Lombroso

Spencer Kornhaber writes about culture and popular music for The Atlantic, where he has been on staff since 2011. A native of Dana Point, California, he now lives in Boston.

2018 Award for Fiction

Announcing the 2018 Award for Fiction finalists:

Hernan Diaz for In the Distance (Coffee House Press)

Samantha Hunt for The Dark Dark (FSG Originals)

Achy Obejas for The Tower of the Antilles (Akashic Books)

Joan Silber for Improvement (Counterpoint)

Jesmyn Ward for Sing, Unburied, Sing (Scribner)

Read more about the finalists here. Purchase tickets for the 38th Award for Fiction Ceremony here.

Internship Opportunities at PEN/Faulkner

The PEN/Faulkner 2018 internship program is now open.

We are currently looking to fill two internship positions:

  • Writers in Schools Internship
  • Programs and Development Internship

The Writers in Schools Internship will focus on our Writers in Schools outreach program, which brings contemporary literature into DC public and public charter schools. We provide free books for students and coordinate class visits with the authors, fostering conversation about their works and their careers as writers.

Responsibilities include:

  • Helping coordinate author visits
  • Organizing past and current literature and information, and assisting in the evaluation of this large, expansive arts outreach program
  • Working closely with the Writers in Schools Program Director to analyze program data and draw meaningful conclusions on the strength and vitality of the program
  • Implementing new processes for tracking, archiving, and analyzing program and evaluation data
  • Researching DC area public and public charter schools to 1) understand the populations we serve and 2) adapt our program to better meet the needs of our local communities
  • General copywriting & administrative tasks

The ideal candidate has:

  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • An interest in education and in art-based outreach programs
  • The ability and drive to work independently and as part of a team
  • A passion for literature
  • A good sense of humor

The Programs and Development Internship will focus on outreach, marketing, and research, centered around our public literary events and projects. These projects include our ongoing programs, such as smaller book clubs, author talks, and joint events with DC partner organizations.

Responsibilities include:

  • Research on contemporary authors for upcoming literary events
  • Organization and categorization of PEN/Faulkner archival materials
  • Basic graphic design for both print and online material
  • Content generation for multiple social media platforms
  • Development research, to include identifying potential underwriters for public events
  • General copywriting & administrative tasks

The ideal candidate has:

  • Excellent writing and editing skills
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Some experience with graphic design and social media
  • An interest in outreach or marketing
  • The ability and drive to work independently and as part of a team
  • A passion for literature
  • A good sense of humor

These internships are open to high school students, college and graduate students, and recent graduates. For college or graduate students, we expect a commitment of around 10 hours a week, as well as the ability to receive school credit for your time. Scheduling is flexible. Our office is located in the WeWork Wonder Bread building near the Shaw-Howard University Metro station.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resumé to


Make Words Matter! Support PEN/Faulkner this #GivingTuesday

Today PEN/Faulkner is participating in Giving Tuesday, a national day of generosity when communities come together to support the causes they believe in. Help us do even more this coming year to bring books to life and make literature accessible to everyone.

Here’s an idea of what your donation can make happen:

  • $25: Help a DC public school student attend a public literary event
  • $50: Buy materials for the 2018 DC Essay Writing Contest workshop
  • $100: Provide lunch for 3 Teen Parent Book Club sessions
  • $500: Donate books to 25 Writers in Schools students
  • $1000: Fund an entire Writers in Schools visit, including author travel and honorarium
  • $5000: Cover the venue cost for a public Literary Conversations reading series event in 2018

Donate to PEN/Faulkner

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Cardozo Education Campus

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at Cardozo Education Campus

PEN/Faulkner 2017-2018 Season

We are pleased to share with you our exciting lineup of events for the 2017-2018 season. After thirty extraordinary years with the Folger Shakespeare Library, we are excited to expand our reading series to new locations in the city. Come join our Literary Conversations to hear today’s writers read their work and engage in discourse on today’s issues, with each event individually ticketed (or free to attend) and held at a different venue. We look forward to seeing you! Click here for more information on all events.