By Joseph O’Connor
This historical novel explores the life of Bram Stoker, author of Dracula and depicts him as a closeted gay man. Set largely around London’s Lyceum theatre, it explores Stoker’s complicated relationships with the famous real-life actors Henry Irving and Ellen Terry and the torments of the creative life.
2. A Traveller at the Gates of Wisdom
By John Boyne
It’s a time travelling saga that ranges from Palestine in AD1 to a colony in outer space in AD 2080. This is rich and imaginative storytelling that takes John Boyne’s skills as a historical novelist in a very dynamic and exciting direction.
3. Swimming in the Dark
By Tomasz Jedrowski
First love is a common subject for gay fiction, but what makes this debut novel so distinctive and fascinating is its setting: early 1980s communist Poland. There is also the added tension of the two young men having quite different political sensibilities.
4. The Adversary
By Ronnie Scott
This Australian debut novel has a wry charm and a very distinctive literary style. There is very little plot, yet The Adversary is a thoroughly engaging read - witty, very well-written and genuinely fresh.
By Garth Greenwell
Greenwell has wisely returned to the same setting - Sofia, Bulgaria - that made his debut novel What Belongs to You so distinctive. Thisis edgy, intelligent and intensely candid writing about sex, desire and intimacy between men.