Manchester’s independent gay bookshop Queer Lit has teamed up with The Whitworth to bring you an evening with novelists Torrey Peters and Imogen Binnie, hosted in the Grand Hall by Christine Burns MBE, best known for her work representing transgender people with Press For Change, and Grey Marlow, a Creative Writing Masters student at University of Manchester, currently working on “an experimental novella with peaches, queerness, trauma n friendships”.
Last year, Picador signed the “hilarious, ground breaking cult classic” for publication in the UK for the first time, citing Nevada as a “genuinely ground-breaking book, which has trenchant and inspired things to say about the trans experience”.
Torrey Peters is the author of the novel Detransition, Baby, published by One World, which won the prestigious 2022 PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards as well as the Brooklyn Public Library Award, and it was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. A collection of four novellas, Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones, will be published by Random House in 2023. She has an MFA from the University of Iowa and a Masters in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth. Torrey rides a pink motorcycle and splits her time between Brooklyn and an off-grid cabin in Vermont.
Here’s the blurb for Detransition, Baby: “Reese nearly had it all: a loving relationship with Amy, an apartment in New York, a job she didn’t hate. She’d scraped together a life previous generations of trans women could only dream of; the only thing missing was a child. Then everything fell apart and three years on Reese is still in self-destruct mode, avoiding her loneliness by sleeping with married men. When her ex calls to ask if she wants to be a mother, Reese finds herself intrigued. After being attacked in the street, Amy de-transitioned to become Ames, changed jobs and, thinking he was infertile, started an affair with his boss Katrina. Now Katrina’s pregnant. Could the three of them form an unconventional family – and raise the baby together?”
The PEN/Hemingway Award judges, Zeyn Joukhadar, Téa Obreht and Daniel Torday, said: “Torrey Peters’s Detransition, Baby, with its sharp wit, devastating clarity, and keenly observed characters, is exceptional not only for its fluid, intelligent prose but also for the way the novel challenges dominant narratives of time and of gender that flatten and erase the rich complexity of the lives of both cis and trans people. There’s an elation, an honesty, and a verve to Peters’s voice that sounds unlike any prose in recent memory, a unique energy which keeps the narrative moving as she threads in and out of the consciousness of her unforgettable characters. Detransition, Baby is a masterful portrait of an unlikely family navigating a world that so often forecloses trans futures, three characters struggling to learn to love each other with grace, tenderness, and, when all else fails, with humor.”
Imogen Binnie is an American transgender novelist who made her debut with the publication of Nevada in 2013; last year, Picador signed the “hilarious, ground breaking cult classic” for publication in the UK for the first time, citing Nevada as a “genuinely ground-breaking book, which has trenchant and inspired things to say about the trans experience”. The novel won the Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award and was a finalist for the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction, and is seen by many as “ground zero” for modern trans fiction. A writer for several television shows and a former columnist for Maximum Rocknroll, she lives in Vermont with her family. Said Samantha Burt in The New Yorker: “Imogen Binnie’s Nevada changed the literary landscape of trans fiction—in part because it made no concessions to tourists.”
About Nevada: “Maria, a trans woman in her thirties, is going nowhere. She spends her aimless days working in a New York bookstore, trying to remain true to a punk ethos while drinking herself into a stupor and having a variety of listless and confusing sexual encounters. After her girlfriend cheats on her, Maria steals her car and heads for the Pacific, embarking on her version of the Great American Road Trip. Along the way she stops in Reno, Nevada, and meets James, a young man who works in the local Wal-Mart. Maria recognizes elements of her younger self in James and the pair quickly form an unlikely but powerful connection, one that will have big implications for them both.”
Both titles will be available to buy on the night and be signed by Torrey Peters and Imogen Binnie. All profits from this event will be donated to local LGBTQ+ charity AKT.