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Karen Tongson Wins 2019 Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction

Karen Tongson Wins 2019 Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction

Author: Edit Team

May 15, 2019

Lambda Literary is pleased to announce that Karen Tongson has been named the winner of the 2019 Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction.

The award, given in memory of the beloved activist and author Jeanne Córdova, honors lesbian/queer-identified women and trans/gender non-conforming nonfiction authors. The award goes to a writer committed to nonfiction work that captures the depth and complexity of lesbian/queer life, culture and/or history.

Judges Lynn Harris Ballen, Judith Branzburg, and Alicia Vogl Saenz were unanimous in choosing Tongson as the winner for this prize from a group of wonderfully talented lesbian/queer nonfiction writers who submitted their work.

From the judges: “We selected Karen Tongson based on her work as a cultural critic and memoirist. Her two books and essays are written at the intersection of popular culture, queer politics/culture, and critical race analysis, and she brings the sensibilities of both a public intellectual and a queer fan to her work. Karen’s beautifully layered writing is also deeply personal and intimate, weaving in her own life stories and the lives of other queer people of color in Los Angeles and beyond. And her forthcoming work shows that she continues to be committed to producing groundbreaking lesbian/queer nonfiction.”

Karen Tongson is the author of Why Karen Carpenter Matters (2019), and Relocations: Queer Suburban Imaginaries (2011). She is a professor of English, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and American Studies and Ethnicity at USC, and co-editor of the award-winning book series, Postmillennial Pop (with Henry Jenkins) at NYU Press. She has two books in progress: Empty Orchestra: Karaoke, Queer Aesthetics, Queer Theory (Duke University Press), and NORMPORN: Television and the Spectacle of Normalcy (NYU Press). You can hear Karen talk about pop culture, the arts, and entertainment on the weekly Pop Rocket podcast at

The award was introduced in 2018 and includes a cash prize of $2,500. Tongson will be recognized as the winner of the Córdova Prize at the 31st Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony on June 3 in New York City.

The awards ceremony is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased here.


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