March 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Jacqueline Woodson Honored by Lambda Literary

Jacqueline Woodson

The LGBTQ literary community gathered in New York City on Monday, June 12, to celebrate The Lambda Literary Awards, aka the Lammys. The awards identify and celebrate the best lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender books of the year and affirm that LGBTQ stories are part of the literature of the world. This year’s ceremony was attended by more than 600 people, including notables such as actress Cynthia Nixon and journalist Frank Bruni. Nixon, fresh off winning a Tony Award for her role in the play The Little Foxes the previous evening, introduced her friend, Jacqueline Woodson.

Woodson received the Lambda Literary 2017 Visionary Award. That honor is bestowed on an individual who has contributed to the LGBTQ literary community in significant and tangible ways through works of literature. Woodson is the recipient of numerous other awards, including the National Book Award and the Coretta Scott King Award. Her adult novel Another Brooklyn (HarperCollins, 2016) was nominated this year in Lambda’s lesbian fiction category. (The winner was Nicole Dennis-Benn for Here Comes the Sun, Liveright, 2016.)  Woodson got laughs from the audience at the start of her acceptance speech. She commented that when she first started writing, somehow the Visionary Award seemed to go to “an old person.”

The Lammys are given in 22 categories ranging from gay and lesbian fiction to LGBTQ sci-fi/horror.  The nominees for the children’s/young adult category were Brie Spangler, Beast (Knopf, 2016); M.E. Girard, Girl Mans Up (HarperCollins, 2016); Juliann Rich, Gravity (Bold Strokes, 2016); John Corey Whaley, Highly Illogical Behavior (Dial, 2016); C.B. Lee, Not Your Sidekick (Duet, 2016); Krystal Sutherland, Our Chemical Hearts (Putnam, 2016); Jeff Garvin, Symptoms of Being Human (HarperCollins, 2016); and Marie Lu, Midnight Star (Putnam, 2016).

The winner was debut author Girard for Girl Mans Up. School Library Journal described this story as “a fresh title in the growing sea of LGBTQ YA literature. There is no sugarcoating in this very real portrayal of an aspect of teen life that many experience.” Girard comes to this award after participating in the 2013 Lambda Literary Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. “Holy crap, I can’t believe this happened,” she exclaimed as she accepted her award.

Lambda Literary also runs the LGBTQ Writers in Schools program, which helps bring authors into schools around the country.

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Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.

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