15 Book Releases To Watch Out For In 2020

Cover image for blog post: 2020 book releases

I’ve usually found it pretty easy to locate lists of upcoming book releases at the end of each year, but somehow 2020 releases have been harder to find. Especially when trying to locate books set or published outside of the West, my search has been frustrating, with few results.

Of course, many books published around the globe are not written in English, and few foreign-language titles get translated, so they can be hard to discover when googling in English. Translations of indie texts are also often published by smaller presses, which makes their release dates difficult to hear about if you don’t generally follow those publishers’ catalogues. For example, I know of a translated short-story collection that will be out in Singapore later this year, but only because I live in Singapore and love the publisher already.

My search for LGBT+ releases has definitely been more successful, and, delightfully, I managed to locate some queer books set in non-English speaking countries, although I wish I had found upcoming LGBT+ titles set outside of the West.

If you’re looking forward to any books being released this year that are not on this list and are from a non-Western country, I would love some more recommendations. If they have queer representation as well, even better!

Book covers: Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez, A Beautiful Crime by Christpher Bollen, The Island Child by Molly Aitken, The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood, and Rebelwing by Andrea Tang


Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

• Fantasy novel based on Bolivian politics

• Protagonist can weave thread from moonlight

• Revolution plot


A Beautiful Crime by Christopher Bollen

• Criminal boyfriends (queer rep)

• Set in Venice

• Thriller that tackles a variety of social issues


The Island Child by Molly Aitken

• Literary fiction rooted in Irish folklore

• Motherhood and girlhood

• Dark and haunting island life


The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

• LGBT+ adult fantasy novel

• Orcs as main characters (curious about this considering the media’s usual negative portrayal of physical disfigurement and the harmful idea that a character who looks ‘monstrous’ must be evil and cannot have a romantic identity)

• Rich, original world that combines fantasy and sci-fi


Rebelwing by Andrea Tang

• Black market of banned media

• Steampunk dragons

• Revolution plot

Book covers: This Town Sleeps by Dennis E. Staples, Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, Kept Animals by Kate Milliken, and Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski


This Town Sleeps by Dennis E. Staples

• Set on a Native American reservation

• Cemeteries, a dog that comes back to life, old curses

• Main character is in a same-sex relationship


Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor (trans. Sophie Hughes)

• Set in a Mexican village

• A witch is murdered

• Explores superstition and violence


Kept Animals by Kate Milliken

• Ranch life, California, photography

• F/F representation

• Narrated by the protagonist’s daughter in order to unravel the past


Swimming in the Dark by Tomasz Jedrowski

• Gay love story

• Communism in 1980s Poland

• Lovers on opposing political sides


Waves of Independence by Gunn Chit Wha

• Memoir by one of the first female lawyers in Malaysia

• Travels around the globe

• World War II

Book covers: Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters, Merdeka by Alfian Sa'at, and Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

MAY 12

Curandera by Irenosen Okojie

• Described as ‘a cross between Perfume and The Secret History

• Mysterious woman arrives in mountainous town Gethsemane and triggers strange events

• Four women from different places live together in London and one discovers she has healing abilities


Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters

• Cursed musical instruments

• Family secrets and ghosts

• Queer characters


Merdeka edited by Alfian Sa’at

• Inspired by the author’s 2019 play of the same name

• Collection of historical documentation and hidden stories

• Reflections on Singapore’s colonial legacy


Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

• Protagonist is the daughter of a star and a mortal

• Celestial court

• Hindu mythology


Singa-Pura-Pura edited and trans. by Nazry Bahrawi

• Collection of speculative short fiction from Singapore

• Translated from Malay

• Part of literary movement ‘that draws from the minority Malay experience in a city obsessed with progress’

What are some books you’re looking forward to this year? You can leave your answers in the comments below, or get in touch with me on Goodreads or Instagram.

If you’d like to know what else I’m reading in 2020, you can have a look at my picks for the #ReadTheMoon2020 challenge and the #ReadingWomenChallenge.

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