Three New Queer Vancouver Writers

photo: Hasan Namir / Image via thisisblueprint.com

photo: Hasan Namir / Image via thisisblueprint.com

By Casey Stepaniuk

Vancouver has a vibrant writing community as well as a queer community, so it’s not surprising that the intersection of those two groups is such a diverse, talented bunch. Here are a few newcomers to the scene that you should probably know about. When they become super famous authors, you can say that you’ve been following them since the beginning.

Hasan Namir is actually already kind of a gay literary superstar: his debut novel, God in Pink, won the 2016 Lambda Literary award for gay fiction. Kind of a big deal. God in Pink is set in Namir’s native Iraq and adds some much needed underrepresented Arab and Muslim perspectives to that genre. The book is about where cultural and religious politics meet sexuality, and is alternately brutal and sweet as the main character Ramy makes what compromises he can live with in a place where he can never be openly gay. As he says in detail in this interview with Out Magazine, one of Namir’s inspirations for the novel was his own struggle reconciling his faith with his sexuality. Let’s hope his home in Vancouver—where he has lived since 1998—will inspire him to tell more queer stories that need to be told.

photo: Image by Kathleen Jacques

photo: Image by Kathleen Jacques

Kathleen Jacques has been running her amazing, adorable comic Band vs. Band on her website for a few years, but she might still be flying under your radar since she’s only published one print volume of the comic so far. Band vs. Band is really hard not to love: full of gorgeous red-pink and blue tone retro-inspired drawings and upbeat, hilarious stories about two girl bands’ rivalry, it’s just so fun to read. Jacques has called the project an “elaborate love letter to everything [she’s] always found magical and appealing about bands as a concept, from real-life groups to ultra-stylized fictional depictions.” The comic also spans pretty much the entire queer rainbow, including L, G, B, and T identified characters. When Jacques isn’t making comics in what she calls “lovely/rainy Vancouver,” she’s also a graphic designer.

Adèle Barclay / Image via Twitter

Adèle Barclay / Image via Twitter

Adèle Barclay’s first book of poetry is due out this October and it’s sure to be a stunner, judging from the beautiful title alone: If I Were in a Cage I’d Reach Out for You. Check out the publisher’s description: “These poems are love letters to the uncomfortable, the unfathomable, and the altered geographies that define our own misshapen understandings of the world.” Barclay is one of those Jill-of-all-trades people: writer, poet, editor, and researcher. In addition to her poetry collection, Barclay has been busy doing lots of other awesome stuff out of her Vancouver home base: she’s studying for a PhD in American poetry, being an editor and doing writer/artist interviews for The Rusty Toque, and curating links for Canadian Women in the Literary Arts. Keep your eyes peeled for what I’m sure will be a great book launch in the fall!

Casey Stepaniuk is a writer and librarian-in-training who runs the website Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian, where you can find LGBTQ+ Canadian book reviews and a queer book advice column. She also writes for Book Riot. Find her on Twitter: @canlesbrarian

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