Golden Crown Literary Society

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The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) is an American non-profit organization established in February 2004 as a literary and educational organization for the study, discussion, enjoyment, and enhancement of lesbian literature. The GCLS membership includes publishers, distributors, authors, and readers of lesbian fiction. An all-volunteer effort, GCLS is open to all individuals who are interested in enjoying, discussing, promoting and enhancing the future of lesbian literature.[1] In 2011 (and retroactive to 2007), the GCLS attained federal nonprofit status.


The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) volunteer organization whose mission is for the education, promotion, and recognition of lesbian fiction and creative non-fiction. Our goals are to: 1. Provide learning opportunities, encouragement and assistance to new and established authors in developing their craft; 2. Support and strengthen quality lesbian writing by providing educational programs and creating opportunities for readers and writers to interact; and 3. To recognize and promote lesbian literary work.


In 2004, the GCLS was established, and from 2004 to 2009, informal organizational officers operated in their roles with Advisory committees. In 2009, a formal Board of Directors with an Executive Director was established, along with Bylaws and formal reporting to the members, and soon after, the GCLS became a nonprofit. The first formal Executive Director was Patty Schramm from 2009-2014. Elizabeth (Liz) Gibson served as Executive Director 2014-2016, and the latest Executive Director is Mary Phillips (2016 - ).

The primary event - both educational and promotional - is the annual conference which was first offered in 2005, where authors, readers, and publishers come together to share their love of literature, publishers, authors, and reading. The conference has been held yearly since 2005 and offers an author educational Track of Master Classes and sessions, a Panel Track of discussions on various topics related to writing, and one or more General Tracks composed of author chats and readings. The GCLS annual conference and organization has experienced success over the years and grown significantly. In 2014, the GCLS celebrated its 10th year of conferences around the nation. See below for future and past locations of conferences.

In 2014, the GCLS opened their GCLS Writing Academy, which offers educational support and classes to new and upcoming authors of lesbian fiction and creative non-fiction. This is a one-year program of courses, panels, writing, and mentoring. The faculty of this program are highly qualified instructors of writing and literature, many at universities around the country and/or well recognized writing programs. In addition to the Writing Academy, the GCLS also offers one-on-one mentoring for authors nearing the publication stage of a book as well as "GCLS Presents..." - a new video series of author interviews and presentations.

In addition to the mission of the organization, the GCLS has participated in charitable functions. In response to Hurricane Katrina, which took place just after the organization's first conference in New Orleans, members of the organization raised thousands of dollars in direct aid to lesbians affected by the disaster. Books and other materials have often been donated to charities (such as GLBT libraries). Each year, scholarships are offered to readers and writers for conference attendance, and other charitable activities are also underway.


In 2005, the organization held the first conference where lesbian writers, teachers, and speakers joined readers, fans, publishers, and others to document lesbian literary history,[2] award "Goldies" to top finalists in the book awards categories, and share needed information about writing craft and technique in multiple workshops. Fundraising efforts began in 2006 to support scholarships, a Mentoring Program was added in 2007,[3] and in 2008, seventeen scholarships were awarded to enable more individuals to attend.

Conference attendees cite the event as a crucial social, educational and professional link, important in maintaining a strong lesbian literary field. Since 2005, in addition to a variety of genre category awards given to specific books, the Society has awarded a "Trailblazer Award" to a lesbian writer for lifetime achievement, in recognition of the contributions she has made to the field of lesbian literature. Since that time, the Lee Lynch Classic Book Award has been added, along with additional genre categories, such as Young Adult.

Conferences, both past and future:

GCLS "Goldie" Awards[edit]

GCLS promotes lesbian fiction through the Goldie awards,[6] a yearly awards program with the awards bestowed at the annual conference. Since their inception, the awards categories have expanded from four categories in 2005 to fourteen categories in 2016 plus five special awards. Eight finalists can be shortlisted in each of the categories with a maximum of three equal winners named in each category.

In recent years, more than 250 titles from more than three dozen publishers (such as Alyson, Bedazzled Ink, Bella Books, Blue Feather, Bold Strokes Books, Carroll & Graf Publishers, Copper Canyon Press, Farrar Straus Giroux, Haworth, Intaglio, Launch Point Press, Sapphire Books, Spinsters Ink, St. Martin's Press and various university presses) have been nominated for consideration.

In 2015, Jacob Anderson-Minshall became the first openly transgender author to win a Goldie award from the Golden Crown Literary Society. He shared the award for best creative non-fiction book with Diane Anderson-Minshall for Queerly Beloved: A Love Story Across Genders.[7]

GCLS "Goldie" Awards Categories - 2016[edit]

  • Anthology/Collections (Non-Fiction)
  • Anthology/Collections (Fiction)
  • Creative Non-Fiction
  • Debut Author
  • Dramatic/General Fiction
  • Erotica
  • Historical Fiction
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Paranormal/Horror
  • Poetry
  • Romantic Suspense/Intrigue/Adventure
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Traditional Contemporary Romance
  • Young Adult

In addition to the category book awards, there are special awards given:

  • The Lee Lynch Classic Book Award (inaugurated 2012, for classic books that have stood the test of time)[8]
  • Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award
  • Tee Corinne Outstanding Cover Design
  • The Directors Award
  • Trailblazer Award


  1. ^ "Golden Crown Literary Society". Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  2. ^ Seajay, Carol (2005). "Golden Crown in New Orleans." Books To Watch Out For. Retrieved on 2008-06-01.
  3. ^ O'Neill, Heather (June 2007). "Behind The Scenes in Lesbian Fiction." Retrieved on 2008-06-01.
  4. ^ Anderson-Minshall, Diane (June 2007. "Curvatures: Golden Crown Literary Festival." Curve Magazine. Retrieved on 2008-06-01.
  5. ^ Lee, Ryan (June 2007). "Stranger Than Fiction." Atlanta Voice.
  6. ^ Golden Crown Literary Society Awards Archived May 13, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Editors (2015-07-28). "Historic Night at Golden Crown Literary Awards". Retrieved 2015-08-06. 
  8. ^ "2013 GCLS Literary Awards Categories" (PDF). GCLS. Retrieved 29 October 2012.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]