The three award categories are fiction and nonfiction in books for adults, distinguished in 1990, and books for children or young adults, from 2010. The awards are named for Barbara Gittings, Israel Fishman, and (jointly) Mike Morgan and Larry Romans. In full they are the Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, the Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award, and the Stonewall Book Awards – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children's & Young Adult Literature Award.
Finalists have been designated from 1990, and termed "Honor Books" from 2001. Currently a panel of librarians selects five finalists in each award category and subsequently selects one winner. The winners are announced in January and each receives a plaque and $1000 cash prize during the ALA Annual Conference in June or July. Winners are expected to attend and to give acceptance speeches.
The ALA solicits book suggestions each to be accompanied by a brief statement in favor of the book. Those are recommendations or "applications" to the Awards Committee from the public by email, which are not accepted from publishers, agents, authors, and others with vested interests.
Eligible books should be original works published in the U.S. during the preceding year, including "substantially changed new editions" and "English-language translations of foreign-language books".
The Gay Book Award was inaugurated in 1971, recognizing Patience and Sarah, a historical novel by Alma Routsong as Isabel Miller, which had been self-published by Routsong in 1969. Originally it was a "grassroots acknowledgment" of GLBT publishing and there was "only a handful" of books to consider annually. By 1995 there were more than 800.
In 2002 the awards, then two, were jointly named after the site of the 1969 Stonewall riots.
Award name and categories
1971-1986 Gay Book Award
1987-1989 Gay and Lesbian Book Award
1990-1993 Gay and Lesbian Book Award (nonfiction and literature categories)
1994-1998 Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Book Award (nonfiction and literature)
1999-2001 Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Book Award (nonfiction and literature)
2002–2010 Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award and the Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award.
2010–present Stonewall Book Award-Barbara Gittings Literature Award, the Stonewall Book Award-Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award, and the Stonewall Book Award-Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children's & Young Adult Literature Award.
^ abOnline the American Library Association presents the three Stonewall Book Awards twice, once in a GLBTRT subsite and once in an Awards subsite. The former treats them as three tracks of one award; the latter presents two Stonewall Book Awards for literature and nonfiction (adult books) and another one in parallel for children's and young adults books. References to both sets of webpages are provided here.