9 LGBTQ+ British Books Perfect For Film Adaptation Because They Deserve The Big Screen
It has been a brilliant couple of years for diversity in cinema, with so many incredible movies with LGBTQ+ representation hitting the big screen. Hollywood has started to approach queer relationships and queer characters with the multi-dimensional approach that has long been afforded to cis and heterosexual couples. Some of the inspiration for this has come from the world of literature, and so here are nine LGBTQ+ British books perfect for film adaptation that I think producers should jump on next.
So what great examples have we already seen? There was surely not a dry eye in cinemas anywhere when Call Me By Your Name came out. Based on the 2007 novel of the same name by André Aciman, Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer's performances were widely lauded, and earned the former a Best Actor nomination at the Oscars. Then there's Carol, based on Patricia Highsmith's The Price Of Salt, which as well as being a bracing portrayal of love, intimacy, and heartbreak, is also possibly the best Christmas film ever (don't @ me).
There is a wealth of British writers who have been writing about LGBTQ+ issues and presenting queer characters in their work for years, providing ample material for filmmakers and producers to draw from. The following list is made up of the best books by UK writers, dealing with characters and issues from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, that would make incredible films.
1. 'Girl Meets Boy' by Ali Smith
Ali Smith is a genius. Her books are incredible. And if you haven't read anything by her before, Girl Meets Boy is a great place to start. Anthea's relationship with queer anarchist Robin is the backdrop to this short but lively novel that is a modern retelling of Ovid's Metamorphoses.
2. 'Orlando' by Virginia Woolf
This list would be woefully incomplete without Orlando, which Woolf wrote for her rumoured lover Vita Sackville-West. The book spans across centuries, jumps between genders, and examines identity, love, and sexuality with subversive wit and wry prose. It needs a film adaptation NOW.
3. 'The Well of Loneliness' by Radclyffe Hall
Marguerite Radclyffe Hall's novel is seen as a landmark for British LGBTQ+ writing. It's a doorstop of a book, coming in at just under 500 pages, but the story of Stephen and Mary is a page turner, examining not just lesbian relationships in the '20s but also the social isolation so many women faced because of their sexuality.
4. 'Boys Don't Cry' by Malorie Blackman
Blackman is the author of the Noughts and Crosses series which pretty much everyone devoured as a teenager, and Boys Don't Cry has that same intensity that makes you want to stay up all night reading it. Though Dante's story is the centre of this book, it's his gay brother Adam who readers will want to focus on. The drama and emotional upheaval in Boys is pretty much written for the screen.
5. 'Tipping The Velvet' by Sarah Waters
Sarah Waters is the award winning author of some of the best books with queer protagonists ever written. Tipping The Velvet was her first novel and is now seen as a must read for fans of LGBTQ+ fiction. Yes, it was adapted into a miniseries, but the coming-of-age story of Nancy and her life in London deserves the big screen more than anything.
6. 'The Last Beginning' by Lauren James
The Last Beginning is the sequel to James' must read The Next Together. The author herself has summed up the book as "Lesbian romance with MANY JOKES," so if that doesn't sell it, nothing will. The story of Clove and Ella is full of twists and turns and the nature of the book itself, replete with time-travel and kick-ass action scenes, makes it such a strong contender to be adapted into a film.
7. 'Eating Cake' by Stella Duffy
Lisa technically has it all, but once boredom sets in, it's hard to banish it. And so in Eating Cake we see not just one but two affairs. It's been described as incredibly raw look at infidelity and the complexities within modern relationships, and the relatability of Lisa's story and frustrations would make for the perfect film.
8. 'Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit' by Jeanette Winterson
Winterson's novel tells the story of 16-year-old Jeanette who decides to leave the church, her family, and everything she knows behind, for the young woman she is in love with. It is a must read and comes with so much praise, and though has been adapted for radio and a mini-series in 1989, it still hasn't gotten the big budget film version it deserves.
9. 'Brighton Trans*Formed'
Brighton Trans*Formed is not a novel but the stories that make up this collection of writing, memories, oral histories, and photography is so fascinating. It chronicles the lives and experiences of Brighton’s Transgender community, and provide a snapshot of gender expression and diversity that would make as essential a documentary as it has a book.
The UK has such a rich history of LGBTQ+ writing, both contemporary and older, that it can be difficult to narrow it down to a list without excluding some incredible books. Seeing novels like Girl Meets Boy or The Well Of Loneliness make it to big screen would be immense as books like this present the diverse set of voices and stories the public is crying out for.