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Let’s Celebrate Gay Books! Congrats to the 2024 Lambda Literary Award Finalists!

It’s almost time for one of the biggest nights in LGBTQ literature/publishing! The 36th annual Lambda Literary Awards will take place on June 11 in New York City. Today, the shortlist was announced. There are five finalists for all 26 categories of the awards, and so many of the titles have been covered in some way by Autostraddle, your favorite (or at least, it should be!) destination for LGBTQ book reviews, author interviews, and more!

As a former Lambda Literary fellow and writer in residence, I’ve received a ton of support and resources from the organization and had the pleasure of attending the awards ceremony last year. If you want to see the full list of finalists, head to Lambda’s official website. If you want to read more about the finalists Autostraddle has covered over the past year, I’ve rounded up the relevant titles below, with commentary from Autostraddle writers. Congratulations to all of the authors, editors, and creative queer minds behind these brilliant books!

Lesbian Fiction

Big Swiss by Jen Beagin

“This very much feels like a sex novel but without being obnoxious about it. It’s erotic in bursts and embeds into its fabric weighty contemplations on sex and relationships, with nuance and mess.” – Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, “Big Swiss” Review: On the Queer Age Gap Novel Set in a House Full of Bees

Biography of X by Catherine Lacey

“While finessing the rest of the placements on this list was laborious, and many positions changed over time, the one thing I knew to be true from the onset of compiling this list was that Biography of X would be number one.” – Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, The Top 12 Queer Novels of 2023

Organ Meats by K-Ming Chang

“Queer desire and queer care become magical and monstrous on the page.” – Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Queer Desire Is Feral in K-Ming Chang’s Bloody, Spitty “Organ Meats”

Our Hideous Progeny by C.E. McGill

“Our Hideous Progeny is a worthy successor to [Mary] Shelley’s ground-breaking science fiction masterpiece.” – Casey Stepaniuk, 65 of the Best Queer Books of 2023

Pomegranate by Helen Elaine Lee

“At the risk of sounding corny, the novel is indeed like a pomegranate itself: acidic and sweet in equal measure. Crack it open and marvel at all its interconnected seeds.” – Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, The Top 12 Queer Novels of 2023

Gay Fiction

Blackouts by Justin Torres

“This is a novel I’ll return to often, not in search of concrete answers but rather to sit with the questions it asks.” – Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, The Top 12 Queer Novels of 2023

Family Meal by Bryan Washington

“Gay ghosts, good food, queer sex — the novel checks so many boxes for me. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to devour it in one sitting or savor it slowly. I opted for the latter and didn’t regret it.” – Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, The Top 12 Queer Novels of 2023

Bisexual Fiction

All-Night Pharmacy by Ruth Madievsky

“Oh how I love art about fucked-up sister dynamics, and All-Night Pharmacy is an instant classic of the canon.” – Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, The Top 12 Queer Novels of 2023

Endpapers by Jennifer Savran Kelly

“Set against the authoritarian backdrops of the McCarthy era and George W. Bush’s post 9/11 America, Endpapers asks: What happens when we stop trying to force ourselves to be something we’re not? And in this world, is there a way to be our authentic selves, even when those people don’t fit neatly into one box or another?” – Darcy, “Endpapers” Is a Glimpse Into One Artist’s Fight To Be Themselves

Transgender Fiction

Girlfriends by Emily Zhou

“Reading Girlfriends can feel like people-watching at a particularly eclectic party while your insightful, biting, and painfully self-conscious friend whispers judgment and gossip in your ear.” – Nic Anstett, Short Fiction Collection “Girlfriends” Presents Expansive, Nonlinear View of Transition and Dysphoria

The Rage Letters by Valérie Bah; translator Kama La Mackerel

“Troubling yet full of possibility, the stories investigate the strange contradictions in the characters’ lives, such as when two new lovers have fantastic sex…in the literal shadow of wax sculptures depicting their exes.” – Casey Stepaniuk, 65 of the Best Queer Books of 2023

LGBTQ+ Middle Grade

Ellie Engle Saves Herself by Leah Johnson

Ellie Engle Saves Herself isn’t solely for children. They are, of course, the target audience, but if you’ve ever found yourself on a journey of self understanding, you will see yourself in Ellie.” – Sa’iyda Shabazz, Leah Johnson’s Middle Grade Debut Will Take You Right Back to Seventh Grade

Transgender Nonfiction

Miss Major Speaks: Conversations with a Black Trans Revolutionary by Miss Major and Toshio Meronek

“Part memoir and part trans manifesto, Miss Major Speaks reads like being privy to an intimate conversation with a living icon of Black, queer, trans, and sex worker liberation.” – Casey Stepaniuk, 65 of the Best Queer Books of 2023

On Community by Casey Plett

“It’s an endlessly engaging and moving read that will make you, perhaps surprisingly, optimistic about the idea of community after all.” – Casey Stepaniuk, 65 of the Best Queer Books of 2023

LGBTQ+ Speculative Fiction

I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself by Marisa Crane

“Is it brazen to declare one of my Books of the Year in January? Yeah, it is brazen, but so am I. This one’s a hall-of-famer.” – Yashwina Canter, Dystopian Commentary Bares Its Teeth and Heart in “I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself”

Lesbian Memoir/Biography

Hijab Butch Blues by Lamya H

“The memoir is masterfully constructed and mapped out, split between three parts with each one spanning time and space instead of going in chronological order from the beginning of their life to where they are now.” – Stef Rubino, Lamya H’s Debut Memoir Is a Testament to the Powers of Faith and Hope

Lesbian Love Story: A Memoir in Archives by Amelia Possanza

“Through the story of seven lesbians from different decades of the twentieth century and one ancient lesbian romance, Possanza documents the friendships, partnerships, and love lives of women who have seemingly been forgotten (or purposely obscured) in our historical narratives while also giving us glimpses into the story of her life as queer woman from when she first recognized her attraction to women to her life right now.” – Stef Rubino, “Lesbian Love Story” Has Something To Teach Us About Ourselves

To Name the Bigger Lie by Sarah Viren

“When we live in a society where truth matters so little, what are we supposed to do with it once we have it? How do we rehabilitate how valuable truth really is when so many others seem hellbent on unceasingly devaluing it? Does knowing the truth even matter?” – Stef Rubino, Sarah Viren’s Memoir Is A Compelling Exploration of the Nature of Truth

(Should this category be renamed the Reviewed By Stef Rubino category?)

LGBTQ+ Comics

Roaming by Jillian Tamaki, Mariko Tamaki

“The epic team of cousins Tamaki and Tamaki have done it again with this lushly drawn — literally and figuratively — coming of gayge graphic novel about the delicate period between adolescence and adulthood.” – Casey Stepaniuk, 65 of the Best Queer Books of 2023

A Guest in The House by Emily Caroll

“With art equal parts extremely creepy and extremely gorgeous, Emily Carroll’s latest disarming horror tale is set in an idyllic lakeside town.” – Casey Stepaniuk, 65 of the Best Queer Books of 2023

Lesbian Romance

Love at 350° by Lisa Peers

“If you’re looking for a cozy read, Love At 350° is absolutely it.” – Sa’iyda Shabazz, “Love at 350º” Is a Sapphic Romance for Us Gays Who Spend Saturdays Baking Pies

LGBTQ+ Romance and Erotica

Fly with Me by Andie Burke

“Yes, there’s grief. But Fly With Me is one of the swooniest, funniest, sexiest books I’ve ever read.” – Heather Hogan, Andie Burke’s “Fly With Me” Takes Sapphic Fake Dating to New Heights

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 870 articles for us.

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