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Rita Mae Brown & John Waters to be Honored at the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards

Rita Mae Brown & John Waters to be Honored at the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards

Author: Tony Valenzuela

April 22, 2015



Stellar Roster of Presenters Include: Alan Cumming, Gloria Steinem,

Liz Smith, Justin Vivian Bond, Michelangelo Signorile, Janet Mock

Comedienne Kate Clinton Returns as Master of Ceremonies

Special Entr’acte Performances by Toshi Reagon and from the new Broadway musical, Fun Home

Lambda Literary is pleased to announce that John Waters will receive Lambda’s Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature an Rita Mae Brown will receive the Pioneer Award at the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards (“Lammys”). Waters and Brown will be honored along with the winning authors of 24 separate LGBT literary categories as determined by over 90 judges. The Lammys bring together over 450 attendees, sponsors and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature, making it the most glamorous and prestigious LGBT literary event in the world. The awards will be hosted for the fourth year in a row by comedienne Kate Clinton on Monday, June 1st in New York City at The Great Hall at Cooper Union (7 East 7th St @ 3rd Ave, New York City) with a pre-ceremony reception presented by Penguin Random House. A VIP After-Party presented by Scholastic will immediately follow the ceremony.

Liz Smith to introduce John Waters for Lambda Literary’s Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature

Waters, the honoree for Excellence in Literature, is an American filmmaker, actor, writer, stand-up comedian, journalist, visual artist, art collector and the author of five books, including Carsick and Role Models. He is best known for his transgressive cult films, Female Trouble, Pink Flamingos, Desperate Living, and Polyester which star the legendary Divine. His mainstream film, Hairspray, was adapted to a long-running Broadway musical, which was adapted to a hit musical film. He resides in Baltimore, Maryland where all his films are set. He (and his trademark pencil-thin mustache) will be introduced by New York City’s “Living Landmark” Smith. Since 1976, Smith has brought her Texan wit, verve and nerve to a daily column for several venues and is currently syndicated in many newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and appears daily on the web, on the illustrated The New York Social Diary, the Huffington Post,, Drudge and other sites.

Gloria Steinem to introduce Rita Mae Brown for the Pioneer Award

Brown, the Pioneer Award honoree, is The New York Times bestselling author of Rubyfruit Jungle, a landmark coming-of-age novel that launched her career as one of this country’s most distinctive voices. She’s also the bestselling author of the Sneaky Pie Brown series; the Sister Jane series; A Nose for Justice and Murder Unleashed; In Her Day; Six of One; her memoirs Animal Magnetism and Rita Will, as well as several other books. An Emmy-nominated screenwriter and a poet, Brown lives in Afton, Virginia with cats, hounds, horses and big red foxes. She will be introduced by American feminist, journalist, and social and political activist Steinem. Steinem became nationally recognized as a leader and spokeswoman for the feminist movement in the late 1960s and early 70s after her 1969 article, “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation.” She was a columnist for New York magazine and a founder of the ground-breaking Ms. Magazine. In 2005, Steinem, Jane Fonda, and Robin Morgan co-founded the Women’s Media Center, an organization that works “to make women visible and powerful in the media.” She currently travels internationally as an organizer and lecturer and is a media spokeswoman on issues of equality. Steinem is also working on a book about her work as a feminist organizer, to be titled Road to the Heart: America As if Everyone Mattered.

“This year’s special honorees, John Waters and Rita Mae Brown, have made immeasurable contributions as writers, multi-media artists and LGBTQ advocates,” said Tony Valenzuela, Executive Director. “We are privileged to celebrate their tremendous contributions at this year’s Lammy Awards.”

Master of Ceremonies Kate Clinton and Special Entr’acte Performances by Toshi Reagon and the new Broadway musical, FUN HOME

Previous Lammy finalist and 2010 Pioneer Award recipient, comedienne Clinton returns to reprise her role as master of ceremonies with her signature brand of topical, political comedy. Clinton will share the stage with a glittering line up of awards presenters who hail from the worlds of literature, theatre, politics, film, civil rights and television.

For the last few years, the Lammys ceremony has featured a mid-show special performance. This year’s entr’acte will include two performances. One by singer, composer and musician, Toshi Reagon. Described as a “one-woman celebration of all that’s dynamic, progressive and uplifting in American music,” she has mastered folk and funk, blues and rock, and sacred and traditional music formats and is now working in music/theater and opera. There will also be a musical number from the new Broadway show, Fun Home, which is based on Alison Bechdel’s award-winning graphic memoir.

Confirmed Lammy presenters in alphabetical order:

Cartoonist Alison Bechdel, author of the award-winning graphic memoir Fun Home (now a Broadway musical); novelist and children’s book author Lucy Jane BledsoeJustin Vivian Bond, “best cabaret artist of zer generation;”ground-breaking voice in Women and Gender studies and 2014 Lammy Pioneer Award honoree Kate Bornstein; Susie Bright, one of the first writers/activists referred to as a sex-positive feminist; Ana Castillo, leading voice in Chicana literature; deputy opinion page editor of The New York Times Sewell Chan; poet and Whiting Writers’ Award recipient Eduardo C. CorralAlan Cumming, international, Tony award-winning star of TV’s The Good Wife and author of Not My Father’s Son; award-winning novelist, memoirist and subject of the documentary The PolymathSamuel Delany; winner of the 2012 Cave Canem/Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize Reginald HarrisBarbara Hammer, American filmmaker specializing in experimental films dealing with gender roles, lesbian relationships and coping with aging and family; five-time Lambda Literary Award finalist and two-time winner, poet and memoirist Michael KleinWilliam Lung, recipient of the Stark Short Fiction Prize and Lambda Emerging Writers Retreat Fellow; bestselling author and a recipient of the 2014-15 New York Public Library’s Cullman Center Fellowship, Ayana Mathis; transgender rights activist and host of the weekly culture show So POPular! on MSNBC’s Shift network, Janet MockTrace Peterson, trans-woman poetry-critic who teaches the first-ever class in Transgender Poetry at Hunter College; Faith Popcorn, CEO of Faith Popcorn’s Brain Reserve, a Future-Focused Trend Consultancy; playwright and 2014 Lambda Literary Emerging Voices Fellow in Fiction, Christina QuintanaAndrew Rannells, Elijah on HBO’s Girls and Grammy winner and Tony nominee for his role in The Book of Mormon; 10-time Lammy nominee Sarah SchulmanKevin Sessums, author of two New York Times best-selling memoirs I Left It on the Mountain and Mississippi SissyMichelangelo Signorile, journalist, author and host of the SiriusXM radio show The Michelangelo Signorile ShowMax Steele, performer and creator of the psychedelic porno poetry zine Scorcher; host of Sex Out Loud, a weekly radio show on the Voice of America Network, Tristan TaorminoEllery Washington, novelist, essayist and Associate Professor of Creative Writing at the Pratt Institute.

“Our astonishing lineup of presenters includes some of the most notable names of our time from politics, publishing, journalism, and entertainment,” said Lambda Literary Board President S. Chris Shirley. “This will be the most glamorous Lammys ever.”

2015 Corporate Sponsors:

President’s Circle Level: Penguin Random House, Scholastic

Benefactor Level: Ketel One Vodka, FUN HOME, Macy’s, Target Cue

Patron Level: American Institute of Bisexuality, Barnes & Noble, Harper Perennial

Friend Level: Arsenal Pulp Press, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Bold Strokes Books, Chelsea Station Editions, Chronicle Books, Cleis Press, Curve Magazine, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, The Feminist Press, Headmaster Magazine, Riptide Publishing, Samhain Publishing, Seal Press, Simon & Schuster, YESYES Books

Gift Bag Contributors: Atria, Curve magazine, Headmaster magazine, Penguin Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, University of Minnesota Press

Individual Underwriters: Timothy Evanson, Robert Ferrante & Tony Valenzuela, Katherine V. Forrest & Josephine Hercus, Tom Healy & Fred P. Hochberg, Larry Kramer & David Webster, Judith Markowitz & Susan Franz, David McConnell, Jay Moore, Kay Percy, Eddie Sarfaty & Court StroudDr. Laura Shawver & Tracy Macuga, Charlotte Sheedy, S. Chris Shirley, Pamela Sloss, Stephen Soucy & Tom Becktold

Event and Ticket Information:

The 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, June 1st, 2015 at The Great Hall at Cooper Union (7 East 7th St @ 3rd Ave, New York City). Immediately following the ceremony will be a VIP After-Party presented by Scholastic at The Scholastic Greenhouse & Terrace (557 Broadway between Prince and Spring Streets, New York City).

5:30 P.M.: Cocktail reception presented by Penguin Random House

7:00 P.M.: Ceremony

9:30 P.M.: VIP After-Party presented by Scholastic

Tickets for the Lambda Literary Award ceremony and After-Party can be purchased here

Finalists of the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards can be found here.

Lambda Literary Board of Trustees

S. Chris Shirley, President · Susan Atkins, Vice-President 

J. Michael Samuel, Treasurer ·  KG MacGregor, Secretary

 Lisa Girolami, sj Miller, Jerome Murphy, Sandra Nathan

Denise Penn, John Rochester, Amy Scholder, Jan Zivic

2015 Lambda Literary Awards Host Committee

Co-Chairs: Jerome Murphy, Amy Scholder

John Bateman

Kevin Brannon

Jamie Brickhouse

Michael Carroll

Paul Dierkes

Dick Donahue

Michael Fauver

Paul Florez

Roman Freese

David Gale

Antonio Gonzalez

David Groff

William Johnson

Michele Karlsberg

Elizabeth Koke

Melanie LaRosa

Mario Lopez-CorderoBill MillerDan ManjoviNick NicholsonAngelo NikolopoulosJulia PastoreLori Perkins

Charles Rice-Gonzalez

Patrick Ryan

Eddie Sarfaty

Karen Schechner

S. Chris Shirley

Rachel Simon

Bob Smith

Jason Wells


About Lambda Literary:

Lambda Literary believes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published and read. LL’s programs include: the Lambda Literary Awards, the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, LGBTQ Writers in Schools, and our web magazine The Lambda Literary Review. For more information call (323) 643-4281 or e mail

Join the conversation by following the Twitter hashtag #Lammys. Learn more at and connect with us on and

Tony Valenzuela photo

About: Tony Valenzuela

Tony Valenzuela is the former Executive Director of Lambda Literary

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