List of lesbian literature

List of lesbian literature

Lesbian literature includes works by lesbian authors, as well as lesbian-themed works by heterosexual authors. Even works by lesbian writers that do not deal with lesbian themes are still often considered lesbian literature. Works by heterosexual writers which treat lesbian themes only in passing, on the other hand, are not often regarded as lesbian literature.

The fundamental work of lesbian literature is the poetry of Sappho of Lesbos. Contemporary lesbian literature is centered around several small, exclusively lesbian presses, as well as online fandoms. Certain works have established historical or artistic importance. Works of lesbian literature are sometimes difficult to identify if they are not published by small lesbian presses due to a general lack of promotion of lesbian themes by mainstream publishers. An exhaustive list of works cannot be provided here, but key works in different genres are listed.

Lesbian fiction

Classic fiction and drama

*"La Garçonne" ("The Bachelor Girl") - Victor Margueritte - (1922)
*"The Well of Loneliness" - Radclyffe Hall - (1928) - subject of an obscenity trial that banished the book in the United Kingdom until 1949, [cite book | last = Baker | first = Michael | title = Our Three Selves: A Life of Radclyffe Hall | publisher = GMP Publishers Ltd. | date = 1985 | location = London | page = 353 | id = ISBN 0-85449-042-6 ] though "there are no descriptions of sex in it, no rude words, and the lesbian lovers do not live happily ever after." [Jeanette Winterson, "The Times", 1997.]
*"Ladies Almanack" - Djuna Barnes - (1928)
*"" - Virginia Woolf - (1928)
*"The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas" - Gertrude Stein - (1933) - one of Stein's more accessible works. Others, whose lesbian content may not be apparent to the uninformed reader, include "", "Lifting Belly", and "Miss Furr and Miss Skeene".
*"The Children's Hour" - Lillian Hellman - (1934)
*"Nightwood" - Djuna Barnes - (1936)
*"Torchlight to Valhalla" - Gale Wilhelm - (1938)
*"Spring Fire" - Marijane Meaker (as Vin Packer) (1952)
*"The Price of Salt" - Patricia Highsmith (as Clare Morgan) - (1952)
*"Odd Girl Out", "I Am A Woman", "Women In The Shadows", "Journey To A Woman", and "Beebo Brinker" a.k.a. the "Beebo Brinker Chronicles" - Ann Bannon (1957 - 1962)
*"The Group" - Mary McCarthy (1962)
*"The Killing of Sister George" - Frank Marcus - (1963)
*"Desert of the Heart" - Jane Rule - (1964) (basis for the 1985 film "Desert Hearts")
*"Patience and Sarah" - Isabel Miller (1969)

=Modern fiction (post-Stonewall)=

*"Rubyfruit Jungle", "Six of One" - Rita Mae Brown
*"Memory Board" - Jane Rule
*"Relief" - L.E. Butler
*"The Wanderground" - Sally Miller Gearheart
*"The Color Purple" - Alice Walker
*"Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit", "Written on the Body", "The Passion" - Jeanette Winterson
*"Stone Butch Blues" - Leslie Feinberg
*"Flashpoint" - Katherine V. Forrest
*"Toothpick House", "The Swashbuckler" - Lee Lynch
*"Bastard Out of Carolina" - Dorothy Allison
*"Under the Witness Tree" - Marianne K. Martin
*"Tipping the Velvet", "Fingersmith", "The Night Watch", "Affinity" - Sarah Waters
*"Maybe Next Time" - Karin Kallmaker
*"Lover" - Bertha Harris
*"Hood", "Stirfry", "Kissing the Witch", "Life Mask", "Landing" - Emma Donoghue
*"Like", "Hotel World" - Ali Smith
*"Sita" - Kate Millet
*"Cat Rising" - Cyn Chadwick
*"Love's Masquerade" - Radclyffe
*"Of Drag Kings and the Wheel of Fate" - [ Susan "Smitty" Smith]
*"Mousson de femmes (Monsoon of women)" - Elula Perrin
*"Loving Her", "Say Jesus and Come to Me" - Ann Allen Shockley
*"Fresh Tracks" - Georgia Beers
*"Idaho Code" -Joan Opyr
*"The Teahouse Fire" - Ellis Avery
*"Beyond the Pale" - Elana Dykewomon
*"Such A Pretty Face" - Gabrielle Goldsby
*"Punk Like Me" - JD Glass
*"Flight Risk" - Kim Baldwin
* "Love Ruins Everything", "Love and Other Ruins", "The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky" Karen X. Tulchinsky
* "Crybaby Butch"- Judith Frank
* "Back Talk"- Saxon Bennett"
* "Sweet Bitter Love" - Rita Schiano
* "Your Sad Eyes and Unforgettable Mouth" - Edeet Ravel

Mystery novels

There are a great number of contemporary lesbian mysteries, a genre that is often more welcoming to sexual minorities.

*Alison Kaine, a lesbian Denver, Colorado police officer in mysteries by Kate Allan
*Allison O'Neill, a lesbian in mysteries by Lauren Wright Douglas
*Amanda Valentine, a lesbian detective inspector in Wellington, New Zealand by Rose Beecham
*Wilhelmina "Bil" Hardy, an amateur lesbian detective in Cowslip, Idaho by Joan Opyr
*Brenda Strange, a private investigator of the weird in Tampa, Florida by Patty Henderson
*Brett Higgins, a lesbian pseudo-criminal in Detroit mystery/thrillers by Therese Szymanski
*Caitlin Reece, a lesbian in mysteries by Lauren Wright Douglas
*Carmen Ramirez, a 24-year-old Irish-Puerto Rican lesbian copy editor at her hometown newspaper in Frontier City, Oklahoma by Lisa Haddock
*Carol Ashton, a lesbian detective inspector in Sydney, Australia in mysteries by Claire McNab
*Cassandra Reilly, a widely travelled lesbian translator in mysteries by Barbara Wilson
*Cassidy James, a lesbian private investigator based in Portland, Oregon in mysteries by Kate Calloway
*Colleen Fitzgerald, a lesbian insurance investigator in mysteries by Barbara Johnson
*Desiree "Dez" Reilly, a lesbian policewoman in St. Paul, Minnesota in mysteries by [ Lori L. Lake]
*Emma Victor, a lesbian private investigator in San Francisco in mysteries by Mary Wings
*Gianna Maglione, lesbian police lieutenant in Washington, D.C. in mysteries by Penny Mickelbury
*Hilary Tamar(?), an androgynous lawyer in mysteries by Sarah Caudwell. In fact, Caudwell never specified Tamar's sex.
*Inspector Sarah Nelson in mysteries by Susan Wolfe
*Jane Lawless, a lesbian restaurant owner and private investigator in Minneapolis in mysteries by Ellen Hart
*Jet Butler, a lesbian college professor in mysteries by B. Reese Johnson
*Jo Jacuzzo, a charismatic lesbian in Buffalo, New York in mysteries by Anne Seale
*Jude Devine, a lesbian sheriff's detective in Montezuma County, Colorado in mysteries by Rose Beecham
*Kate Delafield, a lesbian LAPD homicide detective and former Marine in mysteries by Katherine V. Forrest
*Kate Martinelli, a lesbian San Francisco homicide detective in mysteries by Laurie R. King
*Kristin Ashe, a lesbian private investigator in mysteries by Jennifer L. Jordan
*Kellen Stewart, a therapist and a lesbian in Great Britain by Manda Scott
*Kylie Kendall, the lesbian manager of a pub in tiny Wollegudgerie, Australia who inherits 51% of her father's private detective agency in Los Angeles, California in mysteries by Claire McNab
*Lauren Laurano, a lesbian private investigator in Manhattan, in mysteries by Sandra Scoppettone
*Lexy Hyatt, a lesbian crime reporter in Florida in mysteries by Carlene Miller
*Lindsay Gordon, a lesbian journalist & socialist in Glasgow, Scotland in mysteries by Val McDermid
*Maggie Garrett, a young, lesbian private investigator in San Francisco, California in mysteries by Jean Taylor
*Maris Middleton, a lesbian chemist with a specialization in forensics in mysteries by Kaye Davis
*Meg Lacey, a lesbian private investigator based in Canada in mysteries by Elizabeth Bowers
*Micky Knight, a lesbian New Orleans private investigator in mysteries by J.M. Redmann
*Monette O'Reilley, towering lesbian and star player of the Leaping Lesbians of Park Slope soccer team and graphic artist in New York in mysteries by David Stukas
*Nickel (Nicole) Smith, a lesbian small-town newspaper editor in Runnymeade by Rita Mae Brown
*Pam Nilsen, lesbian printing company owner in Seattle, Washington by Barbara Wilson
*Saz Martin, a lesbian private investigator in London by Stella Duffy
*Stoner McTavish, a lesbian travel agent in Boston, Massachusetts by Sarah Dreher
*Sydney Sloan, a lesbian private investigator in New York, New York, in the Stonewall Inn mysteries by Randye Lordon
*Toni Barston, a lesbian district attorney specializing in borderline personalities in mysteries by Terri Breneman
*Tru North, a lesbian police detective in Kansas City, Missouri in mysteries by Janet McClellan
*Virginia Kelly, a lesbian investment advisor in mysteries by Nikki Baker
*The "Unexpected" series by Gina Dartt

Romance novels

Contemporary Lesbian Romances are typified by the novels from Karin Kallmaker, Radclyffe, and Marianne K. Martin

*"Curious Wine, Emergence of Green" -- Katherine V. Forrest
*"All True Lovers, Cytherea's Breath, Amantha" -- Sarah Aldridge
*"Legacy of Love, Love in the Balance, Dawn of the Dance, Never Ending, Mirrors, Under the Witness Tree, Dance in the Key of Love" -- Marianne K. Martin
*"Mulligan, House on Sandstone, Just this Once, Secrets So Deep, Out of Love" -- [ KG MacGregor]
*"Honor Series, Justice Series, Provincetown" series -- Radclyffe
*"All the Wrong Places, Car Pool, Embrace in Motion, Finders Keepers, In Every Port, Just LIke That, The Kiss that Counted, One Degree of Separation, Painted Moon, Sugar, Unforgettable, Making Up For Lost Time, Substitute for Love, Touchwood, Wild Things, Watermark" (sequel to "Touchwood") -- Karin Kallmaker
*"Course of Action, Coffee Sonata, Sheridan's Fate" -- [ Gun Brooke]
*"Define Destiny" -- [ JM Dragon]
*"First Instinct, Forever Found, Hotel Liaison, Rising Storm" -- [ JLee Meyer]
*"More Than Paradise", the Moon Island Series: "Passion Bay, Saving Grace, The Sacred Shore, A Guarded Heart", and the Dark Vista series: "Dark Dreamer, Dark Valentine" -- Jennifer Fulton
*"I Found My Heart In San Francisco Series, Arbor Vitae" -- [ SX Meagher]
*"Sweet Bitter Love" -- Rita Schiano
*"Sierra City, Gulf Breeze, Hunter's Way, Behind the Pine Curtain, Coyote Sky, Dawn of Change, The Rainbow Cedar, One Summer Night" -- [ Gerri Hill]
*"The Light Fantastic" -- L A Tucker
*"Never Say Never, Class Reunion" -- Linda Hill
*"None So Blind, Prarie Fire, Tumbleweed Fever" -- LJ Maas
*"Galveston 1900: Swept Away, The Bluest Eyes in Texas, and Borderline" -- Linda Crist
*"The Price of Fame, The Cost of Commitment, The Value of Valor" -- [ Lynn Ames]
*"Infinite Loop" -- [ Meghan O'Brien]
*"Innocent Hearts, Love's Melody Lost, Love's Tender Warriors, Tomorrow's Promise, Passion's Bright Fury, Love's Masquerade" -- Radclyffe
*"Hunter's Pursuit, Force of Nature, Whitewater Rendezvous, Focus of Desire" -- [ Kim Baldwin]
*"A Gift of Time, Gloria's Inn" -- [ Robin Alexander]
*"Private Dancer" -- [ TJ Vertigo]
*"Turning the Page, Thy Neighbor's Wife, Too Close to Touch, Fresh Tracks, Mine" --- [ Georgia Beers]
*"Turning Point" -- [ Lara Zielinsky]
*"Such A Pretty Face" -- Gabrielle Goldsby

Lesbian science fiction, fantasy, and horror

Lesbian science fiction works frequently address the issue of feminist/lesbian separatist communities. See Lesbian science fiction for a more detailed review.

* Joanna Russ's "The Female Man"
* Marion Zimmer Bradley's "Renunciate" series
* Jane Fletcher's "Celano" series
* Katherine V. Forrest's "Daughters of a Coral Dawn", "Daughters of an Amber Noon", "Daughters of an Emerald Dusk", "Dreams and Swords" anthology with novella "O Captain, My Captain"
* Nicola Griffith's "Ammonite, Slow River"
* Pat Califia's "Doc and Fluff"
* Therese Szymanski's "Call of the Dark" anthology
* Karin Kallmaker, Barbara Johnson, Julia Watts and Therese Szymanski's "New Exploits" books, including "Once Upon a Dyke", "Bell, Book & Dyke", "Stake Through the Heart", and "Tall in the Saddle"
* Diana River's "Hadra" series
* Laurie J. Marks's "Dancing Jack", "Elemental" series ("Fire Logic, Earth Logic, Water Logic")
* Meghan O'Brien's "The Three"
* Pam Keesey's" Daughters of Darkness" and "Dark Angels"
* Gun Brooke's "Supreme Constellations" series

Gay male author Geoff Ryman's Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning "The Child Garden" features a lesbian protagonist.

Lesbian fan fiction

Fanfiction writers have produced many works in which female characters from fictional sources, such as television shows, movies, or comic books, are paired in romantic or sexual relationships. The genre is known by a variety of terms, including femslash, saffic, and f/f slash. Lesbian content in fanfiction dates at least to 1977, but has become more popular during the 1990s and 2000s.


* Sappho
* H.D.
* Natalie Clifford Barney
* Renée Vivien
* Comtess Anna de Noailles
* Amy Lowell
* Elizabeth Bishop
* Mary Dorcey
* Carol Ann Duffy
* Michael Fields
* Audre Lorde
* Edna St Vincent Millay
* Eileen Myles
* Sophia Parnok
* Michelle Tea
* Adrienne Rich
* Marilyn Hacker
* Robin Becker
* Mary Oliver
* Pat Parker
* Becky Birtha
* Chrystos
* Pat Criste

Lesbian Periodicals, Journals and Literary Magazines

See List of Lesbian Periodicals, Journals and Magazines, Past and Present

Lesbian & Feminist Publishing Houses

* [ Alyson Books]
*Aunt Lute Books
*Bella Books
* [ Blue Feather Books]
* [ Bold Strokes Books]
* [ Bywater Books]
*Crossing Press
*Firebrand Books
* [ Intaglio Publications]
* [ Onlywomen Press]
* [ Regal Crest Enterprises, LLC]
* [ P.D. Publishing, Inc.]
*Press Gang Publishers
*Spinsters Ink
*Virago Press

Further reading

* "The Lesbian in Literature" by Gene Damon (Barbara Grier). Bibliography of any title with lesbian content through 1969.
* "Chloe plus Olivia - An Anthology of Lesbian Literature from the Seventeenth Century to the Present", ed. Lillian Faderman, Penguin Books 1995

History and criticism

* "Lesbianism in Germany: 1890's to 1920's". Lillian Faderman and Brigitte Eriksson.
* "Passions Between Women: British Lesbian Culture 1668-1801". Emma Donoghue
* "Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America". Lillian Faderman
* "Lesbian Texts and Contexts: Radical Revisions", ed. Karla Jay and Joanne Glasgow, New York University Press 1990
* "The Literature of Lesbianism", ed. Terry Castle, Columbia University Press 2003

Awards for Lesbian Literature

* Golden Crown Literary Society
* Lambda Literary Award
* [ Awards from the Publishing Triangle]
* [ Gaylactic Spectrum Award (GLBT science fiction, fantasy and horror)]

ee also

*Lesbian fiction
*Lesbian pulp fiction
*Lesbian teen fiction
*LGBT literature
*Yuri (term)


*Potter, Clare. The Lesbian Periodical Index, Naiad Press, 1986 ISBN 978-0930044749
* [ Gay detectives listed by Stop, You're Killing Me!, a resource for mysteries]
* [ Gay & Lesbian detectives listed by Martin Kich]
* [ Lesbian (Feminist) Los Angeles, 1970-1990: An Exploratory Ethnohistory, Yolanda Retter University of New Mexico]
* [ McCormick Library of Special Collections, Northwestern University Library.]

External links

* [ Feminist SFF & Utopia: Dyke Protagonists]
* [ Science Fiction for Lesbians]
* [ GLBT Fantasy Reviews]
* [ Books To Watch Out For] publishes a monthly newsletter about lesbian books
* [ GLBTQ - Novel: Lesbian]
* [ GLBTQ - American Literature: Lesbian, Post-Stonewall]
* [ QueerTheory - Contemporary Lesbian Writers of the USA]
* [ Isle of Lesbos Poetry]
* [ Lesbian Mysteries] features Lesbian Mystery Novels

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