On June 2, the winners of the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards (also known as the “Lammys”) were announced at a gala held at Cooper Union’s Great Hall.
Taking place just after BookExpo America, the publishing industry’s largest annual event for readers, writers, publishers, and booksellers, the Lambda Literary Awards were attended by over five hundred guests, celebrities, and sponsors with a common interest in recognizing excellence in LGBT literature.
According to a press release shared with 429Magazine, “The ceremony opened with a powerful montage of video clips from the ‘What LGBTQI Book Changed Your Life’ campaign, a project conducted in conjunction with the Lammys to recognize LGBT literature of all types, from poetry to erotica, that has influenced millions of readers. As master of ceremonies for the third consecutive year, [Kate] Clinton treated the audience to her signature brand of topical, political comedy. She kept the audience laughing with lines like ‘Happy Pride Month, the month formerly known as June,’ and ‘I’m happy about the new pope. He’s our first Christian one.’”
Cartoonist Justin Hall, the creator of “True Travel Tales,” presented Alison Bechdel, writer and artist of the comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For” and graphic novel memoirs “Fun Home” and “Are You My Mother?” with the Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Literature. According to the press release, she gave a “funny and moving acceptance speech filled with memories from when she won her first Lammy in 1991.”
In turn, Bechdel presented Nicole J. Georges, creator of “Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir,” with the first-ever award in the new category Best LGBT Graphic Novel.
Another familiar face, Kate Bornstein, was honored with the Pioneer Award. It was presented by her life partner, Barbara Carrellas, who told the crowd that when people are asked what Kate Bornstein means to them, “the overwhelming answer is ‘Kate Bornstein saved my life.’” For her part, Bornstein’s speech was a call to action, denouncing the legacy of shame forced onto people in regard to sex and gender, which “brought the audience to a standing ovation.”
The halftime show featured Justin Vivian Bond, who preformed three songs from ve’s recent show, “The Drift,” which were all inspired by classic works of literature.
The Lambda Literary Foundation’s executive director, Tony Valenzuela, was quoted in the press release as saying, “Throughout the beautiful ceremony, we were reminded of the meaningfulness of LGBT literature and writers in our lives. Congratulations to all the winners and honorees.”
A full list of the winners, special guests, and highlights can be found on the Lambda Literary website here.
For those who may have missed out on a few good books, publishing company Open Road Media is running a $2.99 sale on some of their top gay and lesbian ebooks in celebration of LGBT Pride Month. Titles include Martin Duberman’s “Stonewall,” M. E. Kerr’s “Deliver Us from Evie,” and Mary Renault’s “The Friendly Young Ladies.”
Open Road also produces mini-documentary videos, and has an impressive library on YouTube featuring authors speaking on a variety of topics.
Marketing manager Rachel Krupitsky told 429Magazine that their latest, a feature on Pride Month, “is one of Open Road Media’s most powerful videos to date.”
Watch it below.
The official description on YouTube reads:
“I often think I read myself out of the closet—I could explore that part of myself in books,” explains writer Christopher Bram.
From writing strong, relatable gay characters to taking part in activism and social movements, the voices in this video have made an impact both within and beyond the world of contemporary literature.
Watch Christopher Bram, Dorothy Allison, Martin Duberman, Elana Dykewomon, Michael Nava, Joseph Caldwell, Ned Rorem, and Lisa Alther in this tribute to Pride Month.