Though the Lambda Literary Foundation had to cancel its annual and in-person Lambda Literary Awards ceremony given the coronavirus, the organization announced winners Monday. Twenty-five LGBTQ books earned awards across categories like fiction and nonfiction, comics, romance and anthology.
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“Because of the pandemic, the list is even more vital because we’re feeling even more separated and isolated,” William Johnson, the deputy director of Lambda Literary, said. “I think the need to have some sort of communal celebration around queer art is only heightened as we’re operating under these extraordinary circumstances.”
Lambda Literary is the premier organization promoting emerging queer writers. As in previous years, the 2020 “Lammy Awards” recipients celebrate the “dynamic diversity” of the LGBTQ community, with categories ranging from transgender poetry to LGBTQ drama. More than 60 literary pros perused more than 1,000 submissions to determine the year’s best books — which came from more than 300 publishers. The list of finalists clocks in at 164, out of which Lambda selected the best 25.
Our list constantly evolves as the community becomes more expansive in terms of what queerness can contain and what queerness can hold
William Johnson, Deputy Director, Lambda Literary
“Our list constantly evolves as the community becomes more expansive in terms of what queerness can contain and what queerness can hold,” Johnson said. “We are brilliant, we are wonderful, we are talented. I want everyone to understand that that’s the actual power of queer creativity.
While in-person meetings, like the Lammy Award ceremony, have been curtailed, Johnson believes there is still ample opportunity for readers to find connection through rallying around books. If you’re looking for your next LGBTQ read, why not start with those that Lambda Literary has rated among this year’s best?
2020 Lammy Awards winners
Below are the Lammy Awards category winners. Click the category to see the rest of its finalists.
- Lesbian fiction: "Patsy" by Nicole Dennis-Benn
- Gay fiction: "Lot" by Bryan Washington
- Bisexual fiction: “Exquisite Mariposa” by Fiona Alison Duncan
- Transgender fiction: “Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian)” by Hazel Jane Plante
- Bisexual Nonfiction: “Socialist Realism” by Trisha Low
- Transgender Nonfiction: “We Both Laughed in Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of Lou Sullivan” by Ellis Martin and Zach Ozma
- LGBTQ Nonfiction: “In the Dream House” by Carmen Maria Machado
- Lesbian Poetry: “& more black” by t’ai freedom ford
- Gay Poetry: “SLINGSHOT” by Cyrée Jarelle Johnson
- Bisexual Poetry: “Pet Sounds” by Stephanie Young
- Transgender Poetry: “HULL” by Xandria Phillips
- Lesbian Mystery: “Galileo” by Ann McMan
- Gay Mystery: “Carved in Bone: A Henry Rios Novel” by Michael Nava
- Lesbian Memoir/Biography: “We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir” by Samra Habib
- Gay Memoir/Biography: “How We Fight for Our Lives” by Saeed Jones
- Lesbian Romance: “Aurora’s Angel: A Dark Fantasy Romance” by Emily Noon
- Gay Romance: “Joseph Chapman: My Molly Life” by James Lovejoy
- LGBTQ Anthology (tie): “Love WITH Accountability: Digging up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse” by Aishah Shahidah Simmons and “A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969” by Noam Sienna
- LGBTQ Children’s/Middle Grade: “Hazel’s Theory of Evolution” by Lisa Jenn Bigelow
- LGBTQ Young Adults: “The Grief Keeper” by Alexandra Villasante
- LGBTQ Comics: “Cannonball” by Kelsey Wroten
- LGBTQ Drama: “A Strange Loop” by Michael R. Jackson
- LGBTQ Erotica: “Whore Foods” by LA Warman
- LGBTQ Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror: “The Deep” by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes
- LGBTQ Studies: “All Our Trials: Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence” by Emily L. Thuma
Best LGBTQ books in 2020
Below are the finalists and winners of the 2020 Lambda Literary Awards, totaling more than 160 books across 25 categories. Some categories comprise as few as three finalists while the majority of categories include eight finalists.