Lambda Literary Award

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The Lambda Literary Award Medal Design 2008.

Lambda Literary Awards (also known as the "Lammys") are awarded yearly by the US-based Lambda Literary Foundation to published works which celebrate or explore LGBT themes. Categories include Humor, Romance and Biography. To qualify, a book must have been published in the United States in the year current to the award. The Lambda Literary Foundation states that its mission is "to celebrate LGBT literature and provide resources for writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, and librarians - the whole literary community."[1] The awards were instituted in 1988.

The program has grown from 14 awards in early years to 22 awards today. Early categories such as HIV/AIDS Literature were dropped as the prominence of the AIDS crisis within the gay community waned,[2] while categories for bisexual and transgender literature were added as the community became more inclusive.[2] In both the bisexual and transgender categories, one or two awards may be presented annually; if the number of submissions in a given year warrants, then separate awards for fiction and non-fiction are presented, while a smaller number of submissions results in a single award.

In addition to the primary literary awards, the Lambda Literary Foundation also presents a number of special awards. The Pioneer Award is presented as a lifetime achievement award to a distinguished figure in the history of LGBT literature; the Bridge Builder Award is presented to a person, regardless of sexuality, who has been a prominent ally and advocate of the LGBT community; and the Trustee Award is presented to a writer who has made a considerable contribution to a wider awareness and understanding of the lives of LGBT people.

Beginning in 2011, the Lambda Literary Awards also took over the Jim Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists' Prize, formerly presented by the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. The award, endowed by academic and writer James Duggins, is presented annually to two LGBT writers, one male and one female, to honor their body of work. In 2013, the foundation instituted the Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award, to honor young writers who have published at least one book.

Award categories[edit]


  • Bisexual Literature or Bisexual Fiction, Non-Fiction1
  • Gay Erotica
  • Gay Fiction
  • Gay Memoir or Biography
  • Gay Mystery
  • Gay Poetry
  • Gay Romance
  • Lesbian Erotica
  • Lesbian Fiction
  • Lesbian Memoir or Biography
  • Lesbian Mystery
  • Lesbian Poetry
  • Lesbian Romance
  • LGBT Anthology
  • LGBT Children's or Young Adult
  • LGBT Debut Fiction
  • LGBT Drama
  • LGBT Graphic Novel
  • LGBT Non-Fiction
  • LGBT Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror
  • LGBT Studies
  • Transgender Literature or Transgender Fiction, Transgender Non-Fiction1


1 In both the bisexual and transgender categories, presentation may vary according to the number of eligible titles submitted in any given year. If the number of titles warrants, then separate awards are presented for "fiction" and "non-fiction", while if a smaller number of titles is deemed eligible, then a single award for "literature", inclusive of both fiction and non-fiction titles, is presented.


Authors Nicola Griffith and Melissa Scott are tied with most wins for Best LGBT Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror.


  • AIDS Literature (1-3)
  • Anthologies - Fiction
  • Anthologies - Non-Fiction
  • Arts and Culture
  • Autobiography/Memoir
  • Belles Lettres
  • Biography
  • Editor's Choice
  • Erotica
  • Gay Anthology
  • Gay Debut Fiction
  • Gay Mystery/Science Fiction (1)
  • Gay Non-Fiction
  • Gay Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror
  • Gay Small Press
  • Gay Studies
  • Humor
  • Lesbian Anthology
  • Lesbian Debut Fiction
  • Lesbian Mystery/Science Fiction (1)
  • Lesbian Non-Fiction
  • Lesbian Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror
  • Lesbian Small Press
  • Lesbian Studies
  • Photography/Visual Arts
  • Poetry
  • Publisher Service
  • Romance
  • Small Press
  • Spirituality
  • Transgender/Bisexual

Awards by year[edit]

The Lambda Literary Awards are presented each year to honour works of literature published in the previous year; accordingly, the first awards ceremony may be described in different sources as either the 1989 awards (for the year of presentation) or the 1988 awards (for the year in which the nominated works were published).

Ceremony Year of presentation Year of publication
1st Lambda Literary Awards 1989 1988
2nd Lambda Literary Awards 1990 1989
3rd Lambda Literary Awards 1991 1990
4th Lambda Literary Awards 1992 1991
5th Lambda Literary Awards 1993 1992
6th Lambda Literary Awards 1994 1993
7th Lambda Literary Awards 1995 1994
8th Lambda Literary Awards 1996 1995
9th Lambda Literary Awards 1997 1996
10th Lambda Literary Awards 1998 1997
11th Lambda Literary Awards 1999 1998
12th Lambda Literary Awards 2000 1999
13th Lambda Literary Awards 2001 2000
14th Lambda Literary Awards 2002 2001
15th Lambda Literary Awards 2003 2002
16th Lambda Literary Awards 2004 2003
17th Lambda Literary Awards 2005 2004
18th Lambda Literary Awards 2006 2005
19th Lambda Literary Awards 2007 2006
20th Lambda Literary Awards 2008 2007
21st Lambda Literary Awards 2009 2008
22nd Lambda Literary Awards 2010 2009
23rd Lambda Literary Awards 2011 2010
24th Lambda Literary Awards 2012 2011
25th Lambda Literary Awards 2013 2012
26th Lambda Literary Awards 2014 2013
27th Lambda Literary Awards 2015 2014


Bisexual Community/Bi Any Other Name[edit]

In 1992, despite requests from the bisexual community for a more appropriate and inclusive category, the groundbreaking bisexual anthology Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out[3] by Loraine Hutchins and Lani Kaahumanu was forced to compete (and lose) in the category "Lesbian Anthology".[4] Additionally in 2005, Directed by Desire: Collected Poems[5] a posthumous collection of the bisexual Jamaican American writer June Jordan's work had to compete (and win) in the category "Lesbian Poetry".[6]

Led by BiNet USA,[7] the American Institute of Bisexuality and assisted by other bisexual organizations including BiPOL, Bialogue a group of bisexual rights activists launched a multi-year struggle that eventually culminated in 2006 with the addition of a Bisexual category.

Transgender Community/The Man Who Would Be Queen[edit]

In 2004, the book The Man Who Would Be Queen: The Science of Gender-Bending and Transsexualism by the highly controversial researcher J. Michael Bailey was announced as a finalist in the Transgender category of the 2003 Awards.

Transgender people immediately protested the nomination and gathered thousands of petition signatures in opposition within a few days. After the petition, the Foundation's judges examined the book more closely, decided that they considered it transphobic and removed it from their list of finalists.[8] Within a year the executive director who had initially approved of the book's inclusion resigned.[9] Executive director Charles Flowers later stated that "the Bailey incident revealed flaws in our awards nomination process, which I have completely overhauled since becoming the foundation’s executive director in January 2006."[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "News and Announcements". Lambda Literary Foundation. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  2. ^ a b Dewey, Charlsie (May 28, 2013). "Lambda Literary Foundation marks 25 years of LGBT writers". Windy City Times. Retrieved February 6, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Bi Any Other Name: Bisexual People Speak Out Review". International Gay & Lesbian Review. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  4. ^ "1991 Lambda Literary Awards Recipients". Lambda Literary Foundation. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  5. ^ "Directed by Desire: Collected Poems". Copper Canyon Press. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  6. ^ "2005 Lambda Literary Awards Recipients". Lambda Literary Foundation. Retrieved 2011-10-16. 
  7. ^ Curry, Wendy (2007). "What makes a book bisexual?". Curried Spam. BiNet USA. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  8. ^ Letellier, Patrick (16 March 2004). "Group rescinds honor for disputed book". PlanetOut. Archived from the original on 2008-02-05. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  9. ^ Schwartz, Nomi (16 June 2005). "Lambda Literary Foundation Announces Major Changes". American Booksellers Association. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  10. ^ Flowers, Charles (September 20, 2007). Letter to the New York Times, Sept 20, 2007.

External links[edit]