Top 5 gender-bending books

The Superior Spectre author explores novels that turn their backs on the limitations of gender

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Shifting point of view through the protagonist’s many ‘selves’, and drawing on Igbo cosmology, this is an extraordinary book, both expansive and intimate. 

Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf

Published in 1928, this book still feels fun and fresh. Orlando transforms from teen-boy page in the Elizabethan court to adventuring adult woman, and who continues to switch between men’s and women’s clothing. A favourite book of my youth, it will always remind me to be adventurous and bold in my writing.

Highway Bodies by Alison Evans

A group of queer and gender diverse teens learn a new resilience when the zombie apocalypse hits Australia. Gory and yet big-hearted, with memorable teen characters, I’m the proud publisher of this YA work by a talented, non-binary author.


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Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson 

The gender of the narrator of this seductive novel is never made overt. The narrator has had girlfriends and boyfriends. It was a revelation to me when I read it in my early twenties. A book that gazes and touches. It’s absorbing and poetic.

The Tensorate Series by JY Yang

I’ve been making my way through these stunning fantasy novellas, in which people are not born with a defined gender, but choose how they will present at a certain point, moving into adulthood. The books are emotionally rich as well as having considered and vivid world-building. Includes raptors.

Angela Meyer’s A Superior Spectre is out now (Saraband, £8.99)