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2023 Lambda Award Shortlist Finalists Announced

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The 2023 Lambda Finalists were just announced. The award has been championing LGBTQ+ books for more than 30 years. By highlighting the stories of queer people, the Lambda awards preserve and affirm queer culture and experiences, something that is vital in a time of attacks on queer personhood.

New executive director of Lambda Literary Samiya Bashir said “our writers represent our greatest culture creators. In a moment when our voices and our stories are being weaponized against our very lives across the country, supporting our storytellers — whether their media centers the page, the stage or the survey, is more critical by the day. Lambda Literary has embarked on a truly transformational year — growing its size and capacity to meet our cultural moment where our communities need us most.”

Seventy-five judges chose this year’s finalists, which were selected from a larger-than-usual pool of more than 1,350 submissions. Of the 24 award categories, Young Adult and Speculative Fiction accounted for the majority of the increase in submissions. The winners will be announced for the first time in person since 2019 at The Edison Ballroom in New York City on June. 9, 2023. The event can also be streamed. Tickets are available for purchase and will go towards supporting queer storytelling year round.

Here are the 2023 Lambda Finalists:

Lesbian Fiction

Big Girl by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (W.W. Norton & Company) 

Gods of Want by K-Ming Chang (One World)

Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda; translated by Sarah Booker (Coffee House Press)

Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley (Alfred A. Knopf)

Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield (Flatiron Books)

Gay Fiction

Call Me Cassandra by Marcial Gala; Translated from the Spanish by Anna Kushner (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Foghorn Echoes by Danny Ramadan (Canongate Books)

God’s Children Are Little Broken Things by Arinze Ifeakandu (A Public Space Books)

Hugs and Cuddles by João Gilberto Noll; Translated from Portuguese by Edgar Garbelotto (Two Lines Press)

My Government Means to Kill Me by Rasheed Newson (Flatiron Books)

Bisexual Fiction

Meet Us by the Roaring Sea by Akil Kumarasamy (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Mother Ocean Father Nation by Nishant Batsha (Ecco/HarperCollins)

Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste (S&S/Saga Press)

Roses, In the Mouth of a Lion by Bushra Rehman (Flatiron Books)

Stories No One Hopes Are About Them by A.J. Bermudez (The University of Iowa Press)

Transgender Nonfiction

Before We Were Trans: A New History of Gender by Kit Heyam (Basic Books)

Faltas: Letters to Everyone in My Hometown Who Isn’t My Rapist by Cecilia Gentili (LittlePuss Press)

Feral City: On Finding Liberation in Lockdown New York by Jeremiah Moss (W.W. Norton & Company)

The Terrible We: Thinking with Trans Maladjustment by Cameron Awkward-Rich (Duke University Press)

The Third Person by Emma Grove (Drawn & Quarterly)

LGBTQ+ Speculative Fiction

Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (Tor Books)

Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo (Tordotcom Publishing)

The Circus Infinite by Khan Wong (Angry Robot Books)

The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart (Ballantine)

The Wicked and the Willing: An F/F Gothic Horror Vampire Novel by Lianyu Tan (Shattered Scepter Press)

LGBTQ+ Young Adult

Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado (Sourcebooks Fire)

Funny Gyal: My Fight Against Homophobia in Jamaica by Angeline Jackson with Susan McClelland, foreword by Diana King (Dundurn Press Ltd.)

Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel & Friends)

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins)

The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson (Heartdrum/HarperCollins)

For a full list of finalists, make sure to visit Lambda Literary’s announcement page.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.