Lambda Literary Award
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 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.
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.
- Bisexual Literature or Bisexual Fiction, Bisexual Non-Fiction, Bisexual Poetry1
- Gay Erotica
- Gay Fiction
- Gay Memoir or Biography
- Gay Mystery
- Gay Poetry
- Gay Romance
- Lesbian Erotica
- Lesbian Fiction
- Lesbian Memoir or Biography
- Lesbian Mystery
- Lesbian Poetry
- Lesbian Romance
- LGBT Anthology
- LGBT Children's or Young Adult
- LGBT Debut Fiction
- LGBT Drama
- LGBT Graphic Novel
- LGBT Non-Fiction
- LGBT Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror
- LGBT Studies
- Transgender Literature or Transgender Fiction, Transgender Non-Fiction, Transgender Poetry1
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.
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 three writers to have won the award more than once (with three-time winner John Morgan Wilson and two-time winner R. D. Zimmerman).
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.
Lillian Faderman is the only writer to have won awards in seven different categories, having received:
- The Editor's Choice Award for Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers in 1992
- The Fiction Anthology Award for Chloe Plus Olivia in 1995
- The Lesbian Studies Award for To Believe in Women in 2000
- The Autobiography/Memoir Award for Naked in the Promised Land in 2004
- The LGBT Arts & Culture award for Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics and Lipstick Lesbians in 2007
- The LGBT Non-Fiction award for Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics and Lipstick Lesbians in 2007
- The Pioneer Award in 2013.
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):
- Paul Monette received both Gay Non-Fiction and AIDS Literature awards for Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir in 1989.
- Michael Nava received both Gay Mystery/Science Fiction and Gay Small Press awards for Golden Boy in 1989.
- Dorothy Allison received both Lesbian Small Press and Lesbian Fiction awards for Trash: Short Stories in 1989.
- Martin B. Duberman received both Gay Anthology and Lesbian Anthology awards for Hidden from History in 1990.
- Jewelle Gomez received both Lesbian Scifi/Fantasy/Horror and Lesbian Fiction awards for The Gilda Stories in 1992.
- Loren Cameron received both Small Press and Transgender awards for Body Alchemy: Transsexual Portraits in 1997.
- Lisa C. Moore received both Small Press and Lesbian Studies awards for Does Your Mama Know? in 1998.
- James Saslow received both Gay Studies and Visual Arts awards for Pictures and Passions in 2000.
- Noelle Howey and Ellen Samuels received both Anthologies/Non-Fiction and Children's/Young Adult awards for Out of the Ordinary in 2001.
- Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons received both LGBT Arts & Culture and LGBT Non-Fiction awards for Gay L.A.: A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics and Lipstick Lesbians in 2007.
- Robert Westfield received both Gay Debut Fiction and Gay Fiction awards for Suspension in 2007.
Several writers have won awards in more than one category in the same year for different works:
- Jacqueline Woodson received the awards for Children/Young Adult (with From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun) and Lesbian Fiction (with Autobiography of a Family Photo) in 1996.
- Radclyffe received the awards for Erotica (with Stolen Moments) and Romance (with Distant Shores, Silent Thunder) in 2006.
- Nicola Griffith received the awards for Lesbian Mystery (with The Blue Place) and Scifi/Fantasy/Horror (with Bending the Landscape: Science Fiction) in 1999.
- Karin Kallmaker received the awards for Erotica (with In Deep Water 2: Cruising the Strip, which she co-authored with Radclyffe) and Lesbian Romance (with The Kiss That Counted) in 2009.
- Benjamin Alire Sáenz received the awards for Gay Fiction (with Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club) and LGBT Children's/Young Adult (with Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe) in 2013.
Several other writers have won awards in more than one category in different years and for different works:
- Alison Bechdel won the Lesbian Biography/Autobiography award for The Indelible Alison Bechdel in 1999, the Lesbian Memoir/Biography award for Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic in 2007, and the Trustee Award in 2014 in addition to her four Humor awards.
- Joan Nestle won the Lesbian Studies award for A Fragile Union in 1999 in addition to her four Anthology awards.
- Nicola Griffith won the Lesbian Memoir/Biography award for And Now We Are Going to Have a Party in 2008 and the Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists' Prize in 2014 in addition to her four Scifi/Fantasy/Horror awards.
- Tristan Taormino won the Transgender Fiction award for Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica in 2012.
- Alan Hollinghurst won the Gay Debut Fiction award for The Swimming Pool Library in 1989 and the Gay Fiction award for The Folding Star in 1995.
- Joseph Hansen won the Gay Mystery award for A Country of Old Men in 1991 and the Gay Fiction award for Living Upstairs in 1993.
- Jeanette Winterson won the Lesbian Fiction award for Written on the Body in 1994 and the Lesbian Memoir/Biography award for Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? in 2013.
- Judy Grahn won the Lesbian Non-Fiction award for Really Reading Gertrude Stein in 1990 and the Poetry award for love belongs to those who do the feeling in 2009.
- Rafael Campo won the Gay Poetry award for What the Body Told in 1997 and the Gay Biography/Autobiography award for The Poetry of Healing in 1998.
- Devon Carbado and Donald Weise won the Fiction Anthology award for Black Like Us in 2003 and the LGBT Studies award for Time on Two Crosses in 2004. Weise also won the Fiction Anthology award again in 2005.
- Alexis De Veaux won the Biography award for Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde in 2005 and the Lesbian Fiction award for Yabo in 2015.
- Vestal McIntyre won the Gay Debut Fiction award for You Are Not Alone in 2006 and the Gay Fiction award for Lake Overturn in 2010.
- Mykola Dementiuk won the Bisexual Fiction award for Holy Communion in 2010 and the Gay Erotica award for The Facialist in 2013.
- Dwight McBride won the Gay Fiction Anthology award for Black Like Us in 2003 and the LGBT Studies award for Delectable Negro in 2015
- Jeff Mann won the Gay Erotica award in 2007 for A History of Barbed Wire and the Gay Romance award in 2015 for Salvation
Several authors have won awards in three different categories:
- Katherine V. Forrest won the Scifi/Fantasy/Horror award for Daughters of an Emerald Dusk in 2005 and the Pioneer Award in 2013 in addition to her five Lesbian Mystery awards.
- Dorothy Allison received both the Lesbian Small Press and Lesbian Fiction awards for Trash: Short Stories in 1989, and the Lesbian Studies award for Skin in 1995, as well as a second Lesbian Fiction award in 1998 for Cavedweller.
- Edmund White received the Gay Fiction award for The Beautiful Room Is Empty in 1989, the Gay Biography/Autobiography award for Genet in 1993, and the Fiction Anthology award for Fresh Men: New Voices in Gay Fiction in 2005.
- Michael Thomas Ford received the Humor award twice (with Alec Baldwin Doesn't Love Me and Other Trials of My Queer Life in 1999 and That's Mr. Faggot to You in 2000), the Romance award twice (with Last Summer in 2004 and Changing Tides in 2008), the Gay Mystery award (with What We Remember in 2010), and the Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists' Prize in 2014.
- Eileen Myles received the Small Press award for The New Fuck You in 1996, the Lesbian Poetry award for School of Fish in 1998 and the Lesbian Fiction award for Inferno (A Poet's Novel) in 2010.
- Michael Bronski received the Non-Fiction Anthology award for Taking Liberties in 1997, the Fiction Anthology award for Pulp Friction in 2004, and the LGBT Non-Fiction award for A Queer History of the United States in 2012.
Numerous Lambda Award-winning works have been adapted for film and television:
- Allan Bérubé's 1990 book Coming Out Under Fire, which won the 1991 Gay Non-Fiction Award, was adapted into a 1994 documentary film.
- Tony Kushner's 1993 play Angels in America, which won both the 1994 and 1995 Drama Award, was adapted into a 2003 HBO miniseries, starring Al Pacino and Meryl Streep and directed by Mike Nichols.
- Abraham Verghese's 1994 book My Own Country, which won the 1995 Gay Biography Award, was adapted into a 1998 television movie.
- John Berendt's 1994 novel Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which won the 1995 Gay Mystery Award, was adapted into a 1997 film, starring Kevin Spacey and John Cusack and directed by Clint Eastwood.
- Erica Fischer's 1995 book Aimée & Jaguar, which won the 1996 Lesbian Biography Award, was adapted into a 1999 film, starring Maria Schrader and Juliane Köhler and directed by Max Färberböck.
- Dorothy Allison's 1998 novel Cavedweller, which won the 1999 Lesbian Fiction Award, was adapted into a 2004 film, starring Kyra Sedgwick and Aidan Quinn and directed by Lisa Cholodenko.
- Sarah Waters's 1998 novel Tipping the Velvet, which won the 2000 Lesbian Fiction Award, was adapted into a three-part 2002 BBC miniseries, starring Rachael Stirling and Keeley Hawes and directed by Geoffrey Sax.
- John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's 1998 play Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which won the 2001 Drama Award, was adapted into a 2001 film, starring Mitchell and Trask and directed by Mitchell.
- Michelle Tea's 2000 novel Valencia, which won the 2001, was adapted into a 2011 arthouse film.
- David Ebershoff's 2000 book The Danish Girl, which won the 2001 Transgender Award, was adapted into a 2015 film, starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander and directed by Tom Hooper; Vikander subsequently won several awards for her role, including the Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the 88th Academy Awards, the Best Actress Award at the 21st Empire Awards, the Best Supporting Actress Award at the 20th Satellite Awards, and the Supporting Actress Award at the 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards.
- Sarah Waters's 2002 novel Fingersmith, which won the 2003 Lesbian Fiction Award, was adapted into a two-part 2005 miniseries, starring Sally Hawkins and Imelda Staunton and directed by Aisling Walsh.
- Alison Bechdel's 2006 memoir Fun Home, which won the 2007 Lesbian Memoir Award, was adapted into a 2013 musical play.
- André Aciman's Call Me by Your Name, which won the 2008 Gay Fiction Award, was adapted in a 2017 film starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer, receiving critical acclaim and over award 200 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Song at the 90th Academy Awards.
- AIDS Literature (1–3)
- Anthologies – Fiction
- Anthologies – Non-Fiction
- Arts and Culture
- Belles Lettres
- Editor's Choice
- Gay Anthology
- Gay Debut Fiction
- Gay Mystery/Science Fiction (1)
- Gay Non-Fiction
- Gay Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror
- Gay Small Press
- Gay Studies
- Lesbian Anthology
- Lesbian Debut Fiction
- Lesbian Mystery/Science Fiction (1)
- Lesbian Non-Fiction
- Lesbian Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror
- Lesbian Small Press
- Lesbian Studies
- Photography/Visual Arts
- Publisher Service
- Small Press
Awards by year
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).
Bisexual Community/Bi Any Other Name
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 Out by 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.
Transgender Community/The Man Who Would Be Queen
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."
- "News and Announcements". Lambda Literary Foundation. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- Dewey, Charlsie (May 28, 2013). "Lambda Literary Foundation marks 25 years of LGBT writers". Windy City Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
- "Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out Review". International Gay & Lesbian Review. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- "1991 Lambda Literary Awards Recipients". Lambda Literary Foundation. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- "Directed by Desire: Collected Poems". Copper Canyon Press. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- "2005 Lambda Literary Awards Recipients". Lambda Literary Foundation. Archived from the original on 2013-12-11. Retrieved 2011-10-16.
- Curry, Wendy (2007). "What makes a book bisexual?". Curried Spam. BiNet USA. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- Letellier, Patrick (16 March 2004). "Group rescinds honor for disputed book". PlanetOut. Archived from the original on 5 February 2008. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- Schwartz, Nomi (16 June 2005). "Lambda Literary Foundation Announces Major Changes". American Booksellers Association. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
- Flowers, Charles (September 20, 2007). Letter to the New York Times, Sept 20, 2007. Archived 2008-05-17 at the Wayback Machine.