By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Instructive ControversyThe Lambda Literary Awards named the program’s 2022 winners on Saturday evening (June 11) in a digital awards ceremony.
The 34th Lambda Literary Awards were presented in 24 categories, each of which was shortlisted with five contenders for a total 120 shortlisted books. You can see the entire list of finalists here. We’ll also have the awards ceremony below for you.
Some readers of Publishing Perspectives may know that some controversy has dogged the program this year. Author Lauren Hough saw her essay collection, Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing (Penguin Random House/Vintage, April 2021), removed from nomination for a Lambda award after she defended the work of another author, Sandra Newman–whose The Men (Grove Atlantic) is set to be published tomorrow, on Tuesday (June 14).
The story of the Hough nomination was covered on March 21 by The New York Times‘ culture desk reporter Marc Tracy. And, also at the Times, there’s an opinion piece, just out on Sunday (June 12) from Pamela Paul about the reception that Newman’s The Men, from Grove, has received from many who of course cannot have read the book because it hasn’t been released.
In The Men, everyone with a Y chromosome suddenly disappears. Significantly, Newman tells Paul that she has seen the novel as an “exclusionary fable.” Unfortunately, that might be a good phrase for what can happen in social media when critics swarm a work of literature that they haven’t read but feel entitled to attack for what they’ve heard makes it problematic. Pamela Paul writes that the critics of The Men were wrong: “This is in no way a transphobic novel.”
The Hough and Newman events offer a look at how overheated, punishing pile-ons online can have real impact. Paul writes, “What a sour irony that a dystopian fantasy brought a dark reality one step closer. In this frightful new world, books are maligned in hasty tweets, without even having been read, because of perceived thought crimes on the part of the author. Small but determined interest groups can gather gale force online and unleash scurrilous attacks on ideas they disapprove of or fear, and condemn as too dangerous even to explore.”
Both Marc Tracy’s article and Pamela Paul’s column–about some unfunny things that happened on the way to this year’s Lambda Literary Awards–are worth your consideration. As Paul concludes, “Most people don’t want to live in a world in which books are vilified without being read and their authors attacked ad hominem for the temerity of having written them. There’s an answer to attacks like these: Read the book.”
The 2022 Lambda Literary Awards
- We Want What We Want by Alix Ohlin, House Anansi Press
- Borealis by Aisha Sabatini Sloan, Coffee House Press
- Gumbo Ya Ya by Aurielle Marie, University of Pittsburgh Press
- 100 Boyfriends by Brontez Purnell, MCD x FSG Originals
- Punch Me Up to the Gods: A Memoir by Brian Broome, Mariner Books
- Punks: New and Selected Poems by John Keene, The Song Cave
- Excellent Sons: A Love Story in Three Acts by Larry Benjamin, Beaten Track Publishing
- Skye Falling by Mia McKenzie, Random House
- The One You Want to Marry (And Other Identities I’ve Had):A Memoir by Sophie Santos, TOPPLE Books
- Last Days by Tamiko Beyer, Alice James Books
- The Headmistress by Milena McKay, Self-Published
- Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought by Edited by Briona Simone Jones, The New Press
LGBTQ Children’s/Middle Grade
- Calvin by JR and Vanessa Ford, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
- Stone Fruit by Lee Lai, Fantagraphics Books
- Mrs. Harrison by R. Eric Thomas, TRW Plays
- Big Joe by Samuel R. Delany, Inpatient Press
- The Savage Kind by John Copenhaver, Pegasus Books
- Let the Record Show by Sarah Schulman, Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux
LGBTQ Speculative Fiction
- No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull, Blackstone Publishing
- Vice Patrol: Cops, Courts, and the Struggle over Urban Gay Life before Stonewall by Anna Lvovsky, University of Chicago Press
LGBTQ Young Adult
- The Heartbreak Bakery by A. R. Capetta, Candlewick Press
- Summer Fun by Jeanne Thornton, Soho Press
- Belly of the Beast: The Politics of Anti-Fatness as Anti-Blackness by Da’Shaun Harrison, North Atlantic Books
- Crossbones on My Life by Mason J, Nomadic Press
And here’s the digital awards ceremony provided to Publishing Perspectives from Saturday evening:
This is Publishing Perspectives’ 107th awards-related report produced in the 109 publication days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.
More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.