Books

Winner of the 2021 Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing

Evie Vanhoutte is a teachers’ pet, a basketball star and the most beautiful girl in the year level. Evie Vanhoutte is tall, has long dark hair, a great smile, and for the past four years, Evie Vanhoutte has been the object of my most ardent, heartfelt, and passionate affection. Unrequited affection, of course.

Patch is out of place at Mountford College: she wears the wrong clothes, she’s not sporty or popular, she lives in a small flat above her dad’s record shop a world away from the leafy suburb where she goes to school. And she has a secret long-term crush on basketball star Evie Vanhoutte. Evie barely knows Patch exists until an accident involving a bottle of ink and Patch’s school uniform sparks a friendship that’s equal parts exhilarating and terrifying, and very, very confusing.

As if that weren’t enough, Patch is also trying to deal with a jealous school bully, forgetting to be supportive of her transitioning best friend, Edwin, and worrying about how a potential new stepmother could throw everything off course.

Dancing Barefoot is a feel-good romance about growing up queer, figuring out your place in the world, staying true to yourself and your friends, finding love, and learning to embrace the obstacles life throws in your path.

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‘No amount of YouTube videos and queer think pieces prepared me for this moment.’

‘The mantle of “queer migrant” compelled me to keep going – to go further.’

‘I never “came out” to my parents. I felt I owed them no explanation.’

‘All I heard from the pulpit were grim hints.’

‘I became acutely aware of the parts of myself that were unpalatable to queers who grew up in the city.’

‘My queerness was born in a hot dry land that was never ceded.’

‘Even now, I sometimes think that I don’t know my own desire.’

Compiled by celebrated author and journalist Benjamin Law, Growing Up Queer in Australia assembles voices from across the spectrum of LGBTQIA+ identity. Spanning diverse places, eras, ethnicities and experiences, these are the stories of growing up queer in Australia.

‘For better or worse, sooner or later, life conspires to reveal you to yourself, and this is growing up.’

Part of the bestselling Growing Up series, with contributions from David Marr, Fiona Wright, Nayuka Gorrie, Steve Dow, Holly Throsby, Sally Rugg, Tony Ayres, Nic Holas, Rebecca Shaw and many more.

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