The most glamorous night of the LGBTQ literary world — The Lambda Literary Awards, commonly referred to as “The Lammys” — is upon us once more, taking place June 12 at NYU’s Skirball Center in Manhattan. Considering there are few opportunities to honor the life-affirming impact and utmost importance of telling queer stories, The Lammys stand alone in their mission: to celebrate the year’s best LGBTQ works of literature and affirm that, yes, our stories are part of the larger literary landscape.
The Lammys’ 29th annual celebration will be hosted by the inimitable Mx Justin Vivian Bond (pictured above alongside Alan Cumming at the 2015 awards), a trans-genre New York activist-artist — best known for decades of thrilling stage work — who won a Lambda Literary Award for the memoir Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels in 2012. Bond will no doubt bring biting wit and a raconteur spirit to the evening’s proceedings.
Among the night’s big award recipients are two women who have advanced queer literature in various circles. Jacqueline Woodson — recipient of this year’s Lambda Visionary Award — is no stranger to awards (the Coretta Scott King Award, National Book Award and NAACP Image Award among them). She was renowned for her 2014 work Brown Girl Dreaming, a bestseller, and is currently seeing recognition for her latest novel, Another Brooklyn, which is itself nominated for the Lambda Literary Award. Woodson will be introduced at The Lammys by none other than Sex and the City and Broadway actress Cynthia Nixon.
Jeanette Winterson — this year’s Trustee Award recipient — is a multi-award-winning British author most renowned for very first work, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, which she wrote at 24. Winterson is also a professor at Princeton and sits on the board of The New York Foundation for The Arts, Poets and Writers.
“The extraordinary work of this year’s special honorees has made a deep impact, not just on LGBTQ culture, but on American and British culture, inspiring readers and writers on both sides of the Atlantic,” says Tony Valenzuela, Lambda Literary’s executive director. “We are privileged to celebrate their tremendous contributions at this year’s Lammy Awards.”
Among the night’s award presenters to authors of 23 varying LGBTQ literary categories — ranging from fiction to erotica to graphic novels — are a wide range of columnists, politicians, filmmakers, performance artists and comedians. Some of the night’s more memorable names include The New York Times’ Frank Bruni, activist and author Cleve Jones and the hilarious Tig Notaro.
Tickets to the Lambda Literary Awards (available here) include access to the ceremony plus an open-bar after-party at Le Poisson Rouge. Specially priced VIP tickets include a catered cocktail reception beforehand and priority seating during the ceremony.
No other organization promotes the importance of LGBTQ literature as does Lambda Literary, and no other night offers this integral segment of our queer world such a welcome reception. The Guardian once said of the awards, “Steeped as they are in celebrity and ceremony, the Lammys aren’t as stuffy or straight as many LGBT awards shows often are: they were unabashedly, gleefully queer, representing the many facets of queer life.”
Here’s hoping The Lammys remain an annual queer tradition for many years to come.
Photos courtesy of Lambda Literary