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That’s a lot of abbreviations - for those who might need it: Publisher Catnip explore the lack of gay fiction in Young Adult fiction in the UK:

On speaking to an agent who receives both UK and US submissions, I was told that the US manuscripts featuring gay protagonists often tended towards being too earnest for the UK market, where we tend to shy away from anything too ‘issues’ based. For the UK, we need storylines that reflect our society and attitude, books where the main character just happens to be gay.

So, why aren’t publishers picking up UK-based non-straight protagonists?

OK. So that agent I mentioned just now, would you like to hazard a guess as to how many of the UK submissions featured a non-straight protagonist?


I asked around and got the same answer from other agents and editors - I’m not saying this was an extensive study, but the agents I talked to receive something in the region of 12-15,000 submissions a year. Gay sidekicks? Tick. Siblings? Tick. Even parents might feature, but not one protagonist.