The Lambda Literary Awards has announced the finalists for its 34th edition, across 24 categories. There is only one African writer on the list—Nigeria’s Akwaeke Emezi. They are nominated in the category of “LGBTQ Non-fiction” for their spiritual memoir Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir.
The Lambda Awards, also known as the “Lammys,” were established in 1989 to garner national visibility for literary works about LGBTQ experiences. The 2022 edition received the most submissions in the awards history with over 2,300 titles.
This is Emezi’s third nomination, having secured previous nominations in the past years in the category of “Transgender Fiction” and “LGBTQ Young Adult. Dear Senthuran is Emezi’s debut memoir. Published by Riverhead Books in 2021, the book follows their “spiritual and physical journey from their early literary career to the present.” The title is a nod to Emezi’s Tamil heritage.
Previous nominees and winners of African descent include Chinelo Okparanta for Happiness, Like Water and Under the Udala Trees in 2014 and 2016 respectively, and Chiké Frankie Edozien for Lives of Great Men: Living & Loving As An African Gay Man in 2018, and in 2019 for his contribution to As You Like It: The Gerald Kraak Anthology African Perspectives on Gender, Social Justice, and Sexuality. Last year, the nominee list featured three Africans: Francesca Ekwuyasi, Sulaiman Addonia, and Romeo Oriogun.
Congratulations to Akwaeke Emezi!