2020 Lambda Literary Award Winners Announced

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Laura Sackton

Senior Contributor

Laura Sackton is a queer book nerd and freelance writer, known on the internet for loving winter, despising summer, and going overboard with extravagant baking projects. In addition to her work at Book Riot, she reviews for BookPage and AudioFile, and writes a weekly newsletter, Books & Bakes, celebrating queer lit and tasty treats. You can catch her on Instagram shouting about the queer books she loves and sharing photos of the walks she takes in the hills of Western Mass (while listening to audiobooks, of course).

Lambda Literary, an organization supporting LGBTQ+ writers and championing LGBTQ+ literature, announced today the winners of the 32nd Lambda Literary Awards. These awards are given every year to outstanding books in over 20 categories across a broad range of genres. The 2020 winners represent the wide diversity of LGBTQ+ books being published today, and the many varying experiences and identities of LGBTQ+ writers. With 24 separate winners this year, you’ll be sure to find some incredible queer books to add to your TBR, whether you love memoir, poetry, fiction, drama, or romance. There are some beloved Book Riot favorites on the list, including How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones, The Deep by Rivers Solomon, and In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado.

In addition to the regular awards, three special awards were given to three authors for their particular contributions to LGBTQ+ literature and publishing. Poet Jericho Brown was awarded the Lambda Literary’s Trustee Award, which is given each year to a person who has “broken new ground in the field of LGBTQ literature and culture.” Playwright Jane Wagner was given the 2020 Visionary Award, which honors someone whose work and writing has contributed to the LGBTQ+ community in lasting, tangible ways. Brian Lam, president of Arsenal Pulp Press, received the 2020 Publishing Professional Award, which honors someone whose work in publishing has championed LGBTQ+ literature.

Because the actual awards ceremony was canceled this year to due COVID-19, you can watch many of the winners accepting their awards from home on Lambda Literary’s website. (I might have teared up a little watching Nicole Dennis-Benn accept the Best Lesbian Fiction award for Patsy.)

In addition to the Lambda Literary Awards and their many ongoing programs advocating for LGBTQ+ writers, Lambda is putting on a series of virtual events to celebrate Pride Month this year. You can view the full lineup here.

A few of the highlights of the 2020 Lambda Literary Awards include:

  • Lesbian Fiction: Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn
  • Gay Fiction: Lot by Bryan Washington
  • Bisexual Fiction: Exquisite Mariposa by Fiona Alison Duncan
  • Transgender Fiction: Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) by Hazel Jane Plante
  • Lesbian Poetry: & more black by t’ai freedom ford
  • Bisexual Poetry: Pet Sounds by Stephanie Young
  • LGBTQ Nonfiction: In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
  • LGBTQ Children’s/Middle Grade: Hazel’s Theory of Evolution by Lisa Benn Bigelow
  • LGBTQ Young Adult: The Grief Keeper by Alexandra Villasante
  • LGBTQ Comics: Cannonball by Kelsey Wroten
  • LGBTQ Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror: The Deep by Rivers Solomon

    Visit Lambda Literary for a complete list of the 2020 winners in all categories, including memoir, nonfiction, romance, mystery, drama, LGBTQ studies, anthologies, and erotica. And if you’re prepared for your TBR to really explode, check out all of the 2020 finalists.

    If you’re looking for more fantastic queer lit, check out this list of 40 of the Best Queer Books. Or maybe you’re in the mood for 31 Queer Books with Happy Endings. We’ve also got a few articles highlighting some of the past winners of the Lambda Awards. And, of course, our LGBTQ archives will keep you busy for a while.