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The Publishing Triangle's 31st Annual Triangle Awards
2019-04-26

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April 25, 2019—The 31st annual Triangle Awards, honoring the best LGBTQ fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and trans literature published in 2018, were presented this evening at the New School's Auditorium ( 66 West 12 Street, New York City ) at 7 p.m. Sponsored by Farrar, Straus and Giroux and HarperCollins, with additional support from Grove Atlantic, the ceremony was free and open to the public, with a reception afterward.

The Publishing Triangle, the association of LGBTQ people in publishing, began honoring a LGBTQ writer for his or her body of work a few months after the organization was founded in 1988, and has now partnered with the Ferro-Grumley Literary Awards and the New School's Creative Writing Program to present an impressive array of awards each spring.

***

The Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction was established in 1988 to recognize, promote excellence in, and give greater access to fiction writing from lesbian and gay points of view. The award, which has widened to embrace work involving bisexuals and trans people, honors the memory of authors Robert Ferro ( The Blue Star, Second Son ) and Michael Grumley ( Life Drawing ), life partners who died that year of AIDS, within weeks of each other. The winner receives a prize of $1000 as well as a two-week residency at Art Workshop International in Assisi, Italy. Judges are selected from throughout the U.S. and Canada, from the arts, media, publishing, bookselling, and related fields. The award was presented by Stephen Greco, head of the Ferro-Grumley Literary Awards, and Malaga Baldi, one of this year's judges.

Winner: Drapetomania, by John R. Gordon ( Team Angelica )

Finalists for the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction

Eden, by Andrea Kleine ( Houghton Mifflin Harcourt )

The Evolution of Love, by Lucy Jane Bledsoe ( Rare Bird )

A Ladder to the Sky, by John Boyne ( Hogarth/Crown )

Tin Man, by Sarah Winman ( Putnam )

***

The Publishing Triangle began giving the Shilts-Grahn awards for nonfiction in 1997. Each winner receives $1000. Jill Dearman and John Loughery, two of this year's judges, presented these prizes.

The Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction honors the American writer, cultural theorist and activist ( b. 1940 ) best known for A Simple Revolution ( 2012 ) and Another Mother Tongue ( rev. ed., 1984 ). It recognizes the best nonfiction book of the year by or about lesbians, bisexual women, and/or trans women, or that has a significant influence upon the lives of queer women.

Winner: Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, by Imani Perry ( Beacon Press )

Finalists for the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction

Black, Queer, Southern, Women: An Oral History, by E. Patrick Johnson ( University of North Carolina Press )

Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha ( Arsenal Pulp Press )

The Lesbian South: Southern Feminists, the Women in Print Movement, and the Queer Literary Canon, by Jaime Harker ( University of North Carolina Press )

The Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction honors the journalist whose groundbreaking reporting on the AIDS epidemic for the San Francisco Chronicle made him a hero to many in the community. Shilts ( 1951—1994 ) was the author of The Mayor of Castro Street, And the Band Played On, and Conduct Unbecoming. This award recognizes the best nonfiction book of the year by or about gay men, bisexual men, and/or trans men or that has a significant influence upon the lives of queer men.

Winner: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, by Alexander Chee ( Houghton Mifflin Harcourt )

Finalists for the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction

Harvey Milk, by Lillian Faderman ( Yale University Press )

The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, by Jeffrey C. Stewart ( Yale University Press )

Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation, by Robert W. Fieseler ( Liveright/W. W. Norton )

The Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature was first presented in 2016. This prize honors new works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from the non-gender-conforming, non-binary community. The winner gets a prize of $1000. Chase Berggrun, the author of R.E.D, presented the award.

Winner: Some Animal, by Ely Shipley ( Nightboat Books )

Finalists for the Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Fiction

Confessions of the Fox, by Jordy Rosenberg ( One World/Random House )

Holy Wild, by Gwen Benaway ( Bookthug Press )

The Soul of the Stranger, by Joy Ladin ( Brandeis University Press )

The Publishing Triangle's Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction was first presented in 2006. This prize, which highlights the Triangle's ongoing commitment to emerging LGBTQ talent, carries an honorarium of $1000. Martin Hyatt, a past winner of this award ( A Scarecrow's Bible, 2007 ), presented the prize.

Winner: The House of Impossible Beauties, by Joseph Cassara ( Ecco/HarperCollins )

Finalists for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction

Freshwater, by Akwaeke Emezi ( Grove Press )

Heartland, by Ana Simo ( Restless Books )

That Was Something, by Dan Callahan ( Squares and Rebels )

The Publishing Triangle established its poetry awards in 2001. Jerome Murphy of the NYU Creative Writing Program and Christina Quintana, a playwright and poet, presented these awards, which carry a prize of $1000 apiece.

The Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry honors the author of The Man with Night Sweats ( 1992 ), Boss Cupid ( 2000; the winner of the very first Triangle Award for Gay Male Poetry ), and other works. The British-born Gunn, a longtime resident of San Francisco, died in 2004, at the age of seventy-four. This award was renamed in his honor in 2005.

Winner: Not Here, by Hieu Minh Nguyen ( Coffee House Press )

Finalists for the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry

Cenzontle, by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo ( BOA Editions )

Forgive the Body This Failure, by Blas Falconer ( Four Way Books )

Luminous Debris: New and Selected Legerdemain, 1992—2017, by Timothy Liu ( Barrow Street Press )

The Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry honors the American poet, essayist, librarian, and teacher. Lorde ( 1934—1992 ) was nominated for the National Book Award for From a Land Where Other People Live and was the poet laureate of New York State in 1991. She received the Publishing Triangle's Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement shortly before her death. Among her other sixteen books are Zami ( 1982 ) and A Burst of Light ( 1989 ).

Winner: Rest, by Margaree Little ( Four Way Books )

Finalists for the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry

Autobiography of a Wound, by Brynne Rebele-Henry ( University of Pittsburgh Press )

High Ground Coward, by Alicia Mountain ( University of Iowa Press )

Mosaic of the Dark, by Lisa Dordal ( Black Lawrence Press )

***

For the third time, the Publishing Triangle presented the Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award, its prize for an LGBTQ writer who has published at least one book but not more than two. This year's honoree is Julian Randall. The recipient of a Pushcart Prize, Randall is from Chicago. He is a fellow of Cave Canem, Callaloo, BOAAT and the Watering Holes. His poetry has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, and Poetry and anthologized in Bettering American Poetry, Nepantla, and Furious Flower. Randall holds an MFA in Poetry from Ole Miss. His first book, Refuse ( University of Pittsburgh Press ), won the 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the NAACP Image Award in Poetry. In bestowing this award, the judges said, "Although still very early in his career, Julian Randall is already changing the form and accessibility of poetry. From a searing personal journey to find his place in the world, he forces us to assess our own standing, and, perhaps more important, ask the hard questions about the fabric of society itself." Randall will receive a prize of $1500 with this award.

Teresa DeCrescenzo, the widow of Betty Berzon, presented the award to Randall.

***

Jaime Manrique is the 2019 recipient of the Publishing Triangle's Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement, named in honor of the legendary editor of the 1970s and 1980s. Manrique is a Colombian-born novelist, poet, essayist, and translator who writes both in English and Spanish. His work has been translated into fifteen languages. Among his publications in English are five novels: Colombian Gold, Latin Moon in Manhattan, Twilight at the Equator, Our Lives Are the Rivers, and Cervantes Street. He has also published the memoir Eminent Maricones: Arenas, Lorca, Puig, and Me. Manrique's selected poems were published in Spanish in 2016.

Manrique's honors include Colombia's National Poetry Award, a 2007 International Latino Book Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has taught at Columbia University's MFA program in creative writing and is currently a distinguished lecturer in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at the City College of New York. Manrique's sixth novel, Like This Afternoon Forever, will be published in June 2019 by Kaylie Jones Books/Akashic Books. He has another new novel in the works, entitled The Rooster from Aracataca.

The Bill Whitehead Award is given to a male-identified writer in odd-numbered years and to a female-identified writer in even years, and the winner receives $3000. Peter Cameron, the novelist, presented the award to Manrique.

***

The Publishing Triangle presented its special Leadership Award to Paul Willis. Created in 2002, this award recognizes contributions to LGBTQ literature by those who are not primarily writers, such as editors, agents, librarians, and institutions.

Paul Willis established the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans in 2003. Now in its sixteenth year, the festival has grown into an internationally recognized event that brings together a who's who of LGBTQ publishers, writers, and readers from throughout the United States and beyond. Under Willis's direction, the festival now includes annual contests in short story, poetry, and playwriting, as well as an emerging writer award. In addition, he integrated Saints and Sinners with the larger Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, and serves as the executive director of both these festivals. Through Willis's leadership, Saints and Sinners is not simply an LGBTQ literary conference but a true community.

For his long-standing commitment to nurture the best in LGBTQ literature, the Publishing Triangle has bestowed this prize on Willis. Thomas Keith, an editor and Tennessee Williams scholar, presented the award, which comes with a prize of $500.


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