29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners Announced

Lambda Literary, the nation’s leading organization advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) literature, announced the winners of the 29th Annual Lambda Literary Awards (the “Lammys”) at a ceremony hosted by multi-genre artist Justin Vivian Bond at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. The ceremony brought together attendees, sponsors, and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature and twenty-nine years of the groundbreaking literary awards.

“Authors putting words in order artfully and with thought is a revolutionary thing in the climate we are living in,” said Bond as she opened the ceremony. “I want to congratulate everyone who’s nominated tonight. We’re here to celebrate you for the gift you have given us with your artistry.”

Nicole Dennis-Benn
Photo: Lambda Literary

One of the Middle East’s most celebrated voices, Rabih Alameddine won in the Gay Fiction category for his novel The Angel of History (Grove Press). Set over the course of a night, Alameddine’s book follows a Yemeni-born poet as he revisits the events of his life, from his upbringing to his life as a gay Arab man in San Francisco at the height of the AIDS epidemic. In Lesbian Fiction, Nicole Dennis-Benn won for her debut Here Comes the Sun (Liveright), a novel with a cast of unforgettable Jamaican women who battle for independence while a maelstrom of change threatens their village.

Jacqueline Woodson and Jeanette Winterson were also honored for their lifetime achievements. Tony Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon introduced Woodson, a “writer who is part of the institution but stands outside it and critiques,” said Nixon. “She is the writer, the friend, the citizen these times demand.” Accepting the Visionary Award, Woodson noted, “The work we do as a queer community for the generations beyond us make me proud to be standing here and accept this award.”

Photo: Lambda Literary

Later, Baileys Women’s Prize-winning author A.M. Homes introduced Jeanette Winterson, who won the Trustee Award. “A lifetime achievement award is more than overdue for Jeanette,” said Homes. During her acceptance speech, Winterson praised the powers of writers and imagination. “Everything that happens starts with an idea,” said Winterson. “We should protect and expand the imagination: to imagine the world as different than it is.”

Other winners of the night included David France for How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS (Knopf), a companion book to his award-winning documentary film, in LGBT Nonfiction. Activist Cleve Jones’s When We Rise: My Life in the Movement (Hachette Books) won in Gay Memoir/Biography. “I wrote this book because the LGBT movement saved my life,” said Cleve as he accepted his award, “And I’m ready to keep fighting.”
“In a year of great political turmoil, the Lammys were a reminder that our LGBTQ writing community remains at the forefront of resistance to attacks on our communities,” said Tony Valenzuela, Lambda Literary Executive Director. “Congratulations to all the winners and honorees. You inspire us.”
As always, the Lammys brought out the stars from the worlds of film, television, theatre, journalism, and literature. Presenters this year included Yale Series of Younger Poets judge Carl Phillips, Tony Award-winning producer Vivek Toward, comedian Tig Notaro, Emmy Award-winning actress Cynthia Nixon, and New York Times columnists Frank Bruni and Masha Gessen.
29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners
Lesbian Fiction
  • Here Comes the Sun, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Liveright Publishing Corporation
Gay Fiction
  • The Angel of History, Rabih Alameddine, Atlantic Monthly Press
Bisexual Fiction  
  • Marrow Island, Alexis M. Smith, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Bisexual Nonfiction
  • Black Dove: Mama, Mi’jo, and Me, Ana Castillo, The Feminist Press
Bisexual Poetry
  • Mouth to Mouth, Abigail Child, EOAGH
Transgender Fiction
  • Small Beauty, jia qing wilson-yang, Metonymy Press
LGBT Nonfiction
  • How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS, David France, Knopf
Transgender Nonfiction
  • Life Beyond My Body: A Transgender Journey to Manhood in China, Lei Ming, Transgress Press
Lesbian Poetry (TIE)
  • play dead, francine j. harris, Alice James Books
  • The Complete Works of Pat Parker, Julie R. Enszer, Sinister Wisdom/A Midsummer Night’s Press
Gay Poetry
  • Thief in the Interior, Phillip B. Williams, Alice James Books
Transgender Poetry
  • Reacquainted with Life,KOKUMO, Topside Press
Lesbian Mystery
  • Pathogen, Jessica L. Webb, Bold Strokes Books
Gay Mystery
  • Speakers of the Dead: A Walt Whitman Mystery, J. Aaron Sanders, Plume
Lesbian Memoir/Biography
  • The Wind is Spirit: The Life, Love and Legacy of Audre Lorde, Dr. Gloria Joseph, Villarosa Media
Gay Memoir/Biography
  • When We Rise, Cleve Jones, Hachette Books
Lesbian Romance
  • The Scorpion’s Empress, Yoshiyuki Ly, Solstice Publishing
Gay Romance
  • Into the Blue, Pene Henson, Interlude Press
LGBT Erotica
  • Soul to Keep, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Bold Strokes Books
LGBT Anthology
  • The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care, Zena Sharman, Arsenal Pulp Press
LGBT Children’s/Young Adult
  • Girl Mans Up, M.E. Girard, Harper Teen
LGBT Drama
  • Barbecue/Bootycandy, Robert O’Hara, Theatre Communications Group
LGBT Graphic Novels
  • Wuvable Oaf: Blood & Metal, Ed Luce, Wuvable Oaf: Blood & Metal, Fantagraphics Books
LGBT SF/F/Horror
  • The Devourers, Indra Das, Del Rey
LGBT Studies
  • Sex Museums: The Politics and Performance of Display, Jennifer Tyburczy, University of Chicago Press