Books by celebrated author and trans ally Joanne Harris you really should read

A publicity photo of author Joanne Harris, and a cover image of her novel, Chocolat

We’ve put together a guide of the books by celebrated author and trans ally, Joanne Harris, that you need to add to your collection.

These days, it’s not enough to be an author. You have to self-promote, appear at events like the Edinburgh International Book Festival and master the art of taking a selfie with your readers.

If you’re Joanne Harris, somehow you find time to not only chair the Society of Authors, the UK’s biggest trade union for writers – but also to stand up as an iconic trans ally on Twitter.

The bestselling author of nearly 30 books received backlash from so-called ‘gender-critical’ feminists this week and was even accused of “betraying” women because she proudly stands with the trans community.

On learning that Harris has a trans child, controversial academic Kathleen Stock even suggested trans allies should declare any “trans-identifying offspring”. However, Harris has held firm, saying “I support trans rights” and that she won’t be drawn into a “fabricated culture war”.

While you can follow her on Twitter or contact the Society of Authors to let them know you support her, there’s one tried and trusted way of supporting an author – buy their books.

Her novels are a blend of historical fiction, magical realism and mystery – and when we say there’s something for everyone, we mean it. From her bestselling novel Chocolat to a Doctor Who tie-in novella, via psychological thrillers and even cookbooks, there’s hardly any genre that Harris hasn’t tried.

When it comes to reading Joanne Harris, you get the double whammy of feeling like you’ve done a good deed and getting a cracking read in the process. Let’s face it – there’s nothing worse than investing time and money into a series and its various spin-offs only to find out that the author doesn’t believe in trans rights.

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If you like dark academia…

Fans of The Secret History will love Gentlemen and Players, where an eccentric Latin teacher has to confront not only the modern world encroaching on St Oswald’s Grammar School, but the mysterious narrator who has joined the teaching staff with a mysterious connection to the school and a grudge to settle. Followed by A Different Class and A Narrow Door, they’re the perfect choice for that ‘back to school’ feeling.

If you’re a Sarah Waters fan…

What Sleep, Pale Sister lacks in corseted sapphic romps, it more than makes up for in its portrayal of the twisting, sensuous world of Victorian London. A laudanum-soaked mystery, it’s full of illicit sexuality and intense female friendship.

If you can’t get enough of Tom Hiddleston’s Loki…

Make no mistake, the protagonist of Harris’ The Gospel of Loki isn’t exactly the same as Marvel’s Loki, beloved of queer fans everywhere. But he’s pretty close – a resentful bad boy who doesn’t see himself as a villain but still wants the world to pay for the sting of his rejection. It can be enjoyed as a standalone or as the adult prequel to her foray into YA fantasy with Runemarks and Runelight. A direct sequel, The Testament of Loki, sees the trickster escape into our world and find himself unexpectedly taking the form of a teenage girl.

If you love magic and food…

Chocolat is an international bestseller, and easily the most famous of her books – and for good reason. This witchy, whimsical story of a single mother and her daughter who start a chocolate shop in a tiny French village rife with secrets has a dark layer beneath its beguiling surface that will keep you hooked until the final page. And if you find yourself craving more than just cocoa, vanilla and sea salt, there are four more books in the series to satisfy your appetite – The Lollipop Shoes, Peaches for Monsieur Cure and The Strawberry Thief.

If you’re getting ready for autumn…

Appropriately enough Blackberry Wine, the story of an author haunted by his childhood memories in more ways than one might sound sweet but it packs a punch that will leave you off-kilter once you’ve finished it. The perfect companion to a rainy day – or to closing your curtains, blocking out the sunlight and wishing it was already September.