By the time this post goes up we will know who won the Lambda Literary Award in all twenty-three categories in which it is given, including the winner for Children’s/YA LGBT Fiction.
In announcing the finalists for this year’s award, the Lambda Literary Foundation explained that for the fourth year in a row there was a record number of books nominated and a record number of publishers represented in those nominations. For the first time this year, the judges were encouraged to choose more finalists in categories that drew a large number of submissions.
I am absolutely thrilled that Personal Effects is one of the ten finalists
in the Children’s/YA LGBT category. But I am ecstatic that there were so many outstanding YA and children’s books nominated that the judges could chose ten finalists.
We talk a lot about the need for strong YA novels with lgbtq characters, books for kids on every part of the spectrum of coming out and living out, and for allies, and would be allies. We talk about the need for lgbtq kids to see themselves and their worlds in books, and books with hope and heart and depth. We talk about moving on a continuum to a place where lgbtq characters in books are common and ever-present. And we often have these conversations from the perspective of looking at how far we still have to go, how much more we wish was out there.
And yet the Lambda Literary Award has ten finalists for the award for children’s and YA literature precisely because of the number and strength of the nominated books.
Lambda Literary’s mission reads, “The Lambda Literary Foundation nurtures, celebrates, and preserves LGBT literature through programs that honor excellence, promote visibility and encourage development of emerging writers.” This year that includes ten nominated books for children and teens. Books that I have read and loved and discussed and re-read. Books I hope you will read and love and discuss and re-read for many years to come.
As I write this post on Sunday, June 2, 2013, we don’t know which book will win. And I am truly honored that Personal Effects is a finalist with so many amazing books. Books I respect and am happy to celebrate.
Whichever book receives the 2013 Lambda Literary Award, it represents a growing body of lgbtq work for adolescent readers that is worthy of hope and celebration, as is Lambda Literary and all it does to support that growing body of work and those who create it.
Congratulations to all of the finalists, to the winners, and to Lambda Literary Foundation for a job well done and truly appreciated.
** Personal Effects (Candlewick Press, 2012) is E. M. Kokie’s debut novel. As a lawyer, she loves a good story and a good debate. She likes to have the last word. She can be found online at www.emkokie.com , Twitter, Tumblrand Facebook.