Poster for LGBTQ panel event

LGBT+ History Month is all about recognising the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people and celebrating their lives and achievements. The theme this year is “poetry, prose and plays”, shining a spotlight on LGBTQ+ writers and the stories they tell. What power do stories have? How do they reflect the world we live in, or imagine possible futures for us?

Young Adult (YA) literature is primarily aimed at readers aged 12 to 18 and mainly deals with the experience of being a teenager: a time when everyone, including LGBTQ+ people, are trying to figure out who they are.

This February, Imperial invites YA authors Darren Charlton, Cynthia So and Kay Staples to talk about their experiences as LGBTQ+ writers telling LGBTQ+ stories for teenagers. Joining them will be Charlie Morris, Senior Publicity and Marketing Executive at Little Tiger Press/Stripes Publishing, bringing her perspective of what it’s like to play a crucial role in putting these exciting new books into the hands of readers out there.

Caz Ulley, Co-Chair of Imperial 600, will be chairing the panel discussion.

Whether you’re LGBTQ+ or an ally, whether you read YA or not, if you can remember a time when a story has left its mark on you, this event is for you. Come along and celebrate LGBT+ History Month with us and you might leave inspired to put pen to paper yourself, ready to compose a brand new tale!

Photos of the panellists

Darren Charlton is the author of debut novel Wranglestone and its forthcoming sequel. He lives in London with his partner and works in the voluntary sector for a homeless organisation. His lifetime obsessions with the National Parks of America, horror, film music and 80s kids movies have all worked their way into his writing.

Kay Staples is a writer from the Midlands. After studying creative writing at the University of Birmingham, Kay now works in marketing as a content writer in London, and listens to an awful lot of alternative music.

Cynthia So was born in Hong Kong and lives in London. They graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA in Classics and now work in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre at Imperial College London.

Kay and Cynthia were both selected as New Voices in Proud, an anthology of LGBTQ+ YA short stories, poems, and illustrations by LGBTQ+ creators.

Charlie Morris is Senior Publicity and Marketing Executive at Little Tiger Group, a former independent bookseller, and social media manager for the Pride in Publishing network. At Little Tiger, Charlie works across all children’s books from board books to Young Adult fiction. @charlieinabook

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