The winners of the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards (the “Lammys”) were announced in a gala ceremony hosted by comedienne Kate Clinton at The Great Hall at Cooper Union. It occurred on the heels of BookExpo America, the book publishing industry’s largest annual gathering of booksellers, publishers, authors, and readers.
The Bisexual Fiction Award went to Susan Choi for My Education and The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television, by Maria San Filippo was honored with the Bisexual Nonfiction Award. The Lambda ceremony brought together over 500 attendees, sponsors, and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature and 26 years of the groundbreaking literary awards. Obie Award-winning performance artist and past Lambda Award winner Justin Vivian Bond graced the ceremony with a special “half-time” performance. The celebration continued at the VIP After-Party hosted by Scholastic at the Scholastic Greenhouse & Terrace with DJ Sean McMahill.
The ceremony opened with a powerful montage of video clips from the “What LGBTQI Book Changed Your Life” campaign, a project conducted in conjunction with the Lammys to recognize LGBT literature of all types, from poetry to erotica, that has influenced millions of readers. As master of ceremonies for the third consecutive year, Clinton treated the audience to her signature brand of topical, political comedy. She kept the audience laughing with lines like “Happy Pride Month, the month formerly known as June,” and “I’m happy about the new pope. He’s our first Christian one.”
Cartoonist Justin Hall, award-winning creator of the series True Travel Tales in presenting the Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Literature to Alison Bechdel said that her body of work from her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For to graphic memoirs Fun Home and Are You My Mother? solidify her unique place in the comic book cannon. Bechdel gave a funny and moving acceptance speech filled with memories from when she won her first Lammy in 1991.
Appropriately, Bechdel presented the first award for the new category of best LGBT Graphic Novel to Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir by Nicole J. Georges.
Kate Bornstein was presented the Pioneer Award by her life partner, Barbara Carrellas who said that when people are asked what Kate Bornstein means to them, “the overwhelming answer is ‘Kate Bornstein saved my life.'” Bornstein’s call to action to stop the history of shaming with regard to sex and gender brought the audience to a standing ovation.
Michael Thomas Ford and Radclyffe were awarded with the Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize and Imogen Binnie and Charles Rice-Gonzalez were presented with the Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award.
Justin Vivian Bond provided the “half-time” entertainment with three songs from ve’s recent show, “The Drift,” all of which were inspired by classic literature.
“Throughout the beautiful ceremony, we were reminded of the meaningfulness of LGBT literature and writers in our lives,” said Tony Valenzuela, Lambda Literary Foundation Executive Director. “Congratulations to all the winners and honorees.”
26th ANNUAL LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD WINNERS
GAY GENERAL FICTION
- Mundo Cruel: Stories, Luis Negron; translated by Suzanne Jill Levine, Seven Stories Press
LESBIAN GENERAL FICTION
- Happiness, Like Water, Chinelo Okparanta, Mariner Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- Descendants of Hagar, Nik Nicholson, AuthorHouse
- My Education, Susan Choi, Penguin Group/Viking
- Wanting in Arabic, Trish Salah, TSAR Publications
- White Girls, Hilton Als, McSweeney’s Publishing
- The End of San Francisco, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, City Lights Publishers
- The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television, Maria San Filippo, Indiana University Press
- Unpeopled Eden, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Four Way Books
- Rise in the Fall, Ana Bozicevic, Birds, LLC
LGBT GRAPHIC NOVEL
- Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir, Nicole J. Georges, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
LGBT CHILDREN’S/YA – TIE
- If You Could Be Mine, Sara Farizan, Algonquin Books
- Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
- A Heaven of Words: Last Journals, by Glenway Wescott, Ed. Jerry Rosco, University of Wisconsin Press
- Body Geographic, Barrie Jean Borich, University of Nebraska Press
- The Prisoner of the Riviera: A Francis Bacon Mystery, Janice Law, MysteriousPress.com/Open Road Media
- High Desert, Katherine V. Forrest, Spinsters Ink
- Into This River I Drown, TJ Klune, Dreamspinner Press
- Clean Slate, Andrea Bramhall, Bold Strokes Books
- The Padisah’s Son and the Fox: an erotic novella, Alex Jeffers, Lethe Press
- Wild Girls, Wild Nights: True Lesbian Sex Stories, Ed. Sacchi Green, Cleis Press
- FICTION Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba, MaThoko’s Books
- NON-FICTION Who’s Yer Daddy?: Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners, Eds. Jim Elledge and David Groff, The University of Wisconsin Press
- Tom at the Farm, Michel Marc Bouchard, Talonbooks
- Death by Silver, Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold, Lethe Press
- Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence, Christina B. Hanhardt, Duke University Press