The Publishing Triangle, the association of LGBTQ+ people in publishing, today announced thirty-seven finalists for the 36th annual Publishing Triangle Awards, honoring the best LGBTQ+ books published in 2023. Included in the announcement are finalists in nine competitive categories, including the new Jacqueline Woodson Award for LGBTQ+ Young Adult and Children’s Literature, and the winners of four other prestigious awards.

Winners in the nine competitive categories will be announced on Wednesday, April 17 at an in-person ceremony beginning at 7:00 PM at The New School, 63 Fifth Avenue, New York City. The ceremony, which will be hosted by poet and activist Emanuel Xavier, will also be livestreamed, and a reception will follow. The awards ceremony and reception are both free and open to the public.


Dorothy Allison is the 2024 recipient of the Publishing Triangle’s Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement.  This award celebrates the recipient’s lifetime of work and commitment to fostering queer culture. The winner receives $3000, one of the largest cash prizes in LGBTQ+ letters.

Allison is the author of a number of books, including Bastard Out of Carolina, a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award and winner of the Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction in 1993. Bastard Out of Carolina is also in 29th place on The Publishing Triangle’s list of the 100 Best LGBTQ+ novels, which was compiled in the late 1990s.

Beyond her significant personal accomplishments, Allison is also well known throughout the literary community for her support for and encouragement of her fellow writers.

“As we discussed several worthy nominees for this award, the members of the committee kept coming back to Dorothy Allison,” said David Groff, coordinator of the Whitehead Award Selection Committee. “Her selection as the recipient of the award is a reflection not only of her consistent literary excellence, but of the important role she has played in the queer literary community.”

Dorothy Allison will be the 36th recipient of this prestigious award, which was first presented in 1989 to the writer Edmund White.


Hilary Zaid 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.

She is the author of two books: Forget I Told You This: A Novel (Zero Street Books, 2023), and Paper Is White (Bywater Books, 2018). Forget I Told You This was also the inaugural winner of the Barbara DiBernard Award for Fiction.

“Hilary Zaid impresses with the variety of her writing — her two novels are fiction, but in different genres, and she has published both nonfiction and short fiction,” noted the Berzon Award judges, who added that they also commended her dedication to mentoring developing writers.

This award is funded by Teresa DeCrescenzo, Betty Berzon’s widow, in memory of the author and pioneering psychotherapist.


The Publishing Triangle Torchbearer Award for 2024 will be presented to Emily Drabinski, president of the American Library Association. The award, now in its second year, is given to organizations or individuals who strive to awaken, encourage, and support a love of reading, or to stimulate an interest in and an appreciation of LGBTQ literature.

Photo by Alisha Jucevic,

In addition to leading the ALA, Drabinski is Associate Professor at the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. She publishes and presents widely on topics related to knowledge organization, information literacy, and critical perspectives in librarianship. Drabinski edits Gender and Sexuality in Information Studies, a book series from Library Juice Press/Litwin Books and is a contributing writer at Truthout.

 “Today, literature is under attack, and libraries are our first line of defense,” said Carol Rosenfeld, Chair of the Publishing Triangle. “Emily Drabinski’s leadership of the American Library Association and her fearlessness in standing up for the marginalized in our society are inspiring. She is truly worthy of receiving this award.”

The inaugural Torchbearer Award was presented in 2023 to Drag Story Hour NYC. It is funded by Rob Byrnes.


This year’s Michele Karlsberg Leadership Award will be given to Kris Kleindienst, owner of Left Bank Books in St. Louis, Missouri. This award honors contributions to LGBTQ literature by those who are not primarily writers, such as editors, agents, booksellers, and institutions, and is funded with the support of Michele Karlsberg, head of the eponymous marketing and publicity firm with an emphasis on members of the LGBTQ+ writing community.

“Kris Kleindienst’s unwavering dedication to the world of literature and social justice is an inspiration to us all,” said Karlsberg. “For five decades, her commitment to fostering community through the power of books has left an indelible mark on both the literary landscape and the hearts of those she serves. Kris embodies the spirit of resilience, integrity, and compassion, and her legacy at Left Bank Books stands as a testament to her profound impact. Here’s to 50 years of enriching minds and empowering voices—a remarkable milestone achieved with grace, passion, and unwavering devotion.”


Finalists for the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ Fiction, which is administered in conjunction with the Ferro-Grumley Foundation, are:

  • Chain-Gang All-Stars, by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Penguin Random House)
  • Dandelion Daughter, by Gabrielle Boulianne-Tremblay, translated by Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch (Esplanade Books)
  • Girlfriends, by Emily Zhou (LittlePuss Press)
  • Pomegranate, by Helen Elaine Lee (Atria Books)
  • Wound, by Oksana Vasyakina, translated by Elina Alter (Catapult Books)


Finalists for the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction are:

  • After Sappho, by Selby Wynn Schwartz (Liveright)
  • And Then He Sang a Lullaby, by Ani Kayode Somtochukwu (Grove Atlantic)
  • Churn: A Novel in Stories, by Chloe Chun Seim (Texas Review Press: The University Press of Sam Houston State University)
  • Our Hideous Progeny, by C. E. McGill (HarperCollins)


Finalists for the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction are:

  • The Famous Lady Lovers: Black Women and Queer Desire Before Stonewall, by Cookie Woolner (University of North Carolina Press)
  • Hijab Butch Blues,  by Lamya H (The Dial Press)
  • Suffering Sappho!: Lesbian Camp in American Popular Culture, by Barbara Jane Brickman (Rutgers University)
  • We the Parasites, by A.V. Marraccini (Sublunary Editions)

The writer Judy Grahn, namesake of this award, is expected to be at the Awards Ceremony on April 17 to personally present the award to the winner.


Finalists for the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction are:

  • Boyslut: A Memoir and Manifesto, by Zachary Zane (Abrams Image, an imprint of Abrams Books)
  • Kids on the Street: Queer Kinship and Religion in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, by Joseph Plaster (Duke University Press)
  • Leg: The Story of a Limb and the Boy Who Grew From It, by Greg Marshall (Abrams Books)
  • Queer Callings: Untimely Notes on Names and Desires, by Mark D. Jordan (Fordham University Press)

This award and the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction are underwritten by Joseph Denneny, brother of Michael Denneny, the legendary gay editor who provided funding for the awards through the Shilts-Copyright Trust for many years until his death in 2023.


Finalists for the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry are:

  • Four in Hand by Alicia Mountain (BOA Editions)
  • Have You Been Long Enough At Table by Leslie Sainz (Tin House)
  • I Am the Most Dangerous Thing by Candace Williams (Alice James Books)
  • motherworld: a devotional for the alter-life by Destiny Hemphill (Action Books)


Finalists for the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry are:

  • Pig by Sam Sax (Scribner)
  • Poem Bitten by a Man by Brian Teare (Nightboat Books)
  • To the Boy Who Was Night by Rigoberto González (Four Way Books)
  • Trace Evidence by Charif Shanahan (Tin House)


Finalists for the Leslie Feinberg Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature are:

  • Adult Human Male, by Oliver Radclyffe (Unbound Edition Press)
  • Girlfriends, by Emily Zhou (LittlePuss Press)
  • On Community, by Casey Plett (Biblioasis)
  • Sinister Wisdom 128: Trans/Feminisms, by Talia Bettcher, Marci Blackman,  Claudia Sofia Garriga-Lopez, Cecilia Gentili, Kris Grey, Shereen Imayatulla, Nadine Rodriguez, Cassidy Scanlon, Catalina Schliebener Munoz, Red Washburn, Fitch Wilder, and Sarah Youngblood Gregory (Sinister Wisdom)

This is the first year the award has been named in honor of Leslie Feinberg, the author and trans activist who died in 2014. The award prize is funded by the author Daniel Handler (widely known by his pen name “Lemony Snicket”) and his wife, the illustrator and writer Lisa Brown.


Finalists for the Joseph Hansen Award for LGBTQ+ Crime Writing are:

  • BeatNikki’s Cafe, by Renee James (Amble Press/Bywater Books)
  • The Lost Americans, by Christopher Bollen (HarperCollins)
  • Remain Silent, by Robyn Gigl (Kensington Publishing Corporation)
  • Transitory, by J.M. Redmann (Bold Strokes Books)

The Joseph Hansen Award, now in its second year, was conceived by and is funded by popular mystery writer Michael Nava.


Finalists for the Jacqueline Woodson Award for LGBTQ+ Young Adult and Children’s Literature are:

  • Blackward, by Lawrence Lindell (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Dragging Mason County, by Curtis Campbell (Annick Press)
  • Salma Writes a Book, by Danny Ramadan (Annick Press)
  • The Otherwoods, by Justine Pucella Winans (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

This is the first year The Publishing Triangle has given an award for Young Adult and Children’s Literature, and its namesake, Jacqueline Woodson, is expected to personally present it at the awards ceremony. It is funded by Rob Byrnes.


About the Publishing Triangle
The purpose of the Publishing Triangle is to further the publication of books and other materials written by LGBTQ+ authors or with LGBT themes. Founded in 1988, the organization works to create support and a sense of community for LGBTQ+ people in the publishing industry. It offers the OUTspoken LGBTQ+ Reading series, forums, and networking and social opportunities for its members. In addition, it sponsors programs to increase awareness of and appreciation for LGBTQ+ literature.