The Publishing Triangle, the association of LGBTQ people in publishing, has announced thirty-five finalists for the 35th annual Triangle Awards, honoring the best LGBTQ books published in 2022. Included in the announcement are finalists in eight competitive categories and the winners of four prestigious awards.
The organization began honoring a writer for their body of work a few months after it was founded in 1989. It has since partnered with the Ferro-Grumley Literary Awards to present an impressive array of awards each spring.
Winners in the eight competitive categories will be announced on Thursday, April 27 at an in-person ceremony at the New School.
Patrick Califia is the 2023 recipient of the Publishing Triangle’s Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement, named in honor of the legendary editor of the 1970s and 1980s. Patrick Califia was born in 1954 to a working class, Mormon family, and has survived nearly seven decades of violence, discrimination, and prejudice directed against same-sex loving and differently gendered people. Prior to his gender transition at age 45, he was active in the lesbian S/M community and a grassroots organizer of early leatherdyke organizations like Samois, The Lesbian Sex Mafia, and International Ms. Leather. His early writings, like Sapphistry, Macho Sluts, and Public Sex were touchstones in the Feminist Sex Wars. He is the author of nearly a dozen works of fiction and nonfiction, and he has addressed a wide spectrum of issues related to the repression and stigmatization of pleasure and variant gender expression. His work as an author and editor includes ten years of writing an advice column for gay men in The Advocate and serving as the editor of that corporation’s erotic magazines. His books were targeted by Canadian Customs for seizure and destruction and he testified in the Little Sisters obscenity trial that expanded the boundaries of cultural information queer Canadians could access. He was also able to obtain a master’s degree and become a licensed therapist, which led to ten years of working in private practice, providing mental health services to sex and gender minorities. Today, he lives in Portland, Oregon, writes for Drummer magazine, and of course is working on a memoir.
Califia will receive a prize of $3000 with this award.
Crisosto Apache is the winner of the Publishing Triangle’s Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award, its prize for an LGBTQ writer who has published at least one book but not more than two.
Crisosto Apache is the author of two books: Ghostword (Gnashing Teeth, 2022) and GENESIS (Lost Alphabet, 2018). Originally from Mescalero, New Mexico (US), on the Mescalero Apache reservation, they currently live in the Denver metro area, with their spouse. They are an Assistant Professor of English at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, and they hold an MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts on Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Randy Ham, Executive Director of Odessa Arts in Odessa, Texas, and a judge for the Berzon award, said, “Crisosto has created work that is both intimately personal and yet universal. It was clear when reading the application and diving into their work, that we were reading something very special. Crisosto’s exploration of queerness, indigeneity and collective trauma is lyrical and nuanced. We look forward to seeing more from this great talent.”
Apache will receive a prize of $1500 with this award.
The Publishing Triangle began giving the Shilts-Grahn awards for nonfiction in 1997. Each winner receives $1000. The Judy Grahn Award honors the American writer, cultural theorist, and activist (b. 1940) best known for The Common Woman (1969), Another Mother Tongue (1984), and A Simple Revolution (2012). 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.
Finalists for the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction
Brown Neon, by Raquel Gutierrez (Coffee House Press)
A Cheerleader’s Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, by MB Cashetta (Engine Books)
Public Faces, Secret Lives: A Queer History of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, by Wendy L. Rouse (NYU Press)
Spy Daughter, Queer Girl: In Search of Truth and Acceptance in a Family of Secrets, by Leslie Absher (Latah Books)
The Randy Shilts Award honors the journalist whose groundbreaking work 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 significant influence upon the lives of queer men.
Finalists for the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction
Against the Wall: My Journey from Border Patrol Agent to Immigrant Rights Activist, by Jenn Budd (Heliotrope)
Boy with the Bullhorn: A Memoir and History of Act Up, by Ron Goldberg (Fordham University Press)
Reclaiming Two-Spirits: Sexuality, Spiritual Renewal and Sovereignty in Native America, by Gregory D. Smithers (Beacon Press)
A Union Like Ours: The Love Story of F.O Matthiesen and Russell Cheney, by Scott Bane (University of Massachusetts)
The Publishing Triangle established its poetry awards in 2001. Each winner receives $1000. The Audre Lorde Award 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 sixteen other books are Zami (1982) and A Burst of Light (1989).
Finalists for the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry
Beast at Every Threshold, by Natalie Wee (Arsenal Pulp Press)
Her Birth and Later Years: New and Collected Poems, 1971-2021, by Irena Klepfisz (Wesleyan University Press)
Urbanshee, by Siaara Freeman (Button Poetry)
Yearn, by Rage Hezekiah (Diode Editions)
The Thom Gunn Award honors the British poet Thom Gunn (1929–2004), who lived in San Francisco for much of his life. Gunn was the author of The Man with Night Sweats (1992) and many other acclaimed volumes. In its first four years, this award was known as the Triangle Award for Gay Poetry, and Mr. Gunn himself won the very first such prize, in 2001, for his Boss Cupid.
Finalists for the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry
Alive at the End of the World, by Saeed Jones (Coffee House Press)
Invisible History: The Collected Poems of Walta Borawski, edited by Philip Clark and Michael Bronski (Rebel Satori Press)
Madness, by Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué (Nightboat Books)
Mouth, Sugar and Smoke, by Eric Tran (Diode Editions)
The Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction, first presented in 2006, is named in honor of Edmund White, the esteemed novelist and man of letters who won the very first Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement, in 1989. The Edmund White Award celebrates the future of LGBTQ literature by awarding a prize to an outstanding first novel or story collection. The winner receives $1000.
Finalists for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction
Arribada, by Estela Gonzalez (Cynren Press)
Greenland, by David Santos Donalson, (Amistad/Harper Collins)
Little Rabbit, by Alyssa Songsiridej (Bloomsbury US)
Manywhere, by Morgan Thomas (MCD Books/Farrar, Straus Giroux)
Vagabonds!, by Eloghosa Osunde (Riverhead Books/Penguin)
The Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature was first presented in 2016. Works of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction by writers whose self-definition is gender-variant or non-gender-conforming compete for this prize; in addition, works of nonfiction that are primarily about the trans/gender-variant experience are eligible, even if co-written or solely written by cis people. The winner receives $1000.
Finalists for the Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature
Against Heaven, by Kemi Alabi (Graywolf)
Faltas: Letters to Everyone in My Hometown Who Isn’t My Rapist, by Cecilia Gentili (Little Puss Press)
stemmy things, by imogen xtian smith (Nightboat Books)
Togetherness, by Wo Chan (Nightboat Books)
The Joseph Hansen Award for LGBTQ Crime Writing
New this year, the Joseph Hansen Award for LGBTQ Crime Writing recognizes an outstanding work of crime fiction or nonfiction
This award honors the American novelist Joseph Hansen (1923 – 2004). Beginning with Fadeout (1970), Hansen’s groundbreaking mystetu series featuring Dave Brandstetter, a gay death claims investigator, introduced into crime fiction a queer protagonist who challenged the existing stereotype of queer characters as criminals, deviants, or victims.
In his lifetime, Hansen was widely acclaimed. The Los Angeles Times called him, “the most exciting and effective writer of the classic California private eye novel writing today.” In 1992, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Private Eye Writers of America.
Hansen won a Lambda Literary Award in the Gay Mystery category for A Country of Old Men, the eleventh book in the Brandsetter series.
The winner receives a prize of $1,000. Each year’s finalists were published in the preceding year.
Finalists for the Joseph Hansen Award for LGBTQ Crime Writing
1989: An Allie Burns Novel, by Val McDermid (Grove Atlantic)
Survivor’s Guilt, by Robyn Gigl (Kensington)
Vera Kelly Lost and Found, by Rosalie Knecht (Tin House)
The Verifiers, by Jane Pek (Knopf Doubleday Publishing)
The Ferro-Grumley Literary Awards, Inc., was established in 1988 to recognize, promote excellence in, and give greater access to fiction writing from queer points of view. To honor the memory of authors Robert Ferro (The Blue Star, Second Son, etc.) and Michael Grumley (Life Drawing, etc.), life partners who both died that year of AIDS, the group gave two awards, one for lesbian fiction and one for gay fiction, from 1990 through 2008. Starting in 2009, a single award, the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction, has been presented; it is bestowed by a specially constituted panel of judges selected from throughout the United States and Canada, from the arts, media, publishing, bookselling, and related fields. The winner receives $1000 as well as a summer residency at Art Workshop International in Assisi, Italy.
Finalists for the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction
Call Me Cassandra, by Marcial Gala, trans. Anna Kushner (Farrar Straus Giroux)
Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta, by James Hannaham (Little, Brown & Co.)
The Other Mother, by Rachel M. Harper (Counterpoint)
Brother Alive, by Zain Khalid (Grove Atlantic)
Junie, by Chelene Knight (Book*hug Press)
Big Girl, by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (Liveright/W.W Norton & Co)
The Publishing Triangle established its Leadership Award in 2002, specifically to honor contributions to LGBTQ literature by those who are not primarily writers, such as editors, agents, booksellers, and institution. This award will now be known as the Michele Karlsberg Leadership Award, honoring the work of the publicist and consultant Michele Karlsberg. Karlsberg was one of the Publishing Triangle’s first pair of co-chairs, and she was a founder of the queer publisher Amethyst Press. Her eponymous firm, Michele Karlsberg Marketing and Management, has worked with a bevy of queer authors, including Kate Clinton, Assoto Saint, Emanuel Xavier, Katherine Forrest, Jewelle Gomez, Wayne Hoffman, Dorothy Allison, and Felice Picano, just to name a few. Karlsberg won this award herself, in 2010. Starting in 2016, she has endowed the cash prize for this award.
Donnie Jochum and Greg Newton are the co-founders of the Bureau of General Services/Queer Division, established in 2012.
The Bureau of General Services/Queer Division, is an independent, all-volunteer queer cultural center, bookstore and event space hosted by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York City. The Bureau aims to foster a community invested in the value of mindfulness, intellectual curiousity, justice, compassion and playfulness. The Bureau seeks to excite and educate a self-confident, sex-positive, and supportive queer community by offering books, publications, and art, and by hosting readings, performances, film screenings, book discussion groups, and workshops. The Bureau provides local and visiting queers and friends with an open and inclusive space for dialogue and socializing.
On the evenings of April 25 and April 26 a group of finalists will participate in a live and virtual reading, hosted by the New York City–based bookshop Bureau of General Services/Queer Division. Also in the run-up to announcement of the winners in the competitive categories, videos from the winners of the Whitehead, Berzon, and Leadership Award will be posted on the Publishing Triangle website.