The Publishing Triangle began giving awards for nonfiction in 1997. Each award is for books published in the preceding year in the United States or Canada (i.e., the 2019 award below honored the best books published in 2018). The Judy Grahn Award honors the American writer, cultural theorist and activist (b. 1940) best known for The Common Woman (1969) and Another Mother Tongue (rev. ed., 1984). It recognizes works that are by or about lesbians, bisexual women, and/or transwomen, or that have a significant influence upon the lives of queer women.

The finalists and the winners are determined by a panel of judges appointed by the Publishing Triangle’s awards committee. The winner receives a prize of $1000.

In the listings below, finalists are presented in alphabetical order by book title. Bold type and a triangle indicate winners. There has been a year with a tie, 2020


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)


Bessie Smith: A Poet’s Biography, by Jackie Kay (Vintage)

Leaving Isn’t the Hardest Thing, by Lauren Hough (Vintage)

Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought, edited by Briona Simone Jones (The New Press)

The Secret to Superhuman Strength, by Alison Bechdel (Mariner)


Just an Ordinary Woman Breathing, by Julie Marie Wade (Mad Creek Books/Ohio State University Press)

Lady Romeo: The Radical and Revolutionary Life of Charlotte Cushman, America’s First Celebrity, by Tana Wojczuk (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster)

My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, by Jenn Shapland (Tin House)

The Power of Adrienne Rich, by Hilary Holladay (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday)


In the Dream House, by Carmen Maria Machado (Graywolf Press) (tie)

Sontag: Her Life and Work, by Benjamin Moser (Ecco)

Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, by Saidiya Hartman (W. W. Norton) (tie)

We Have Always Been Here, by Samra Habib (Viking / Penguin Canada)


Black, Queer, Southern, Women: An Oral History, by E. Patrick Johnson (University of North Carolina Press

Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Arsenal Pulp Press)

The Lesbian South: Southern Feminists, the Women in Print Movement, and the Queer Literary Canon, by Jaime Harker (University of North Carolina Press)

Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, by Imani Perry (Beacon Press)


Abandon Me, by Melissa Febos (Bloomsbury USA)

Afterglow, by Eileen Myles (Grove Press)

Jane Crow: The Life of Pauli Murray, by Rosalind Rosenberg (Oxford University Press)

Mean, by Myriam Gurba (Coffee House Press)


Conflict Is Not Abuse, by Sarah Schulman (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Lavender and Red: Liberation and Solidarity in the Gay and Lesbian Left, by Emily K. Hobson (University of California Press)

Queer Virtue, by Elizabeth M. Edman (Beacon Press)


Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home, by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (Arsenal Pulp Press)

The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle, by Lillian Faderman (Simon and Schuster)

Honor Girl, by Maggie Thrash (Candlewick Press)

“No One Helped”: Kitty Genovese, New York City, and the Myth of Urban Apathy, by Marcia Gallo (Cornell University Press)


Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: 40 Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith, by Barbara Smith; edited by Alethia Jones and Virginia Eubanks (SUNY Press)

A Cup of Water Under My Bed, by Daisy Hernandez (Beacon Press)

Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger, by Kelly Cogswell (University of Minnesota Press)

The End of Eve, by Ariel Gore (Hawthorne Books)


Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive, by Julia Serano (Seal Press)

Growing Up Golem, by Donna Minkowitz (Magnus Books/Riverdale Avenue)

Passionate Commitments: The Lives of Anna Rochester and Grace Hutchins, by Julia M. Allen (SUNY Press)

Stuck in the Middle with You: A Memoir of Parenting in Three Genders, by Jennifer Finney Boylan (Crown)


Are You My Mother?, by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus, by Kelly Barth (Arktoi/Red Hen)

A Queer and Pleasant Danger, by Kate Bornstein (Beacon Press)

Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal, by Jeanette Winterson (Grove Press)


Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader, by Gayle S. Rubin (Duke University Press)

Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes, by Lisa L. Moore (University of Minnesota Press)

When We Were Outlaws, by Jeanne Córdova (Spinsters Ink)


Hammer!, by Barbara Hammer (The Feminist Press)

Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature, by Emma Donoghue (Alfred A. Knopf)

The Professor and Other Writings, by Terry Castle (Harper/HarperCollins)


American Romances, by Rebecca Brown (City Lights)

Called Back, by Mary Cappello (Alyson Books)

The Talented Miss Highsmith, by Joan Schenkar (St. Martin’s Press)


Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage, by Nancy D. Polikoff (Beacon Press)

Criminal Intimacy, by Regina Kunzel (University of Chicago Press)

In the Shadow of the Magic Mountain, by Andrea Weiss (University of Chicago Press)


An Army of Ex-Lovers, by Amy Hoffman (University of Massachusetts Press)

Between Women, by Sharon Marcus (Princeton University Press)

Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice, by Janet Malcolm (Yale University Press)


Different Daughters, by Marcia Gallo (Carroll & Graf)

Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin)

Hit by a Farm, by Catherine Friend (Marlowe & Company)


My One-Night Stand with Cancer, by Tania Katan (Alyson Books)

On the Ice, by Gretchen Legler (Milkweed Editions)

Wild Girls, by Diana Souhami (St. Martin’s Press)


Alice Walker, by Evelyn C. White (W. W. Norton)

Name All the Animals, by Alison Smith (Scribner)

Warrior Poet: A Life of Audre Lorde, by Alexis De Veaux (W. W. Norton)


Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith, by Andrew Wilson (Bloomsbury)

Naked in the Promised Land, by Lillian Faderman (Houghton Mifflin)

The Sharon Kowalski Case: Lesbian and Gay Rights on Trial, by Casey Charles (University Press of Kansas)


Insurgent Muse: Life and Art at the Women’s Building, by Terry Wolverton (City Lights)

The Queen of Peace Room, by Magie Dominic (Wilfrid Laurier University Press)

Wild at Heart, by Suzanna Rodriguez (Ecco/HarperCollins)


All the Rage, by Suzanna Danuta Walters (University of Chicago Press)

Arts of the Possible, by Adrienne Rich (W. W. Norton)

Fashioning Sapphism, by Laura L. Doan (Columbia University Press)


Girl Reel, by Bonnie J. Morris (Coffee House Press)

My Dangerous Desires, by Amber Hollibaugh (Duke University Press)

The Room Lit by Roses, by Carole Maso (Counterpoint)


Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict: The Kinship of Women, by Hilary Lapsley (University of Massachusetts Press)

To Believe in Women, by Lillian Faderman (Houghton Mifflin)

A Woman Like That: Lesbian and Bisexual Writers Tell Their Coming Out Stories, edited by Joan Larkin (Avon)


Admission Accomplished, by Jill Johnston

Female Masculinity, by Judith Halberstam

The Incredible Bechdel, by Alison Bechdel


Hospital Time, by Amy Hoffman

The Lesbian Menace, by Sherrie Inness

May Sarton, by Margot Peters


Love Between Women, by Bernadette Brooten

Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg

White Blackbird, by Honor Moore