When Sarah Waters published The Little Stranger last year, she was nominated for the Man Booker Prize for the third time, but it was her first best-selling, well-received novel that had absolutely no lesbian content. The protagonist was a male doctor, and the story was one of good vs. evil and class struggle instead of the sexuality-driven period dramas readers typically produced by the author of Tipping the Velvet, Affinity and Fingersmith.
This year, lesbian author Emma Donoghue was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for her critically acclaimed, best-selling novel Room. Like Waters, Donoghue’s past work had Sapphic-themes, and one of her most recent books before Room was Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature, a collected history of lesbian themes, characters and relationships in books since the beginning of time.
Perhaps the steadfast lesbian readerships of both authors is wondering the same thing: Have we been abandoned?
It does feel like an unfair question to ask any artist who happens to be gay but doesn’t produce “gay” work, but when an author arguably builds a career in writing about their own community, it’s easy to expect they will continue on the course of keeping us happily satisfied. Waters addressed this in an interview with AfterEllen.com upon the publication of The Little Stranger.
She told us: