Announcement of the 2021 Lambda Literary Prize winners


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Last night, the winners of the 33rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards (affectionately known as “the Lammys”) were announced via a virtual ceremony. Lambda Literary began its mission when L. Page (Deacon) Maccubbin, owner of Lambda Rising Bookstore in Washington, DC, published the first Lambda Book Report. The awards began in 1989 to recognize the crucial role LGBTQ writers play in shaping the world and celebrating LGBTQ books.

The Lambda Literary Awards 2021 recognized books in 24 categories published between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020. Finalists were selected by a panel of over 60 literary professionals from over 1,000 book submissions. The awards are usually held in person in New York City, but their virtual format allowed them this year to open the ceremony to readers and literary enthusiasts from around the world. The event was organized by Rakesh Satyal, author of Blue boy, and the awards announced by James Sie. The awards were presented by a spectacular array of authors, including Carmen Maria Machado (In the dream house), RO Kwon (The arsonists), Cyrée Jarelle Johnson (SLINGSHOT), Katherine V. Forrest (Curious wine) and Torrey Peters (Detransition, Baby), among others.

The ceremony was rich and full of pride, a quick virtual experience to kick off Pride Month. It included a performance by Meshell Ndegeocello, with Chris Bruce. The main prize winners included Samantha Irby’s Wow, no thanks; Kacen Callender’s The king and the dragonflies; Jenn shapland My autobiography of Carson McCullers; and Love After The End: An Anthology Of Two-Spirit, Indigenous Speculative Fictions edited by Joshua Whitehead; among others.

Among the categories were several special prizes. The Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction was presented for the first time. It honors “black LGBTQ writers whose fiction explores themes of black LGBTQ life, culture and / or history” and includes a $ 3,000 cash prize. It pays homage to Kenan, author of Let the dead bury their dead, also a former retired Lambda Literary Writers Professor for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. The inaugural prize was awarded to Ana-Maurine Lara, author of Streetwalking: LGBTQ Lives and Protests in the Dominican Republic.

The Jim Duggins, PhD Award for Best Mid-Career Novelist went to Sarah Gerard, author of True love and Binary star, and Brontez Purnell, author of 100 boyfriends and Cruise logs. The Judith A. Markowitz Prize for Emerging LGBTQ Writers went to Taylor Johnson (Heritage) and T Kira Madden (Long live the tribe of daughters without a father).

Finally, the Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian / Queer Non-Fiction, honoring identified lesbian / queer and trans / gender non-fiction writers engaged in “non-fiction work that captures the depth and complexity of lesbian / queer life, culture and / or history. “The winner was Nancy Agabian, author of Me as Her Again: True Stories of an Armenian Girl.

Prepare Your Reading Lists: You’ll want to add a ton of these books to your library stash and reading lists. Check out the full list of the 2021 Lambda Literary Awards winners:

Learn more about Literary Lambda here, and brush up on last year’s winners here.


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