The finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards are announced by the Lambda Literary Foundation (LLF) in Los Angeles. Books from major mainstream publishers, from academic presses, from both long-established and new GlBT publishers, as well as from emerging publish-on-demand technologies, make up the 687 submissions for the “Lammys.”
The finalists were selected from a record number of submissions, and, for the first time, the judges were encouraged to choose more finalists in those categories that drew a large number of submissions.
Now in their twenty-fifth year, the Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender writing for books published in 2012. Winners will be announced during a ceremony on Monday evening, June 3, 2013, at The Great Hall at Cooper Union in New York City.
Lambda Literary Foundation set a new record in 2013 for both the number of GLBT books submitted for Lammy consideration, 687, and the number of publishers participating, 332. This beats the record-setting numbers in 2012 of 600 titles by over 250 publishers and is the fourth consecutive year of growth in submissions and publishers. “For four consecutive years we have broken the records for both book nominees and publishers, which is extremely heartening in a time of uncertainty for the publishing industry as a whole, and GLBT publishing, in particular,” said LLF Board Member and 2013 Lammy Co-Chair, S. Chris Shirley.
More than ninety literary professionals, including booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, authors, and previous Lammy winners and finalists volunteered countless hours of reading, critical thinking, and invigorating discussion to select the finalists in twenty-two categories. “The Lambda Awards are made possible, year after year, because of the dedication of volunteer judges who read, carefully consider, and deliberate on submitted books before selecting our finalists,” said Lambda Literary Executive Director, Tony Valenzuela. “Because of their efforts, this day is a celebration of our community’s finest literature. Congratulations to all our nominated authors and publishers!”
One of the extraordinary books nominated is Dylan Edwards’ nonfiction graphic novel “Transposes” - which explores the life stories of seven transgender men who also happen to be gay, bisexual, or otherwise non-straight - in the category of Transgender Nonfiction.
“Transposes” is an amazing window into the lives of these men, both the major events in their lives and the day-to-day ones, and paints a wonderfully human portrait. The book features a foreword by “New York Times” best-selling author Alison Bechdel, who was also nominated for a Lambda for her memoir “Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama.”
“Back when I first started making comics in 2000,” said Edwards, “I sent a few of my creations to Alison Bechdel. I was a big fan of her work, and was seeking advice on how to advance my comics career. She did me the honor of writing me back, said she enjoyed my work, and told me to get a blurb from the most famous person I knew. ‘Ahem,’ I said.”
“Fast forward a few years, and Alison’s book ‘Fun Home’ had become a huge success,” Edwards continued. “Beacon Press contacted Alison for recommendations of cartoonists who might be interested in creating original nonfiction graphic works, and she pointed them to me. Together, Beacon’s editors and I came up with the idea for a book about queer-identified female-to-male transgender men. Although Beacon unfortunately had to close their graphic book department, I still benefitted greatly from the insights offered by their editors, and their work unquestionably made ‘Transposes’ a stronger book. I approached Zan Christensen of Northwest Press to see if he’d be interested in picking up the book. He agreed, and here we are.”
“The Lambda nomination is definitely very exciting,” said Edwards. “It’s the first time my comics have been nominated for an award, and for my first one to be as prestigious as the Lambda Literary Awards is very thrilling. I think they make us fight in a pit to determine the winner? Or maybe I’m thinking of something else. I’ll be sure to wear my spiky armor to the ceremony just in case.”
“‘Transposes’ took me four years to create, but it won’t take you four years to read,” Edwards jokes. “You can probably finish it in one sitting. You’ll get to meet seven real men who generously shared their life stories with me so I could share them with you in the form of cartoon vignettes. The comics medium allows you to watch as their physical appearance changes, and allows a certain freedom from the burden that pronouns can impose on the life stories of transpeople. Whether you’re reading to learn about this specific topic, or looking for reflections of yourself in the culture, I hope you enjoy what you find in ‘Transposes.’”
In addition to “Transposes,” Justin Hall’s “No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics,” published by Fantagraphics Books, was nominated for a Lambda Award. The book also features work by Edwards, as well as excerpts from Northwest Press books “Teleny and Camille” and “A Waste of Time.” The full list of nominees is available on the Lambda Literary Foundation website, www.lambdaliterary.org.
“Transposes” is 128 pages, retails for $19.99 and is published by Northwest Press, which publishes graphic novels and comics collections by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender comics creators.