This November, Barbara Grier passed away at the age of 78. The lesbian legend started Naiad Press, one of the first-ever publishers of lesbian-themed titles. The books were eventually bought by Bella Books, who have continued Barbara’s legacy and exclusively release books from queer female authors.
The death of a pioneer like Grier reminds us why having our own presses is still vital to our existence. We’re still fighting the good fight, as books like And Tango Makes Three continued to be challenged this year for their gay content, considered to be “inappropriate” for young children when placed in schools and libraries. Also, authors Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith came forward to say they’d been asked to cut major gay characters from their young adult book, which spurred discussion within the publishing industry.
In better news, out poet Kay Ryan was named a MacArthur Fellow, which means she was awarded $500,000 to keep creating her work.
The L Life was published with profiles of many famous lesbian women, as well as a few more obscure ones that are equally important to visibility and living an out life. Erin McHugh‘s interviews with politicians, actresses and authors remind readers that the only thing lesbians have in common with one another is that we all have relationships with other women. Otherwise, we’re all quite different — and that’s a good thing.
The Lambda Literary Association decided to open up their awards to writers who aren’t LGBT, but have included LGBT themes or characters in their work. This was a controversial move, but we’ll see how it goes in its first time around for 2011’s nominees.