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The 33rd Lambda Literary Awards Finalists

New York, NY, March 15, 2021– Lambda Literary, the nation’s premier LGBTQ literary organization, today announces the finalists of the 33rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards (a.k.a. the “Lammys”).

Created over thirty years ago to recognize the crucial role LGBTQ writers play in shaping the world, the Lammys celebrate the very best in LGBTQ literature. Since the inception of the Lammys in 1989, more than 3,500 books have been named finalist or winner, an imprimatur that bookstores, libraries, and individuals use to stock their shelves.

Notable in this year’s finalists is the depth and breadth of books for young people, which give LGBTQ youth a sense of belonging and teach those who are not LGBTQ how to respect those who are. Reflecting the increasing availability of and appetite for books featuring LGBTQ characters, Lambda Literary gives awards in two categories for younger readers: LGBTQ Young Adult and LGBTQ Children’s/Middle Grade. 

Exemplifying how queer literature is far from monolithic, the Lammys celebrate books across 24 categories, and feature works by debut authors, self-published authors, and writers from both big and small presses. 

“By celebrating LGBTQ books, we celebrate LGBTQ life,” said Sue Landers, executive director of Lambda Literary, “and as a community often under threat of legislative and actual violence, the Lammys offer a rare and necessary space where we come together in joy.”

Finalists and winners will be celebrated in a virtual award ceremony on Tuesday, June 1st, 2021, which will feature a performance by Meshell Ndegeocello. Other special guests include Torrey Peters and Alan Hollinghurst, among others. The event is open to the public, with a suggested donation of $25. Proceeds benefit Lambda Literary’s educational programs for LGBTQ young people and emerging writers. To reserve your space at the virtual award ceremony or for more information about the finalists, go here.

This year’s finalists were first announced exclusively by the Associated Press.  Please join us in celebrating the following authors and their literary accomplishments.

LGBTQ Comics

  • Apsara Engine, Bishakh Som, Feminist Press
  • The Contradictions, Sophie Yanow, Drawn & Quarterly
  • Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection, Yao Xiao, Andrews McMeel
  • SFSX (Safe Sex), Vol. 1: Protection, Tina Horn, Michael Dowling, Alejandra Gutiérrez & Jen Hickman, Image Comics
  • Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir, Bishakh Som, Street Noise Books

LGBTQ Young Adult 

  • Camp, L.C. Rosen, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Flamer, Mike Curato, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
  • The Magic Fish, Trung Le Nguyen, Random House Graphic
  • Sasha Masha, Agnes Borinsky, FSG Books for Young Readers
  • You Should See Me in a Crown, Leah Johnson, Scholastic

 Lesbian Fiction

  • Bestiary, K-Ming Chang, One World
  • Butter Honey Pig Bread, Francesca Ekwuyasi, Arsenal Pulp Press
  • Exile Music, Jennifer Steil, Viking
  • Fiebre Tropical, Juli Delgado Lopera, Feminist Press
  • Pizza Girl, Jean Kyoung Frazier, Doubleday

Gay Fiction

  • Cleanness, Garth Greenwell, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Neotenica, Joon Oluchi Lee, Nightboat Books
  • Real Life, Brandon Taylor, Riverhead Books
  • Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart, Grove Atlantic
  • This Town Sleeps, Dennis E. Staples, Counterpoint Press


  • Babel, Jacqueline Goldfinger, Unicorn Theatre, Theatre Exile
  • The Book of Mountains and Seas, Yilong Liu, New Conservatory Theatre Center
  • F*ck7thGrade, Liza Birkenmeier & Jill Sobule, City Theatre
  • House Plant, Sarah Einspanier, New York Theatre Workshop
  • Safe Space, R. Eric Thomas, Single Carrot Theatre

LGBTQ Erotica

  • Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year, Volume 5, Sinclair Sexsmith, Cleis Press
  • Femme Tales, Anne Shade, Bold Strokes Books
  • The Nerves, Lena Suksi, Metatron Press
  • Smut Peddler Presents: Silver, Andrea Purcell, Iron Circus Comics
  • Smut Peddlers: Glad Day 50, Kel Hardy, Tianna Henry & MJ Lyons, Self-published

LGBTQ Mystery

  • Death Before Dessert: A Vanessa Harrington Cozy Mystery, A.E. Radley, Heartsome Publishing
  • Find Me When I’m Lost: A Charlie Mack Motown Mystery, Cheryl A. Head, Bywater Books
  • Fortune Favors the Dead: A Pentecost and Parker Mystery, Stephen Spotswood, Doubleday
  • I Hope You’re Listening, Tom Ryan, Albert Whitman & Company
  • Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery, Rosalie Knecht, Tin House Books

LGBTQ Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror

  • Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse, Gallery / Saga Press
  • Everyone on the Moon Is Essential Personnel, Julian K. Jarboe, Lethe Press
  • The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, Zen Cho, Tordotcom Publishing
  • The Silence of the Wilting Skin, Tlotlo Tsamaase, Pink Narcissus Press
  • Subcutanean, Aaron A. Reed, Self-published

LGBTQ Studies

  • Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World, Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, NYU Press
  • Information Activism: A Queer History of Lesbian Media Technologies, Cait McKinney, Duke University Press
  • The Sense of Brown, José Esteban Muñoz, Duke University Press
  • The Sex Obsession: Perversity and Possibility in American Politics, Janet R. Jakobsen, NYU Press
  • The Tragedy of Heterosexuality, Jane Ward, NYU Press

Bisexual Fiction

  • Catherine House, Elisabeth Thomas, Custom House
  • How Much of These Hills Is Gold, C Pam Zhang, Riverhead Books
  • Silence Is My Mother Tongue, Sulaiman Addonia, Graywolf Press
  • Take a Hint, Dani Brown, Talia Hibbert, Avon Books
  • You Exist Too Much, Zaina Arafat, Catapult

Transgender Fiction

  • Finna, Nino Cipri, Tordotcom Publishing
  • The Seep, Chana Porter, Soho Press
  • The Subtweet, Vivek Shraya, ECW Press
  • The Thirty Names of Night, Zeyn Joukhadar, Atria Books
  • Trans-Galactic Bike Ride: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories of Transgender and Nonbinary Adventurers, Lydia Rogue, Microcosm Publishing

Bisexual Nonfiction

  • Terroir: Love, Out of Place, Natasha Sajé, Trinity University Press
  • The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia, Emma Copley Eisenberg, Hachette Books
  • This Is Major: Notes of Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope, Shayla Lawson, Harper Perennial
  • The Wanting Was a Wilderness: Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and the Art of Memoir, Alden Jones, Fiction Advocate
  • Wow, No Thank You.: Essays, Samantha Irby, Vintage

Transgender Nonfiction

  • The Black Trans Prayer Book, J Mase III & Dane Figueroa Edidi, The Black Trans Prayer Book
  • Fairest: A Memoir, Meredith Talusan, Viking
  • The Freezer Door, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, Semiotext(e)
  • Nepantla Squared: Transgender Mestiz@ Histories in Times of Global Shift, Linda Heidenreich, University of Nebraska Press
  • Trans Care, Hil Malatino, University of Minnesota Press

LGBTQ Nonfiction

  • All the Young Men, Ruth Coker Burks, Grove Atlantic
  • An Excess of Quiet: Selected Sketches by Gustavo Ojeda, 1979-1989, Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué & Erich Kessel Jr., Soberscove Press
  • Forget Burial: HIV Kinship, Disability, and Queer/Trans Narratives of Care, Marty Fink, Rutgers University Press
  • The Lexington Six: Lesbian and Gay Resistance in 1970s America, Josephine Donovan, University of Massachusetts Press
  • The Lonely Letters, Ashon T. Crawley, Duke University Press

Lesbian Poetry

  • dayliGht, Roya Marsh, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Devil’s Lake, Sarah M. Sala, Tolsun Books
  • Flèche, Mary Jean Chan, Faber & Faber
  • Funeral Diva, Pamela Sneed, City Lights Books
  • : once teeth bones coral :, Kimberly Alidio, Belladonna Collaborative

Gay Poetry

  • Fantasia for the Man in Blue, Tommye Blount, Four Way Books
  • Guillotine, Eduardo C. Corral, Graywolf Press
  • The Malevolent Volume, Justin Phillip Reed, Coffee House Press
  • Sacrament of Bodies, Romeo Oriogun, University of Nebraska Press
  • Thanksgiving: A Poem, Ted Rees, Golias Books

Bisexual Poetry

  • Birthright, George Abraham, Button Poetry
  • One God at a Time, Meghan Privitello, YesYes Books
  • Salt Body Shimmer, Aricka Foreman, YesYes Books
  • sick, Jody Chan, Black Lawrence Press
  • Wild Peach, S*an D. Henry-Smith, Futurepoem Books

Transgender Poetry

  • Greyhound, Aeon Ginsberg, Noemi Press
  • I Love You and I’m Not Dead, Sade LaNay, Argos Books
  • More Than Organs, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Sibling Rivalry Press
  • The Nancy Reagan Collection, Maxe Crandall, Futurepoem Books
  • Theories of Performance, Jay Besemer, The Lettered Streets Press

Lesbian Memoir/Biography

  • And The Walls Come Crumbling Down, Tania De Rozario, Gaudy Boy
  • The Change: My Great American, Postindustrial, Midlife Crisis Tour, Lori Soderlind, University of Wisconsin Press
  • Lady Romeo: The Radical and Revolutionary Life of Charlotte Cushman, America’s First Celebrity, Tana Wojczuk, Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster
  • My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, Jenn Shapland, Tin House Books
  • Practicing for Love: A Memoir, Nina Kennedy, Dorrance Publishers

Gay Memoir/Biography

  • A Dutiful Boy: A Memoir of a Gay Muslim’s Journey to Acceptance, Mohsin Zaidi, Square Peg
  • Here For It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America, R. Eric Thomas, Ballantine Books
  • A History of My Brief Body, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Two Dollar Radio
  • The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard, John Birdsall, W. W. Norton & Company
  • Officer Clemmons: A Memoir, Dr. François S. Clemmons, Catapult

Lesbian Romance

  • Finding Jessica Lambert, Clare Ashton, Self-published
  • Nottingham, Anna Burke, Bywater Books
  • One More Chance, Ali Vali, Bold Strokes Books
  • Written in the Stars, Alexandria Bellefleur, Avon Books
  • Wrong Number, Right Woman, Jae, Ylva Publishing

Gay Romance

  • Finding Joy, Adriana Herrera, Self-published
  • Flower of Iowa, Lance Ringel, Distant Mirror Press
  • The Ghost and Charlie Muir, Felice Stevens, Self-published
  • Ink and Ice, Erin Colleen McRae & Racheline Maltese, Avian30
  • Two Rogues Make a Right, Cat Sebastian, Avon Impulse

LGBTQ Anthology

  • Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement, Ejeris Dixon & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, AK Press
  • Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World That Wouldn’t Die, dave ring, Neon Hemlock Press
  • Love after the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction, Joshua Whitehead, Arsenal Pulp Press
  • Non-Binary Lives: An Anthology of Intersecting Identities, Jos Twist, Ben Vincent, Meg-John Barker & Kat Gupta, Jessica Kingsley Publishers
  • We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics, Andrea Abi-Karam & Kay Gabriel, Nightboat Books

LGBTQ Children’s/Middle Grade

  • The Deep & Dark Blue, Niki Smith, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • From Archie to Zack, Vincent X. Kirsch, Abrams Books for Young Readers
  • A High Five for Glenn Burke, Phil Bildner, FSG Books for Young Readers
  • King and the Dragonflies, Kacen Callender, Scholastic
  • Our Subway Baby, Peter Mercurio & Leo Espinosa, Dial Books


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