Queer Your Year

I am beyond excited to announce a new community project: Queer Your Year 2023 is a yearlong reading challenge celebrating queer lit!

A square graphic with a curvy rainbow along one side. Text in an orange oval at the top reads “The 2023 Queer Your Year Challenge!” Small images of black and white book stacks surround the text. Below is the text: “A yearlong reading challenge celebrating queer lit, hosted by Laura of Books & Bakes. Read queer books! Win prizes from LGBTQIA+ businesses!” The small Books & Bakes logo sits in the bottom left corner.

The Challenge

If you’ve interacted with me on the internet (or, let’s be honest, in real life) for more than five seconds, you probably know how much I love queer lit. I didn’t read a lot of queer books as a teenager and young adult. There were certainly less queer books back then, but I also didn’t know how to find the queer books that did exist. I didn’t know that I could simply choose not to read books about straight people if I didn’t feel like it.

Now I’m a queer adult and a Professional Book Person living in the Golden Age of Queer Lit. There. Are. So. Many. Queer. Books. There are more queer books than I will ever be able to read in my lifetime! It is a glorious thing, a thing to celebrate, and celebrating queer lit has always been what Books & Bakes is all about. In 2023, I’m turning the celebration up to eleven.

The Queer Your Year Challenge is just that—an invitation to queer your reading, to dig deep into queer lit. It’s for everyone—whether you’re queer or not; whether you’re a seasoned queer lit connoisseur or you’ve just read your first queer book; whether you want to shake up your reading life in 2023 or settle into what brings you joy.

It’s not about reading as many books as possible. There’s no finish line. It’s about discovering new queer books and authors, stretching outside of our comfort zones, making space for queer joy, and celebrating queer brilliance. There are a bunch of prompts, as well as fun monthly raffles for amazing prizes. I’ll be giving tons of recs throughout the year, and I hope you’ll join the conversation and get loud about your favorite queer books, too. I can’t wait to read with you!

How It Works

The challenge includes 48 prompts. You can view and download the game card here. Whenever you complete a prompt, write down the name of the book you read on your game card. You don’t have to do the prompts in order, and you don’t have to do all of them (or even half of them!) to participate. Even if you only complete one prompt, you’ll still have twelve chances to win a prize!

Here’s how the monthly raffles work:

  • In the last newsletter of each month, I’ll randomly select 6-8 numbers. It’s like bingo! If you’ve completed any of the prompts that correspond to those numbers, you’ll have till the end of the month to submit your game card.

  • Everyone who submits a game card will be entered into the monthly raffle for prizes. One number = one entry. If you’ve completed all six of the winning prompts for that month, you’ll get six raffle entries!

  • Your game card is yours for the whole year and entries are cumulative. So if you read a book for Prompt 25 in January, and 25 is a winning number in September, as long as you submit your game card in September, it counts!

  • Everyone who submits a game card will get a one-time prize pack of stickers, a bookmark, a postcard, and a handmade zine!

  • After you’ve won a prize pack, you can keep submitting your card each month (as long as you’ve completed at least one of the winning prompts) until you win the raffle—or the year ends.

  • At the end of the year, I’ll do one big raffle that anyone who has completed at least 12 prompts can enter.

It’s not complicated, I promise. It’s going to be awesome. We’re going to read so many queer books, and get so many amazing recommendations for our overflowing TBRs, and learn about so many brilliant queer authors and indie presses.

The Fine Print

  • All books must be queer! This includes books by LGBTQIA+ authors and/or books that focus on queer themes and characters.

  • All books must be read between January 1 and December 31, 2023.

  • Feel free to use a book for more one than one prompt!

  • In order to be entered into the monthly raffles and win prizes, you must be subscribed to Books & Bakes. (I’m grateful for every paid subscription, but you don’t need to pay to participate in Queer Your Year!)

  • To keep things fun for everyone, you’ll only be allowed to win one monthly prize.

  • Prize packs ship internationally, but, unfortunately, monthly prizes are only available within the U.S.


I’ve curated a selection of incredible prizes from LGBTQ+ and BIPOC-owned businesses, artists, and indie presses. I’ll reveal each month’s prize when I call the winning numbers for the prior month. Some of the amazing prizes you can look forward to include: queer book bundles from some of my favorite indie presses, a one-time book subscription box, queer-themed art prints, and various items (tea, candles, mugs) handmade by queer artists.

Most of these businesses and artists have donated prizes. I’m so grateful for their support of this project—there’s no way I could have funded such amazing prizes out of my own pocket! I encourage you to shop from these artists and buy books from these queer-owned and queer-inclusive indie presses when you can. I’ll be recommending their amazing stuff all year.

Monthly Prizes

November/December: $20 Gift Card to a Queer-Owned Bookstore of Your Choice!

The last raffle of the year will take place in mid-December, and the rules will be a little different. There won’t be any winning prompts. Anyone who’s completed at least one prompt can enter!

  • 1 prompt completed = 1 entry

  • 12 prompts completed (1 per month) = 4 entries

  • All prompts completed (wow!) = 8 entries

This raffle will be open internationally. Any queer-owned bookstores that offers gift cards that can be delivered via email are eligible.

October: Family Meal by Bryan Washington + Libro.fm Swag!

September: Mystery Queer Book Bundle

August: Infinity Scarf & Extras from Mama Hen

July: Queer Book Bundle from Arsenal Pulp Press

June: Cards & Stickers Bundle from Radical Emprints

May: The December Box from the American Fiction Series with Alexander Chee

April: Queer Book Bundle from The Feminist Press

March: TBR Cards!

February: Queer Book Bundle from Metonymy Press

January: The 2023 Fertile Futures Calendar by Molly Costello

The Queer Your Year Prize Pack

Every month, one lucky raffle winner will receive one of the above prizes. But everyone who submits a game card with a winning number will receive a prize pack full of bookish treats! Prize packs will include stickers, a bookmark, a homemade Queer Your Year zine, and a postcard of a queer and/or literary icon (like this one).

The Prompts

There are 48 prompts. The point isn’t to complete them all—the point is to read fabulous queer books, and discover some wonderful new-to-you genres and/or authors. I purposely came up with a list of prompts that is a mix of serious and silly, fun and challenging. I want this challenge to be what you need it to be: if you want to use it as permission to read a whole lot of queer fluff, there are prompts for that! If you want to challenge yourself to read queer books outside your comfort zone, there are prompts for that, too!

I’ll include recommendations for each prompt in every free newsletter, and I’ll link to those rec lists below. You can also check out the Queer Your Year list on Bookshop and the Queer Your Year Challenge on Storygraph.

1. A book in translation from a non-European country

2. A book of nonfiction by a trans author

3. A book published before you were born

4. Intersex author

5. A classic

6. A novel set in a rural place

7. Protagonist over 50

8. A Black history book

9. A mystery

10. A work of fiction by a disabled author

11. A nonfiction book about queer parenting

12. A collection of letters or journals

13. A book with less than 100 ratings on Goodreads

14. A book set on a continent you don’t live on

15. An essay collection

16. An SFF book by an Indigenous author

17. A book about queer joy

18. Asexual author

19. A YA book without a central romance

20. A work of graphic nonfiction

21. Dragons!

22. A novel in verse

23. South Asian author

24. A book under 150 pages

25. Fat author

26. A book recommended to you by a queer friend or family member

27. A retelling

28. A romance with BIPOC leads

29. A book about drag

30. A middle grade book featuring a queer family

31. Caribbean author

32. A book of nature or science writing

33. Weird Queer!

34. A historical novel with a trans protagonist 

35. A book set in space

36. An M/F romance novel

37. A work of genre fiction by a trans author

38. A book published in the decade you were born

39. A Lambda Award finalist or winner

40. African author

41. A work of historical fiction set before 1950

42. A debut poetry collection 

43. Fluff!

44. A book published by Arsenal Pulp Press

45. A book over 500 pages

46. A book by or about a celebrity or famous historical figure

47. Nonbinary protagonist 

48. A book you’ve been longing to reread

Ready to Queer Your Year?

Download the 2023 Queer Your Year game card here.

Make sure you’re subscribed to Books & Bakes! I’ll announce each month’s winning numbers in the newsletter. You must be a subscriber to enter the monthly raffles and win prizes.

Submit your game card at the end of each month here.

For recommendations: Check out the Queer Your Year list on Bookshop, the Queer Your Year Challenge on Storygraph, the linked prompt list above, and the monthly Queer Your Year rec threads—these are full of suggestions from an amazing community of readers!

I also welcome your recommendations! If you’ve read a great book that fits a prompt, let me know via email (queerbooksandbakes@gmail.com), on Insta (@openbookopen), or drop a comment on one of the newsletters linked in the above prompts list.

If you’re on Instagram, post what you’re reading using the #QueerYourYear hashtag, and tag me (@openbookopen), so that I can share your posts.

Running this challenge is a lot of work. If you’re enjoying it and want to show your appreciation, the best way to thank me is to become a paying subscriber. You can also leave me a tip.

Leave me a tip

Happy reading!