The 22nd Annual Lambda Literary Award ceremony was held last week at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in New York City. This year, the ceremony, which recognizes “excellence in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender writing,” honored Larry Kramer and Kate Clinton as pioneers. Comedian Eddie Sarfaty was the Master of Ceremonies and opened with a clever re-imagining of a world where all writers were gay, re-titling Flannery O’Conner’s classic story “Who Cares If It’s Hard To Find A Good Man?” and Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady as a Young Man.
Kate Clinton and Larry Kramer
photo by Donna F.
Some highlights: Larry Kramer’s beautiful acceptance speech, in which he discussed writing about “the politics of our lives” and read from his life-long (“long, long, long”) manuscript, The American People; Comedian Bob Smith introduced Kate Clinton and talked about her honor, intelligence and courage to come out in the pre-Ellen days of the eighties; Clinton’s speech was also notable and characteristically funny (“The marriage of comedy and tragedy,” she said of the Lambda Literary Foundation (LLF) choosing to honor both her and Kramer, “Though I’m not telling which is which”) and though she appreciated the award, she did wonder who she would have to “blow to get an actual Lambda award”; and an impressive list of presenters, including Peter Cameron, Will Schwalbe, Jenny Shimizu and Linda Villarosa, among others.
Katherine V. Forrest, LLF Board President, talked about the importance of the legacy organization and the awards ceremony, calling the times “difficult but revolutionary” for the publishing world and for queer writers and artists. New Executive Director, Tony Valenzuela, also delivered a thoughtful speech discussing the organization’s recent developments, including an updated website, LambdaLiterary.org, which has gone from receiving 3,000 to 25,000 hits a month, and the importance of queer artists who have an “enormous stake in the national narrative.”
Malinda Lo and Heather O’Neill
The after party was held at that apartment of Host Committee Chair and Publisher of Alyson Books, Don Weise, whose message in the program focused on the importance of the organization’s role in LGBT literature: “Because there is no other organization like it. As tonight’s ceremony demonstrates, the Foundation continues to stand at the forefront of our literature — honoring our icons while calling out a new generation of writers.”
2010 Awards Winners:
LGBT Anthology: Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City, edited by Ariel Gore (Lit Star Press)
LGBT Children’s/Young Adult: Sprout, by Dale Peck (Bloomsbury USA)
LGBT Drama: The Collected Plays Of Mart Crowley, by Mart Crowley (Alyson Books)
LGBT Nonfiction: The Greeks and Greek Love, by James Davidson (Random House)
LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror: Palimpsest, by Catherynne M. Valente (Bantam/Spectra Books)
LGBT Studies: The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth Century America, by Margot Canaday (Princeton University Press)
Bisexual Fiction [TIE]: Holy Communion, by Mykola Dementiuk (Synergy Press) and
Love You Two, by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (Random House Australia)
Bisexual Nonfiction: Leaving India: My Family’s Journey From Five Villages to Five Continents, by Minal Hajratwala (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Transgender: Lynnee Breedlove’s One Freak Show, by Lynn Breedlove (Manic D Press)
Lesbian Debut Fiction: The Creamsickle, by Rhiannon Argo (Spinsters Ink)
Gay Debut Fiction: Blue Boy, by Rakesh Satyal (Kensington Books)
Lesbian Erotica: Lesbian Cowboys, edited by Sacchi Green & Rakelle Valencia (Cleis Press)
Gay Erotica: Impossible Princess, by Kevin Killian (City Lights)
Lesbian Fiction: A Field Guide to Deception, by Jill Malone (Bywater Books)
Gay Fiction: Lake Overturn, by Vestal McIntyre (HarperCollins)
Lesbian Memoir/Biography: The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith, by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin’s Press)
Gay Memoir/Biography: Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back, by Reynolds Price (Scribner Books)
Lesbian Mystery: Death of a Dying Man, by J.M. Redmann (Bold Strokes Books)
Gay Mystery: What We Remember, by Michael Thomas Ford (Kensington Books) [Review]
Lesbian Poetry: Zero at the Bone, by Stacie Cassarino (New Issues Poetry & Prose)
Gay Poetry: Sweet Core Orchard, by Benjamin S. Grossberg (University of Tampa Press)
Lesbian Romance: The Sublime and Spirited Voyage of Original Sin, by Colette Moody (Bold Strokes Books)
Gay Romance: Drama Queers!, by Frank Anthony Polito (Kensington Books)
Congratulations to all the winners.