‘Queer, hilarious and full of joy’: the rise of LGBTQ+ romance fiction

Author Laura Kay is part of a new wave of authors releasing uplifting queer literature that casts its characters as the heroes of their lives – not the victims

“I have read some really fantastic fiction about queer women, but I have quite often felt that it leans towards the slightly gloomier side,” says author Laura Kay. For the London-based writer, it was natural that her debut novel, The Split, would be a romcom. “I really just wrote the story that I wanted to read,” she says. Published last year, the story follows Ally, who, after a savage break-up, moves to Sheffield – taking her ex-girlfriend’s cat, Malcolm, with her.

Only after The Split was published did Kay realise its significance. “Other people started reading it, and telling me, ‘Oh my God, this is the first time I’ve read this story about queer women,’” she says. Readers praised the novel for being refreshingly joyful and funny – including a happy ending, which is not that common for a book with an LGBTQ+ plot. Kay also deliberately avoided reference to any trauma surrounding Ally’s sexuality.

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