The Aesop Queer Library: A Treasure Trove of Titles by LGBTQIA+ Authors and Allies | News Direct

The Aesop Queer Library: A Treasure Trove of Titles by LGBTQIA+ Authors and Allies

Aesop USA
News release by Aesop USA

facebook icon linkedin icon twitter icon pinterest icon email icon New York, NY | June 23, 2021 08:15 AM Eastern Daylight Time

To allow bibliophiles of all stripes to partake in Pride Month 2021, from June 21 – 27 Aesop presents an ephemeral queer library in three of its stores: Aesop Bleecker Street (New York City), Aesop West 3rd Street (Los Angeles) and Aesop Queen Street West (Toronto). To give the featured authors the prominence they deserve, all shelves will be cleared of Aesop products and stocked entirely with books elevating the voices and stories of LGBTQIA+ individuals from around the world.


Aesop, Bleecker Street
Aesop, Bleecker Street

Each visitor entering the store will be able to take home the book of their choice—whether they are a decade-old Aesop customer or a passer-by who happened to be intrigued by the window display. While this gesture will be limited to one book per visitor while supplies last, that book will be complimentary, with no purchase required: this initiative is intended as a moment of generosity and celebration, rather than a profitable endeavor.

As explained by Adam Kakembo, Aesop’s Chief Marketing Officer: ‘The way Aesop has chosen to celebrate Pride in the Americas is one of our most unique activations yet. We are not simply changing our logo or launching a Pride-themed collection, this multilayer gesture of generosity is aimed at supporting our LGBTQIA+ staff, customers, independent queer-owned books stores and the communities within these three cities. As a company committed to building a diverse, inclusive, and equitable culture, we are mindful of the heinous crimes, discrimination, and oppression of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum.’

To compose the selection, Aesop’s retail and office teams across the US and Canada were asked to recommend their favorite queer authors and titles. As a way of supporting independent queer bookstores in North America, over 3,000 volumes were purchased from Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto—the longest surviving LGBTQIA+ bookstore worldwide—and Women & Children First in Chicago. The latter’s mission is very much in keeping with the spirit of the Aesop Queer Library, as explained by co-owner Sarah Hollenbeck: ‘I strive to create a bookstore where underrepresented folks see their lives reflected in the books we carry and their voices and experiences are respected.’

To complement these purchases, Penguin Random House has made a generous donation of 2,350 books by such authors as Bryan Washington and Ocean Vuong. Overall, the collection features over 150 titles spanning fiction, nonfiction and poetry, with a focus emphasis on BIPOC authors and on the trans community—including Akwaeke Emezi, Brandon Taylor, and Samantha Irby. A list of other worthy independent bookstores located in the US and Canada, each boasting a thoughtful collection of queer writing, can be found on—along with the full list of featured titles, and exclusive playlists by queer artists Chrysanthe Tan and Beverly Glenn-Copeland.


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