As some of you may know, June is Pride Month across the world and here we want to highlight some new LGBTQ+ books. We’ll be highlighting, over a number of Sundays, the winners of the 31st Lambda Literary Awards, as well as the longlists (out 10th June) for the Polari Prizes.
Our third of three features on the 31st Lambda Literary Awards, we cover the LGBTQ categories. Next week, we’ll be featuring the shortlists for the Polari Prizes.
WINNER – LGBTQ Nonfiction
Winner of the 2019 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography
Winner of the Shilts-Grahn Triangle Award for Lesbian Nonfiction
A New York Times Notable Book of 2018
A revealing portrait of one of the most gifted and charismatic, yet least understood, Black artists and intellectuals of the twentieth century.
Lorraine Hansberry, who died at thirty-four, was by all accounts a force of nature. Although best-known for her work A Raisin in the Sun, her short life was full of extraordinary experiences and achievements, and she had an unflinching commitment to social justice, which brought her under FBI surveillance when she was barely in her twenties. While her close friends and contemporaries, like James Baldwin and Nina Simone, have been rightly celebrated, her story has been diminished and relegated to one work—until now. In 2018, Hansberry will get the recognition she deserves with the PBS American Masters documentary “Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart” and Imani Perry’s multi-dimensional, illuminating biography, Looking for Lorraine.
After the success of A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry used her prominence in myriad ways: challenging President Kennedy and his brother to take bolder stances on Civil Rights, supporting African anti-colonial leaders, and confronting the romantic racism of the Beat poets and Village hipsters. Though she married a man, she identified as lesbian and, risking censure and the prospect of being outed, joined one of the nation’s first lesbian organizations. Hansberry associated with many activists, writers, and musicians, including Malcolm X, Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, among others. Looking for Lorraine is a powerful insight into Hansberry’s extraordinary life—a life that was tragically cut far too short.
A Black Caucus of the American Library Association Honor Book for Nonfiction
Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Nonfiction
A 2019 Pauli Murray Book Prize Finalist
WINNER – LGBTQ Anthology
“We are homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals and whateversexuals, burning to rescue this continent…” —Pwaangulongii Dauod
The second offering in the Gerald Kraak annual anthology, As You Like It, is a collection of the short-listed entries submitted for the Gerald Kraak Award. This anthology offers a window into deeply located visions and voices across Africa. It brings together stories of self-expression, identity, sexuality, and agency, all located within Africa and its legacy.
WINNER – LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult
Prepare to be swept up by this exquisite novel that reminds us that grief and love can open the world in mystical ways.
Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child.
Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and 12-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She’s hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won’t stop following her, and — worst of all — Caroline’s mother left home one day and never came back.
But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline’s luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline’s first and only friend — and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush.
Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline’s missing mother — before Caroline loses her forever.
WINNER – LGBTQ Drama
The hilarious and deeply moving story of conservative Muslim mother at her wits’ end, a Muslim father who likes to tell jokes, and a queer American woman trying to make a good impression on her Indian in-laws. In a story about family and love and the things we do to be together, one immigrant family must come to terms with a child who defies their most basic expectations of what it means to have a daughter…and one woman will redefine the limits of unconditional love. This unique play compassionately brings to life the often ignored struggle that a family goes through when their child transitions from one gender to another.
“[DRAW THE CIRCLE] chronicles, with surprising empathy, not just what it was like to slowly, painfully come to terms with transition, but what it was like for loved ones who shunned everything about it.” —Washington Post. “…an insightful work that is noteworthy for the compassion with which the playwright…explores viewpoints different from his own…even the most intolerant of characters are allowed to come across as warmly sympathetic in their own ways.” —TheaterMania.com. “…essential viewing…Deen’s extreme vulnerability and creativity coalesce to make it a vitally important piece of theater…DRAW THE CIRCLE is a singular theatrical experience.” —BroadwayWorld.com. “The effect of Deen’s storytelling technique and artistry is arresting…a masterful act of writing…If you believe theater can teach us something important about who we are as gendered beings—or even if you just have a hunch that America cannot be great if driven by hate—DRAW THE CIRCLE is an epochal inquiry into identity…and some of the most pressing questions of our time.” —DCMetroTheaterArts.com.
WINNER – LGBTQ Erotica
Miles has experienced a lot of new things since he fell into his cute neighbor’s orbit, but he never dreamed Honesty would whisk him away to a space-themed queer sex party in a swanky downtown apartment. It’s not at all what he expected, and Miles has a lot to learn about his friend-with-benefits as well as himself.
WINNER – LGBTQ Graphic Novels
Parrish’s emotionally loaded, painted graphic novel is is a visual tour de force, always in the service of the author’s themes: navigating queer desire, masculinity, fear, and the ever-in-flux state of friendships.
—-You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here—-
WINNER – LGBTQ Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
Lamat Paed understands paradoxes. She’s a great mountain climber who’s never summited, the author of a tell-all that didn’t really tell anything. For years she guided pilgrims up the foothills of the Sublime Mount, leading them as high as God would let them go. And then she partnered the apostate Southern priest Mother Disaine on the most daring, most blasphemous expedition in history–an attempt to reach the summit of the sacred mountain, the top of God’s head. Disaine returned in triumph, claiming to be the first person since the prophet to have summited and lived. But Lamat went into hiding.
Now, late in life and exiled from the mountain, Lamat finally tells her story to her partner, Otile. It’s the story of why she really wrote her first book all those years ago, how she came to be cast out from the mountain-dwelling Holoh people, and how she fled to the anonymity of the city to hide from her fame. Most of all, it’s the story of her bond with Mother Disaine–the blasphemer, charlatan, and visionary who stole Lamat’s life to serve her own purposes–and what really happened on their last, greatest expedition.
”Not since The Left Hand of Darkness has any book conveyed to me the profundity of the winter journey and the intensity of relationships forged in it. But where Le Guin was always evasive about religion in her sublime mountain landscapes, Fellman is direct about it. She creates an immanence in her mountain, The Body of God, that her characters respond to with an authentic and credible religious passion, one that gets mixed up with all other passions in their lives.
”The creed of Asam is elegantly crafted, beautifully quotable: ‘Your bodies are the compaction of stars and your minds are the compaction of history. Be decent to each other; pity each other, for it is not an easy state to be made of so much and live for so little a time.’ The prose throughout is simple and luminous, with many sentences that hang in the mind: ‘Sometimes I think there is nothing sadder than a toy. They usually have faces, but they have no use.’ Altogether a book that is about much more than ambition to scale a peak.” Sarah Tolmie, author of The Stone Boatmen and Two Travelers
WINNER – LGBTQ Studies
Toxic Silence: Race, Black Gender Identity, and Addressing the Violence against Black Transgender Women in Houston contributes to a growing body of transgender scholarship. This book examines the patriarchal and heteronormative frames within the black community and larger American society that advances the toxic masculinity which violently castigates and threatens the collective embodiment of black transgender women in the USA. Such scholarship is needed to shed more light on the transphobic violence and murders against this understudied group.
Little is known about the societal and cultural issues and concerns affecting black transgender women and how their gender identity is met with systemic, institutional, and interpersonal roadblocks. During a time period in American history defined by Time Magazine as “The Transgender Tipping Point,” black transgender women have emerged as social, cultural, and political subjects to advance our understanding of the lives of people who identify as a part of both the black and LGBTQIA communities. In the end, this book calls on the black community and culture to end the toxic silence and act instead as allies who are more accepting and inclusive of differing sexualities and gender identities in an effort to improve the generative power of black solidarity.