LGBTQ+ Comfort Reads: Heartstopper by Alice Oseman, reviewed by Lucy Pettigrew

Review by Lucy Pettigrew

On February 7th 2019 Alice Oseman published her first graphic novel and first part of her popular young adult webcomic Heartstopper: Volume One. The webcomic has over 50,000 subscribers online, and is also available as an ebook and in traditional print format. I’m not someone who usually picks up a graphic novel or comic over a young adult novel or a modern poetry collection, but this stunning graphic novel blew me away and I can’t wait to pick up the next volume in the series when it comes out – it’s also made me want to read more graphic novels! I will read anything Oseman publishes (it could be a book filled with the word ‘potato’ and I’d still love it).

Heartstopper is a young adult comic that stars Nick and Charlie, who are both trying to navigate life as teenagers in an all-boys grammer school in the United Kingdom. Oseman describes it as an “LGBTQ+ webcomic” as almost all of the characters are part of the community.

The plot of the story is stunning and heart-warming – I quickly became attached to the characters and got so invested that I didn’t put it down in between starting and finishing it. The story combined with the cute art style was a perfect combination and even though it was sad in some parts I still smiled the whole way through because of how utterly enticing it was and how well the story was told.

I couldn’t get enough of the representation either – there were so many characters that were part of the LGBTQ+ community and it felt good to have that representation handled in such a well-written way. All of Oseman’s books so far (which you should also read, they’re fantastic and showcase her talent even more!) have also included LGBTQ+ characters so I was glad that this trend continued in Heartstopper.

Overall, this graphic novel was the perfect read. It was easy to follow and combined with the plotline, art style and representation it made for a really enjoyable experience. Don’t hesitate to pick it up next time you’re in a book shop (or you can get it online!).

Heartstopper is published by Hodder Children’s Books. Check out the LGBTQ+ children and YA collection in our Schools Section of the library.

“A Key Moment of Pride”: Reflections on the 2019 Literature Research Showcase

By Adam Kirkbride

On the 28th of February, the English Literature department here at York St John held a showcase exhibiting the research done by our lecturers. The event comprised of four short presentations given by various members of the department and was thoroughly enjoyable. Here is a brief rundown of the research areas that our staff are working on.

Continue reading ““A Key Moment of Pride”: Reflections on the 2019 Literature Research Showcase”

LGBT History Month Book Display launching today/God’s Own Country screening

Our very own subject librarian, Katherine Hughes, has put together a fantastic display for #LGBTHM19. We encourage you to check it out in the main library, and also to visit the School’s Library LGBT display of children and YA books.

Here’s what Katherine says:

ILE are holding a book display during the week commencing 25th February to commemorate LGBT History Month. The display includes fiction, graphic novels, films, poetry and plays by LGBT authors, from Shakespeare’s sonnets to Sarah Waters. Highlighted texts include E. M. Forster’s ‘Maurice’, a novel of gay love in the early 20th century, written in secret and remaining unpublished until after the author’s death; and Virginia Woolf’s ‘Orlando’, the story of an Elizabethan nobleman who lives for three centuries and becomes a woman. Also included in the display is ILE’s new subscription to LGBT Magazine Archive, which chronicles more than six decades of the history and culture of the LGBT community, and is available via the ILE website under Specialist Subject Resources.

The display will be launched this evening by our special LGBT History Month film screening of God’s Own Country, a queer romance between a young farmer and a Romanian migrant worker set on a struggling farm in rural Yorkshire. The film will be screened in Fountains Lecture Theatre (FT/002) for staff and students and will be introduced by Saffron Vickers Walkling, Senior Lecturer in English Literature. The screening is free of charge – just provide your YSJ email address while booking your free ticket.

Saffron says, if you want to review your favourite LGBT texts for our Words Matter blog, please contact her via email.

 

 

 

The L Word: Finding Myself in Lesbian Fiction #LGBTHistoryMonth. What are your LGBT recommended reads?

On Monday 25th February, York St John Information Learning Services will be launching their LGBT History Month display. I vividly remember, at the age of about 15, finding a book called What Comes Naturally in the Women’s section of the Salisbury Bookshop. By Norwegian writer Gerd Brantenberg, it was a hilarious description of a university student in the 1960s “finding herself” and coming out as a lesbian. As I tried to figure out my own identity at that period a number of films, books and plays helped me to see who I was. The characters were often far from me in time, place and other identities – nineteenth century Americans Patience and Sarah, the confused Cypress in Sassafrass, Cypress and Indigo (a novel about an African American family in mid-twentieth century South Carolina and New York) and of course, The Colour Purple, in which Celie falls in love with Shug. Films spoke to me too, such as Hanif Kureishi and Stephen Frear’s My Beautiful Laundrette in which the characters Johnny and Omar struggled with racism, class and Thatcherism, but had no qualms about embracing each other and their sexuality.  I also got to play the delightfully ambiguous Count Orsino in an all female production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

So come on down to the library next Monday and have a look at Katherine Hughes’ display. Contact Katherine or Thomas Peach with your recommendations, and if you want to review your favourite LGBT texts for our Words Matter blog, contact Adam Smith or myself, Saffron Vickers Walkling. 

PS I’ll be introducing my latest favourite LGBT text God’s Own Country at 5.30 that same day in a free screening for staff and students . Book tickets here.