What to Read When You Want a Fat and Queer Summer
We’re here. We’re queer. We’re fat. This has been our rallying cry as we worked on Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives, which I co-edited with Miguel M. Morales and Tiff Joshua TJ Ferentini, and which released on May 21. The book is a collection of prose and poetry that explores the intersection of fat and queer identities, and we have the incredible fortune to present work by established and emerging writers such as Carmen Maria Machado, Edward Kelsey Moore, Nicole Oquendo, Eddy Francisco Alvarez Jr., D. Nolan Jefferson, Leah Harris, Caleb Luna, Samantha Puc, and so many others. (The full list of our amazing contributors can be found here.)
This anthology celebrates fat and queer bodies and lives by challenging the negative and damaging representations of queer and fat bodies while offering readers ways to reclaim their bodies, providing stories of support, inspiration and empowerment. Most of the books listed below are from, or feature, our contributors and editors. I’ve also included Shapes of Native Nonfiction, edited by Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton, because this outstanding anthology was my touchstone throughout the process of editing Fat and Queer.
May is such a perfect time for Fat and Queer to be coming out because this month means the start of picnics, BBQs, and flowering pansies. It also means we’re on the eve of Pride month, so we can’t think of a better time to celebrate being fat and queer!
Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers edited by Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton
Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton state in their introduction that they structured their anthology around basket weaving, the forms and the materials, because “we have understood this project as one meant to hold…” They carry that through beautifully throughout the collection, which features lyric essays from a wide range of Native writers. As we worked on Fat and Queer, I’d often cite Shapes of Native Nonfiction as the example of an anthology that takes great care in its structure and in the space it gives to its contributors to tell their stories.
The Other F-Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce edited by Angie Manfredi
The Other F-Word is kind of like Fat and Queer’s unofficial older cousin. Edited by Angie Manfredi and featuring work from Fat and Queer co-editor Miguel M. Morales, it includes a range of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction from renowned fat YA authors, middle-grade authors, and influencers/creators to illustrate their experiences of fatness—and to, ultimately, celebrate it.
Pulse/Pulso: In Remembrance of Orlando edited by Roy G. Guzmán and Miguel M. Morales
How do we give voice to a time of collective grief? Guzmán and Fat and Queer co-editor, Morales collect writing from queer and trans writers of color in the days and weeks following the devastating Pulse nightclub shooting.
In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado
We had our list of dream contributors, and Machado was at the top of that list. She said yes before anyone else, before we even had a publisher. We’ll be eternally grateful. Her memoir is groundbreaking in that it tells the story of an abusive queer relationship—a very underrepresented story—told in the form of a haunted house whose rooms give the book its brilliant structure.
The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore
Dream contributor #2, Moore’s debut novel is a queer classic about the strength of friendship when its needed most while not shying away from the difficulties that can form in long-term relationships. Moore’s writing is always full of humor, charm, and insight, and it’s a great pleasure to experience over the course of a novel.
Catrachos by Roy G. Guzmán
Guzmán’s “Queerodactyl” series in their compelling debut poetry collection features one of my favorite opening lines, “We vogued in graveyards, headstones big / as Daddy’s factory plant.” The juxtaposition of queer celebration and devastation is present throughout the book as it tells stories about immigration, queer coming of age, survival, and a sashaying dinosaur.
Embouchure: Poems by Emilia Phillips
Where Catarachos discusses queer coming of age, Phillips examines queer adulthood in her latest poetry collection. At times funny and at times emotional, this collection shows us how we’re never done discovering who we are.
What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Fat by Aubrey Gordon
A lot is written about fat people by non-fat people, which makes Gordon’s book such a relief. Here is a fat (and queer) person discussing what it’s like to live in a toxic diet culture that constantly shames fat bodies. How do we, fat people, cut through the barrage of fatphobia disguised as concerns about health? Gordon illuminates the path.
Songs of My Selfie: An Anthology of Millennial Stories edited by Constance Renfrow
This anthology features seventeen short stories by millennial writers—about actual millennial issues, including a short story from Fat and Queer co-editor Tiff Joshua TJ Ferentini. With fresh new voices and edgy prose—all which tear down the falsehood that there’s only one, singular way to look like and be a millennial—the stories within Songs of My Selfie offer up a smorgasbord of vibrant, various millennial characters: from unemployed graduates buried in debt, to online relationship addicts, to ones at war with their families’ expectations. To add to its playfulness, each piece in the anthology is accompanied with a selfie from its respective author. – Tiff Joshua TJ Ferentini
Speaking Wiri Wiri by Dan Vera
Winner of the inaugural Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, Dan Vera’s Speaking Wiri Wiri is a work of historical insight and wry wit, unexpectedly delightful and full of surprises as it meditates on the challenges of multiple identities, ethnicity, geographies of migration, familial displacement, popular history, and more. Everything is fair game for Vera, who finds poetry in the mundane and the monumental, the hidden lives of iconic television stars and the alternate and accidental histories of Latinos in the United States. Carmen Miranda makes an appearance, as do Captain Kirk, Vladimir Nabokov, and José Martí in a literary landscape careening lyrically between lost and found. – Miguel M. Morales
And to close out this wonderful list, we just had to include the new anthology itself, Fat and Queer, edited by Bruce Owens Grimm, Miguel M. Morales, and Tiff Joshua TJ Ferentini and out now from Jessica Kingsley Publishers! – Ed.
Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives edited by Bruce Owens Grimm, Miguel M. Morales, and Tiff Joshua TJ Ferentini
This one-of-a-kind collection of prose and poetry radically explores the intersection of fat and queer identities, showcasing new, emerging, and established queer and trans writers from around the world. Celebrating fat and queer bodies and lives, this book challenges negative and damaging representations of queer and fat bodies and offers readers ways to reclaim their bodies, providing stories of support, inspiration, and empowerment. In writing that is intimate, luminous, and emotionally raw, this anthology is a testament to the diversity and power of fat queer voices and experiences, and they deserve to be heard.