The shortlist for the 2020 LAMBDA Literary Awards have just been announced, and it sees a robust representation of writers from Africa and the Caribbean.
Akwaeke Emezi’s Pet is nominated in the LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult category and South Africa-born author Deborah Levy’s The Man Who Saw Everything is nominated in the category of Bisexual Fiction and American
W. Ian Bourland’s Bloodflowers: Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Photography, and the 1980s, which is a commentary on the life of Nigeria’s pioneering photographer whose work had a queer aesthetic, made the shortlist as did The Heart of the Matter: The Gerald Kraak Anthology Vol III, by The Other Foundation. We proud to share that Brittle Paper’s Deputy Editor wrote the foreword in the collection, which he also helped edit.
Also on the shortlist are Jamaican authors Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Patsy and Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which appear in the categories of Lesbian Fiction and LGBTQ Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror respectively.
Organized by Lambda Literary, the US’ oldest and largest literary arts organization advancing LGBTQ literature, the LAMBDA Literary Awards, currently in its 32nd year, “celebrate achievement in LGBTQ writing” across 24 categories. The shortlists—from more than 1,000 submissions and over 300 publishers—were selected by a panel of over 60 literary professionals.
“LGBTQ visibility has increased and the general public’s understanding of the queer community has deepened,” says Sue Landers, the Executive Director of Lambda Literary. “Yet in many places in this world right now, it is still dangerous to be LGBTQ, which makes it all the more important to write and share our stories so that queer life can be better understood and celebrated.”
Previously shortlisted or winning African works include Chinelo Okparanta’s short story collection Happiness Like Water and novel Under the Udala Trees, both in the category of Best Lesbian Fiction in 2014 and 2016 respectively, Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, edited by Makhosazana Xaba and Karen Martin, which won Best LGBTQ Anthology in 2014, Chike Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men which won Best Gay Memoir in 2018. In 2019, Trifonia Melibea Obono’s La Bastarda earned a nomination in the Lesbian Fiction category, Nigerians Uzodinma Iweala’s Speak No Evil and Akwaeke Emezi’s Freshwater nominated for the Gay Fiction and Transgender Fiction categories respectively, and As You Like It: The Gerald Kraak Anthology Volume II, won the Best Fiction Anthology.
Winners will be announced in a ceremony held online in June 2020.
Congratulations to the authors!
Note: This post has been updated to reflect changes to the award ceremony.