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Here are the finalists for the 2021 Lambda Literary Award.

Rasheeda Saka

March 15, 2021, 12:19pm

Today, Lambda Literary announced the finalists for its annual Award, which recognizes and celebrates the best queer fiction and nonfiction published in the last year.

The 120 finalists of the Prize, now in its 33rd year, were selected across 24 categories—Lesbian Fiction, Gay Fiction, Bisexual Fiction, Transgender Fiction, Bisexual Nonfiction, Transgender Nonfiction, LGBTQ Nonfiction, Lesbian Poetry, Gay Poetry, Bisexual Poetry, Transgender Poetry, Lesbian Memoir/Biography, Gay Memoir/Biography, Lesbian Romance, Gay Romance, LGBTQ Anthology, LGBTQ Children’s/Middle Grade, LGBTQ Young Adult, LGBTQ Comics, LGBTQ Drama, LGBTQ Erotica, LGBTQ Mystery, LGBTQ Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror, LGBTQ Studies—by a panel of over 60 literary professionals from more than 1,000 book submissions.

The winners will be announced on June 1, 2021 in a free virtual event; you can get tickets here.

Congrats to all!


2021 Lambda Literary Award Finalists


K-Ming Chang, Bestiary

Francesca Ekwuyasi, Butter Honey Pig Bread 

Jennifer Steil, Exile Music

Juli Delgado Lopera, Fiebre Tropical

Jean Kyoung Frazier, Pizza Girl 


Garth Greenwell, Cleanness    

Joon Oluchi Lee, Neotenica   

Brandon Taylor, Real Life

Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain 

Dennis E. Staples, This Town Sleeps


Elisabeth Thomas, Catherine House

C Pam Zhang, How Much of These Hills is Gold

Sulaiman Addonia, Silence Is My Mother Tongue 

Talia Hibbert, Take a Hint, Dani Brown 

Zaina Arafat, You Exist Too Much


Nino Cipri, Finna 

Chana Porter, The Seep

Vivek Shraya, The Subtweet

Zeyn Joukhadar, The Thirty Names of Night

Lydia Rogue, Trans-Galactic Bike Ride: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories of Transgender and Nonbinary Adventurers


Natasha Sajé, Terroir: Love, Out of Place

Emma Copley Eisenberg, The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia

Shayla Lawson, This Is Major: Notes of Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope

Alden Jones, The Wanting Was a Wilderness: Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and the Art of Memoir

Samantha Irby, Wow, No Thank You.: Essays


J Mase III & Dane Figueroa Edidi, The Black Trans Prayer Book

Meredith Talusan, Fairest: A Memoir

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, The Freezer Door

Linda Heidenreich, Nepantla Squared: Transgender Mestiz@ Histories in Times of Global Shift

Hil Malatino, Trans Care


Ruth Coker Burks, All the Young Men

Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué and Erich Kessel Jr.,An Excess of Quiet: Selected Sketches by Gustavo Ojeda, 1979–1989

Marty Fink, Forget Burial: HIV Kinship, Disability, and Queer/Trans Narratives of Care

Josephine Donovan, The Lexington Six: Lesbian and Gay Resistance in 1970s America

Ashon T. Crawley, The Lonely Letters


Roya Marsh, dayliGht

Sarah M. Sala, Devil’s Lake

Mary Jean Chan, Flèche

Pamela Sneed, Funeral Diva

Kimberly Alidio, : once teeth bones coral :


Tommye Blount, Fantasia for the Man in Blue

Eduardo C. Corral, Guillotine

Justin Phillip Reed, The Malevolent Volume

Romeo Oriogun, Sacrament of Bodies

Ted Rees, Thanksgiving: A Poem


George Abraham, Birthright

Meghan Privitello, One God at a Time

Aricka Foreman, Salt Body Shimmer

Jody Chan, sick

S*an D. Henry-Smith, Wild Peach


Aeon Ginsberg, Greyhound

Sade LaNay, I Love You and I’m Not Dead

Kay Ulanday Barrett, More Than Organs

Maxe Crandall, The Nancy Reagan Collection

Jay Besemer, Theories of Performance


Tania De Rozario, And The Walls Come Crumbling Down

Lori Soderlind, The Change: My Great American, Postindustrial, Midlife Crisis Tour

Tana Wojczuk, Lady Romeo: The Radical and Revolutionary Life of Charlotte Cushman, America’s First Celebrity

Jenn Shapland, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers

Nina Kennedy, Practicing for Love: A Memoir


Mohsin Zaidi, A Dutiful Boy: A Memoir of a Gay Muslim’s Journey to Acceptance

R. Eric Thomas, Here For It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America

Billy-Ray Belcourt, A History of My Brief Body

John Birdsall, The Man Who Ate Too Much: The Life of James Beard

Dr. François S. Clemmons, Officer Clemmons: A Memoir


Clare Ashton, Finding Jessica Lambert

Anna Burke, Nottingham

Ali Vali, One More Chance

Alexandria Bellefleur, Written in the Stars

Jae, Wrong Number, Right Woman


Adriana Herrera, Finding Joy

Lance Ringel, Flower of Iowa

Felice Stevens, The Ghost and Charlie Muir

Erin Colleen McRae & Racheline Maltese, Ink and Ice

Cat Sebastian, Two Rogues Make a Right


Ejeris Dixon & Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement

dave ring, Glitter + Ashes: Queer Tales of a World That Wouldn’t Die

Joshua Whitehead, Love after the End: An Anthology of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Speculative Fiction

os Twist, Ben Vincent, Meg-John Barker & Kat Gupta, Non-Binary Lives: An Anthology of Intersecting Identities

Andrea Abi-Karam & Kay Gabriel, We Want It All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics


Niki Smith, The Deep & Dark Blue

Vincent X. Kirsch, From Archie to Zack

Phil Bildner, A High Five for Glenn Burke

Kacen Callender, King and the Dragonflies

Peter Mercurio, Our Subway Baby


L.C. Rosen, Camp

Mike Curato, Flamer

Trung Le Nguyen, The Magic Fish

Agnes Borinsky, Sasha Masha

Leah Johnson, You Should See Me in a Crown


Bishakh Som, Apsara Engine

Sophie Yanow, The Contradictions

Yao Xiao, Everything Is Beautiful, and I’m Not Afraid: A Baopu Collection

Tina Horn, Michael Dowling, Alejandra Gutiérrez & Jen Hickman, SFSX (Safe Sex), Vol. 1: Protection

Bishakh Som, Spellbound: A Graphic Memoir


Jacqueline Goldfinger, Babel

Yilong Liu, The Book of Mountains and Seas

Liza Birkenmeier & Jill Sobule, F*ck7thGrade

Sarah Einspanier, House Plant

R. Eric Thomas, Safe Space


Sinclair Sexsmith, Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year, Volume 5

Anne Shade, Femme Tales

Lena Suksi, The Nerves

Andrea Purcell, Smut Peddler Presents: Silver

Kel Hardy, Smut Peddlers: Glad Day 50


A.E. Radley, Death Before Dessert

Cheryl A. Head, Find Me When I’m Lost

Stephen Spotswood, Fortune Favors the Dead

Tom Ryan, I Hope You’re Listening

Rosalie Knecht, Vera Kelly Is Not a Mystery


Rebecca Roanhorse, Black Sun

Julian K. Jarboe, Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel

Zen Cho, The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water

Tlotlo Tsamaase, The Silence of the Wilting Skin

Aaron A. Reed, Subcutanean


Zakiyyah Iman Jackson, Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World

Cait McKinney, Information Activism: A Queer History of Lesbian Media Technologies

José Esteban Muñoz, The Sense of Brown

Janet R. Jakobsen, The Sex Obsession: Perversity and Possibility in American Politics

Jane Ward, The Tragedy of Heterosexuality

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