Lambda Literary Awards, also known as the "Lammys", are awarded yearly by the U.S.-based Lambda Literary Foundation to published works which celebrate or explore LGBT themes. Categories include Humor, Romance and Biography. To qualify, a book must have been published in the United States in the year current to the award. The Lambda Literary Foundation states that its mission is "to celebrate LGBT literature and provide resources for writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, and librarians – the whole literary community."The awards were instituted in 1988.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
The Lambda Literary Foundation is a LGBT literary organization. The group was incorporated in 1997, but traces its roots to 1987. The foundation aims to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender literature through programs that encourage development of emerging writers, including the annual Lambda Literary Award, the Writers' Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices, their website LambdaLiterary.org, their editorial staff Lambda Literary Review, their weekly e-newsletter Bookish, their annual anthology, their scholarships, and LGBTQ writers in schools program.
LGBT, or GLBT, is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. In use since the 1990s, the term is an adaptation of the initialism LGB, which was used to replace the term gay in reference to the LGBT community beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s. Activists believed that the term gay community did not accurately represent all those to whom it referred.
The program has grown from 14 awards in early years to 22 awards today. Early categories such as HIV/AIDS literature were dropped as the prominence of the AIDS crisis within the gay community waned,and categories for bisexual and transgender literature were added as the community became more inclusive. In both the bisexual and transgender categories, one or two awards may be presented annually; if the number of submissions in a given year warrants, then separate awards for fiction and non-fiction are presented, while a smaller number of submissions results in a single award.
Human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) is a spectrum of conditions caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Following initial infection, a person may not notice any symptoms or may experience a brief period of influenza-like illness. Typically, this is followed by a prolonged period with no symptoms. As the infection progresses, it interferes more with the immune system, increasing the risk of developing common infections such as tuberculosis, as well as other opportunistic infections, and tumors that rarely affect people who have uncompromised immune systems. These late symptoms of infection are referred to as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). This stage is often also associated with unintended weight loss.
Transgender people have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assigned sex. Some transgender people identify as transsexual if they desire medical assistance to transition from one sex to another. Transgender – often shortened as trans – is also an umbrella term: in addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex, it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine. Other definitions of transgender also include people who belong to a third gender, or else conceptualize transgender people as a third gender. Infrequently, the term transgender is defined very broadly to include cross-dressers, regardless of their gender identity.
In addition to the primary literary awards, the Lambda Literary Foundation also presents a number of special awards. The Pioneer Award is presented as a lifetime achievement award to a distinguished figure in the history of LGBT literature; the Bridge Builder Award is presented to a person, regardless of sexuality, who has been a prominent ally and advocate of the LGBT community; and the Trustee Award is presented to a writer who has made a considerable contribution to a wider awareness and understanding of the lives of LGBT people.
Beginning in 2011, the Lambda Literary Awards also took over the Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists' Prize, formerly presented by the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. The award, endowed by academic and writer James Duggins, is presented annually to two LGBT writers, one male and one female, to honor their bodies of work. In 2013, the foundation instituted the Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award to honor young LGBT writers who have published at least one book; in 2016, the award was renamed to the Judith Markowitz Award, endowed by writer and philanthropist Judith Markowitz, while the Betty Berzon Award was taken over, and continues to be presented, by Publishing Triangle.
The Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists' Prize is an American literary award, presented annually to two writers, one male and one female, from the LGBT community to honour their body of work. First presented by the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in 2007, the award became part of the Lambda Literary Awards program in 2011.
Saints and Sinners is an alternative literary festival specializing in LGBT literature, held in various locations around the world-famous French Quarter neighborhood in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana each March.
Betty Berzon was an American author and psychotherapist known for her work with the gay and lesbian communities.
The Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction is an annual literary award, presented by the Lambda Literary Foundation to a work of fiction on gay male themes. As the award is presented based on themes in the work, not the sexuality or gender of the writer, women and heterosexual men may also be nominated for or win the award.
The Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry is an annual literary award, presented by the Lambda Literary Foundation to a gay-themed book of poetry by a male writer.
The Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction is an annual literary award, presented by the Lambda Literary Foundation to a work of fiction on lesbian themes. As the award is presented based on themes in the work, not the sexuality or gender of the writer, men and heterosexual women may also be nominated for or win the award.
1 In both the bisexual and transgender categories, presentation may vary according to the number of eligible titles submitted in any given year. If the number of titles warrants, then separate awards are presented in either two (Fiction and Nonfiction, with the Fiction category inclusive of poetry titles) or three (Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry) categories, while if a smaller number of titles is deemed eligible, then a merged Literature shortlist is put forward. However, even when the category shortlists have been merged, judges still retain the right to identify a single winner in the unlisted category; for example, at the 25th Lambda Literary Awards in 2013 the judges named both fiction and non-fiction winners in the Bisexual Literature category, and at the 29th Lambda Literary Awards in 2017 the judges picked a title from the Bisexual Fiction shortlist as the winner in Bisexual Poetry despite the lack of an advance poetry shortlist.
The 25th Lambda Literary Awards were held on June 3, 2013, to honor works of LGBT literature published in 2012.
The 29th Lambda Literary Awards were held on June 12, 2017, to honour works of LGBT literature published in 2016. The list of nominees was released on March 14.
Ellen Hart has won five awards in the Lesbian Mystery category, the most by any single author, and is one of only three writers to have won the award more than once (with three-time winner Katherine V. Forrest and two-time winner J. M. Redmann). Similarly, Michael Nava has won five awards in the Gay Mystery category, the most by any single author, and is one of only four writers to have won the award more than once (with three-time winner John Morgan Wilson, two-time winner R. D. Zimmerman, and two-time winner Marshall Thornton). Marshall Thornton is the only author in the gay mystery category to have won twice for two different series.
Ellen Hart is the award-winning mystery author of the Jane Lawless and Sophie Greenaway series. She was born in Maine in August 1949. A professional chef for 14 years, Hart's mysteries include culinary elements similar to those of Diane Mott Davidson.
Katherine V. Forrest is an American writer, known for her novels about lesbian police detective Kate Delafield.
Jean M. Redmann is an American novelist best known for her mystery series featuring New Orleans private investigator Micky Knight.
Alison Bechdel has won four awards in the Humor category, the most by any single author, and is one of five writers to have won the award more than once (with Joe Keenan, Michael Thomas Ford, David Sedaris, and David Rakoff). The Humor category has been discontinued.
Nicola Griffith and Melissa Scott have each won four awards in the Scifi/Fantasy/Horror category, and are two of six writers to have won the SFFH award more than once (with Stephen Pagel, Jim Grimsley, and Lee Thomas).
Sarah Waters has won three awards in the Lesbian Fiction category, for Tipping the Velvet (2000), Fingersmith (2002), and The Night Watch in (2007), and is one of only three writers to have won the Lesbian Fiction award more than once (with two-time winners Dorothy Allison and Achy Obejas).
Mark Doty and Adrienne Rich have each won three awards in the Poetry category, and are two of seven poets to have won the award more than once (with two-time winners Joan Larkin, Michael Klein, Marilyn Hacker, Audre Lorde, and J. D. McClatchy)
Richard Labonté, Radclyffe, and Tristan Taormino have each won two awards in the Erotica category, each winning once before the category was split into Gay and Lesbian subdivisions, and each winning their second after the category was split.
Karin Kallmaker and Michael Thomas Ford have each won two awards in the Romance category, each winning one before the category was split into Gay and Lesbian subdivisions – Kallmaker with Maybe Next Time and Ford with Last Summer, but in 2004 – and each winning their second after the category was split – Ford with Changing Tides in 2008 and Kallmaer with The Kiss That Counted in 2009.
Colm Tóibín is the only writer to have won two awards in the Gay Fiction category for The Master in 2004 and for The Empty Family in 2011.
Paul Monette is the only writer to have won two awards in the Gay Non-Fiction category, for Borrowed Time in 1989 and for Becoming a Man in 1993.
Lillian Faderman is the only writer to have won awards in seven different categories, having received:
Several writers have won awards in more than one category in the same year for the same work (note that according to current guidelines a book may only be entered in one category):
Several writers have won awards in more than one category in the same year for different works:
Several other writers have won awards in more than one category in different years and for different works:
Several authors have won awards in three different categories:
Numerous Lambda Award-winning works have been adapted for film and television:
The Lambda Literary Awards are presented each year to honor works of literature published in the previous year; accordingly, the first awards ceremony may be described in different sources as either the 1989 awards (for the year of presentation) or the 1988 awards (for the year in which the nominated works were published).
|Ceremony||Year of presentation||Year of publication|
|1st Lambda Literary Awards||1989||1988|
|2nd Lambda Literary Awards||1990||1989|
|3rd Lambda Literary Awards||1991||1990|
|4th Lambda Literary Awards||1992||1991|
|5th Lambda Literary Awards||1993||1992|
|6th Lambda Literary Awards||1994||1993|
|7th Lambda Literary Awards||1995||1994|
|8th Lambda Literary Awards||1996||1995|
|9th Lambda Literary Awards||1997||1996|
|10th Lambda Literary Awards||1998||1997|
|11th Lambda Literary Awards||1999||1998|
|12th Lambda Literary Awards||2000||1999|
|13th Lambda Literary Awards||2001||2000|
|14th Lambda Literary Awards||2002||2001|
|15th Lambda Literary Awards||2003||2002|
|16th Lambda Literary Awards||2004||2003|
|17th Lambda Literary Awards||2005||2004|
|18th Lambda Literary Awards||2006||2005|
|19th Lambda Literary Awards||2007||2006|
|20th Lambda Literary Awards||2008||2007|
|21st Lambda Literary Awards||2009||2008|
|22nd Lambda Literary Awards||2010||2009|
|23rd Lambda Literary Awards||2011||2010|
|24th Lambda Literary Awards||2012||2011|
|25th Lambda Literary Awards||2013||2012|
|26th Lambda Literary Awards||2014||2013|
|27th Lambda Literary Awards||2015||2014|
|28th Lambda Literary Awards||2016||2015|
|29th Lambda Literary Awards||2017||2016|
|30th Lambda Literary Awards||2018||2017|
In 1992, despite requests from the bisexual community for a more appropriate and inclusive category, the groundbreaking bisexual anthology Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Outby Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu was forced to compete (and lose) in the category "Lesbian Anthology". Additionally, in 2005, Directed by Desire: Collected Poems, a posthumous collection of the bisexual Jamaican American writer June Jordan's work, had to compete (and win) in the category "Lesbian Poetry".
Led by BiNet USA,and assisted by other bisexual organizations including the American Institute of Bisexuality, BiPOL, and Bialogue, the bisexual community launched a multi-year struggle that eventually culminated in 2006 with the addition of a Bisexual category.
In 2004, the book The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism by the highly controversial researcher J. Michael Bailey was announced as a finalist in the Transgender category of the 2003 Awards.
Transgender people immediately protested the nomination and gathered thousands of petition signatures in opposition within a few days. After the petition, the Foundation's judges examined the book more closely, decided that they considered it transphobic and removed it from their list of finalists.Within a year the executive director who had initially approved of the book's inclusion resigned. Executive director Charles Flowers later stated that "the Bailey incident revealed flaws in our awards nomination process, which I have completely overhauled since becoming the foundation’s executive director in January 2006."
Alyson Books, formerly known as Alyson Publications, was a book publishing house which specialized in LGBT fiction and non-fiction. Former publisher Don Weise described it as "the world's oldest and largest publisher of LGBT literature" and "the home of award-winning books in the areas of memoir, history, humor, commercial fiction, mystery, and erotica, among many others".
Billy Merrell is an American author and poet. He published his first book Talking in the Dark, a poetry memoir, with Scholastic in 2003. He also co-edited The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and Other Identities for Knopf Books for Young Readers with David Levithan. It was released in 2006 and won the 2007 Lammy in the Children's/Young Adult category.
Cleis Press is an independent publisher of books in the areas of sexuality, erotica, feminism, gay and lesbian studies, gender studies, fiction, and human rights. The press was founded in 1980 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It later moved to California to San Francisco and was based out of Berkeley until its purchase by Start Media in 2014. It was founded by Frédérique Delacoste, Felice Newman and Mary Winfrey Trautmann who collectively financed wrote and published the press's first book Fight Back: Feminist Resistance to Male Violence in 1981. In 1987, they published Sex Work: Writings by Women in the Sex Industry by Delacoste with Priscilla Alexander.
Sheela Lambert is an American civil rights activist, and writer. She is the founder of the Bi Writers Association, co-founder of Bi Women of All Colors and is active in a number of bisexual rights groups including BiNet USA. She is openly bisexual and writes about bisexuality and LGBT popular culture/entertainment issues in her national bisexual column for Examiner.com as well as articles for Curve, The Huffington Post, The Advocate, AfterEllen and AfterElton, Bi Magazine, Lambda Literary Foundation and the America Today LGBTQ Encyclopedia and editing for various efforts including Biwriters.org. She frequently presents information on bisexuality issues at universities, colleges, conferences, high schools and in-service trainings. She also continues to advocate against bisexual erasure.
Bella Books is a small press publisher of lesbian literature based in Tallahassee, Florida.
Lesbian literature is a subgenre of literature addressing lesbian themes. It includes poetry, plays, fiction addressing lesbian characters, and non-fiction about lesbian-interest topics.
Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out, published by Riverdale Avenue Books, is an anthology edited by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Ka'ahumanu, and is one of the seminal books in the history of the modern bisexual rights movement. It holds a place that is in many ways comparable to that held by Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique in the feminist movement.
Lori L. Lake is an Oregon writer, teacher, speaker, and author of mystery, drama, romance, and general fiction, most of which is about lesbian protagonists. Her work includes The Gun Series police quadrology, The Public Eye Mystery Series, four standalone drama/romances, two short story collections, the Lambda Literary finalist anthology The Milk of Human Kindness, and the World War II novel Snow Moon Rising, which won the 2007 Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award, a Golden Crown Literary Award, and The Alice B Readers Award. Lake teaches fiction writing, most recently at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis and for the Oregon Writers Colony. She frequently gives talks about the craft of writing, serves as a coach to many up-and-coming writers, and is a founding mother of The Golden Crown Literary Society.
Amber Dawn is a Canadian writer, who won the 2012 Dayne Ogilvie Prize, presented by the Writers' Trust of Canada to an emerging lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender writer.
Richard Labonté is a Canadian writer and editor, best known as the editor or co-editor of numerous anthologies of LGBT literature.
Becky Birtha is an American poet and children's author who lives in the greater Philadelphia area. She is best known for her poetry and short stories depicting African-American and lesbian relationships, often focusing on topics such as interracial relationships, emotional recovery from a breakup, single parenthood and adoption. Her poetry was featured in the acclaimed 1983 anthology of African-American feminist writing Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology, edited by Barbara Smith and published by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press. She has won a Lambda Literary award for her poetry. She has been awarded grants from the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to further her literary works. In recent years she has written three children's historical fiction picture books about the African-American experience.
Casey Plett is a Canadian writer. She has won the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Fiction at the 27th Lambda Literary Awards in 2015 for her debut short story collection A Safe Girl to Love, and an Honour of Distinction from the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers in Canada.
Riverdale Avenue Books, located in Riverdale, Bronx, New York, was founded in 2012 by Lori Perkins.
Caro Soles is a Canadian author of science fiction, mystery and erotica literature, who has published work both in her own name and under the pen name Kyle Stone.
Bisexual literature is a subgenre of LGBT Literature that includes literary works and authors that address the topic of bisexuality or biromanticism. This includes characters, plot lines, and/or themes portraying bisexual behavior in both men and women.