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Penguin Random House Launches LGBTQ+ Zine and Website to Support Queer Voices

Penguin Random House Launches LGBTQ+ Zine and Website to Support Queer Voices

Penguin Random House books

The world's largest trade book publisher aims to celebrate and amplify LGBTQ+ voices.

Publisher Penguin Random House has launched Pride in Your Words, a new zine and website celebrating books by LGBTQ+ authors and illustrators.

The 43-page zine contains stories and excerpts from Penguin Random House authors Luma Mufleh (From Here), Gabe Cole Novoa (The Wicked Bargain), Brandon Taylor (The Late Americans), Andrew Rannells (Uncle of the Year), and Carlyn Greenwald (Sizzle Reel), along with a feature on Drag Story Hour, a Q&A with queer booksellers from across the country, and a 2023 LGBTQ+ reading list. Consumers can sign up for access to the digital issue or receive one of 1,000 printed copies by mail.

The company plans to publish the zine annually. It’s a collaboration between the Penguin Random House brand marketing department and the internal LGBTQ+ Network Employee Resource Group. The theme of this year’s issue is “Change,” speaking to how books change individuals and society.

“Books change people,” the introduction reads. “That’s why they’re powerful. It’s also why they’re scary. It’s why some people want to ban and burn them. It’s why we love to read them and publish them and share them. Have you ever read a book and felt completely seen? Have you ever picked up a book and been delighted to find that someone else had the same thought as you? Books offer community, even when you’re alone. Books can be allies and friends.”

The website builds on the content in the zine and offers more than 250 books from queer authors, curated into categories including “Books by Trans, Nonbinary, and Gender Non-Confirming Authors,” “Must-Read Books by Queer Writers of Color,” and “Historical Fiction That’s a Little Bit Queer.” It also includes a dedicated children’s section with “Books for Kids That Explore Queerness,” “Picture Books That Celebrate Being Queer,” and “Baby’s First Queer Books.”

“We know that books make us better,” Penguin Random House Director of Brand Marketing Carly Gorga said in a press release. “Our hope with the newly released website and zine is that they’ll shine an even brighter light on the stories and experiences of LGBTQ+ creators; that these stories will be read, discussed, and passed around; and that they’ll play a small role in carrying us toward a better, more equitable future.”

During June, in observance of Pride Month, the company will donate 15 percent of net proceeds (up to $30,000) to the nonprofit organization Drag Story Hour, in honor of their mission to help kids learn from LGBTQ+ stories and experiences to love themselves, celebrate diversity in their communities, and stand up for what they believe in and each other.

Penguin Random House is also promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion across its divisions and imprints, with a writing workshop focused on queer fiction led by author Camille Kellogg (Random House); “Paint the Towns with Pride,” a book drop with free books by LGBTQ+ authors in queer-owned spaces in cities across the country (Penguin Publishing Group); video features of LGBTQ+ authors discussing the importance of representation in books and media, their experiences writing queer characters, and more (Dutton); interactive booklists “Read with Pride” and “Trans Kids Are Our Kids,” designed for educators and librarians (Penguin Young Readers); and a Pride Month collection in the PRH Audio app.

Penguin Random House is the world’s largest trade book publisher. It recently joined writers’ group PEN America in suing Florida’s Escambia County School District and its board over book bans. Most of the targeted books address racial and LGBTQ+ issues.

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