Alice Oseman, author and illustrator of the Heartstopper graphic novels, answers our five questions as part of our #ReadwithPride celebrations!
Find out more about our #ReadwithPride summer celebrations here.
Tell us, what is your book/series about in one sentence?
Heartstopper is the story of openly gay over-thinker Charlie Spring and soft-hearted rugby player Nick Nelson meeting at an all-boys school, becoming fast friends, and soon developing romantic feelings for each other!
Can you tell us a bit more about why you decided to write the book/series?
Nick and Charlie were originally characters in my debut novel Solitaire. We don’t learn much about them in that book – all we know is that they’re a strong, loving couple. After I finished writing it, I knew there was another story there. How did Nick and Charlie get together? Why are they such a strong couple? And a couple of years later, I launched Heartstopper!
What are some of the LGBTQ+ themes and issues you explore in your book/series?
Heartstopper starts by focusing on the romance between Nick and Charlie, but soon introduces lots of characters on the LGBTQ+ spectrum. I wanted there to be a solid group of queer friends at the heart of the story! Heartstopper features romance, figuring out your identity, coming out, and lots and lots of queer joy.
What is your favourite LGBTQ+ book and why?
I can’t pick one favourite!! A couple I really love are Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, which explores a teenage boy coming to terms with his sexuality, and Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman, which is about a teenage girl dealing with grief, while also questioning whether she may be on the aromantic and asexual spectrums. I’m also a big fan of graphic novels (of course!) and one of my favourite LGBTQ+ graphic novels is Spinning by Tillie Walden, which is about a teen ice skater coming to terms with being gay.
What plans do you have to celebrate PRIDE this year? Any virtual events you’re attending that you can recommend?
I’ll be chilling at home, probably reading queer books and watching queer movies! I’ll also be celebrating the release of my next YA novel, Loveless. I’ll be doing a live event on Instagram to celebrate with Lucy Powrie on the 9th July!
Find out more about Alice’s books by clicking on the covers below.