Lambda Literary Awards

African and African American writers feature as finalists at the Lambda Literary Awards 2021 announced today, March 15, 2021.

The Lambda Literary Awards, or the “Lammys,” as they are known are an award of Lambda Literary, the oldest and largest literary arts organization advancing LGBTQ literature in the United States. Awards are handed out in categories around fiction, poetry, mystery, memoir/biography, romance, graphic novels, anthologies, and studies. These are subdivided to the areas of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and LGBTQ. Previous winners include Chike Frankie Edozien for Lives of Great Men in 2018, and Chinelo Okparanta twice for Under The Udala Tree in 2016 and for Happiness, Like Water in 2014.

The finalists for this year’s award were selected by a panel of over 60 literary professionals from more than 1,000 book submissions from over 300 publishers. Here are the categories with Africans and African Americans in the running;

Lesbian Fiction

  • Butter Honey Pig Bread, Francesca Ekwuyasi, Arsenal Pulp Press

Gay Fiction

  • Real Life, Brandon Taylor, Riverhead Books

Bisexual Fiction

  • Catherine House, Elisabeth Thomas, Custom House
  • Silence Is My Mother Tongue, Sulaiman Addonia, Graywolf Press
  • Take a Hint, Dani Brown, Talia Hibbert, Avon Books

Bisexual Nonfiction

  • This Is Major: Notes of Diana Ross, Dark Girls, and Being Dope, Shayla Lawson, Harper Perennial
  • Wow, No Thank You.: Essays, Samantha Irby, Vintage

Transgender Nonfiction

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

LGBTQ Nonfiction

  • An Excess of Quiet: Selected Sketches by Gustavo Ojeda, 1979–1989, Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué and Erich Kessel Jr., Soberscove Press
  • The Lonely Letters, Ashon T. Crawley, Duke University Press

Lesbian Poetry

  • dayliGht, Roya Marsh, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Funeral Diva, Pamela Sneed, City Lights Books

Gay Poetry

  • Fantasia for the Man in Blue, Tommye Blount, Four Way Books
  • The Malevolent Volume, Justin Phillip Reed, Coffee House Press
  • Sacrament of Bodies, Romeo Oriogun, University of Nebraska Press

Bisexual Poetry

  • Salt Body Shimmer, Aricka Foreman, YesYes Books

Transgender Poetry

  • I Love You and I’m Not Dead, Sade LaNay, Argos Books

Gay Memoir/Biography

  • Here For It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America, R. Eric Thomas, Ballantine Books
  • Officer Clemmons: A Memoir, Dr. François S. Clemmons, Catapult

LGBTQ Anthology

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

LGBTQ Children’s/Middle Grade

  • King and the Dragonflies, Kacen Callender, Scholastic

LGBTQ Young Adult

  • You Should See Me in a Crown, Leah Johnson, Scholastic


  • Safe Space, R. Eric Thomas, Single Carrot Theatre

LGBTQ Erotica

  • Femme Tales, Anne Shade, Bold Strokes Books

LGBTQ Mystery

  • Find Me When I’m Lost, Cheryl A. Head, Bywater Books

LGBTQ Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror

  • The Silence of the Wilting Skin, Tlotlo Tsamaase, Pink Narcissus Press

LGBTQ Studies

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

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 1, 2021.