2014 Lambda Literary Award Winners Announced, Include Alison Bechdel, Imogen Binnie And More

The winners of the 26th annual Lambda Literary Awards, including Alison Bechdel, Susan Choi, Nicole J. Georges, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, Katherine V. Forrest, Imogen Binnie and others, were announced last night at the Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York.

lambda

This year is the first that comics have had a category to themselves, though they’ve won in other categories previously. Calling Dr. Laura, a memoir by Nicole J. Georges, won, and finalists included Artifice by Alex Woolfson and Winona Nelson, Duck! Second Chances by Tana Ford and The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker and Steve Dutro.

The Lambda Literary Awards started in 1988 to recognize the best queer literature annually as judged on literary merit and content relevant to queer lives, and are run by the Lambda Literary Foundation. As I wrote last year:

“In the past, the awards have been criticized for transphobia, biphobia, representing only a fraction of queer creative output, and not representing queer creative output at all.

2011 was the first year there were both fiction and non-fiction categories for trans works, and 2010 was the first year there were both categories for bisexual works. As recently as 2004, a transphobic book made the list of finalists in the transgender category until protests got it removed.”

There remains ongoing debate around the awards. For instance, authors of any sexual orientation can win any prize that doesn’t specify otherwise (not those that celebrate a queer author’s career, for instance), which some have criticized. The career categories recognize only binary genders.

The Lambdas also face the same criticism that all literary awards do — how do you determine whether or not a book is “literary” or has value? What makes a work fall in one category rather than another? If everything is subjective what is even the point? (The Millions suggests “promotion, encouragement, and pleasure.”) And some unique ones — are there better ways to celebrate queer literary culture?

Whatever you think about the answers to these questions, the Lambda Literary Awards play a vital role in queer literature: plumping up reading lists everywhere.

A partial list of the winners of the 2014 Lambda Literary Awards is as follows:

Transgender Fiction: Wanting in Arabic by Trish Salah

Transgender Non-fiction: The End of San Francisco by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Bisexual Fiction: My Education: A Novel by Susan Choi

Bisexual Non-fiction: The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television by Maria San Filippo

Lesbian General Fiction: Happiness, Like Water by Chinelo Okparanta

Lesbian Memoir: Body Geographic by Barrie Jean Borich

Lesbian Mystery: High Desert by Katherine V. Forrest

Lesbian Romance: Clean Slate by Andrea Bramhall

Lesbian Erotica: Wild Girls, Wild Nights: True Lesbian Sex Stories edited by Sacchi Green

Lesbian Poetry: Rise in the Fall by Ana Bozicevic

LGBT Debut Fiction: Descendants of Hagar by Nik Nicholson

LGBT Non-fiction: White Girls by Hilton Als

LGBT Graphic Novel: Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir by Nicole J. Georges

LGBT Anthology, fiction: Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction edited by Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba

LGBT Studies: Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence by Christina B. Hanhardt

Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award: Imogen Binnie and Charles Rice-Gonzalez

Dr. James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize: Michael Thomas Ford and Radclyffe

The Pioneer Award: Kate Bornstein

The Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Literature: Alison Bechdel

Profile photo of Carolyn

Carolyn is the NSFW Editor for Autostraddle.com. She is also a freelance copy editor and writer, and her work has appeared in Bitch, The Toast, Xtra!, Jezebel, and other places. Find her on twitter.

Carolyn has written 417 articles for us.

6 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

    Please log in to vote

    Someone who’s read Happiness Like Water please tell me how many of the stories have queer content bc I wanted to buy / read it and descriptions suggest there’s actually only one and it’s about a professor / student relationship, which I don’t really want to read about. Same kind of relationship seems to be going on between the main characters in My Education, can someone confirm it’s not gross / abusive / triggering ?

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.