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5 Questions with Judith A. Markowitz Award Winner Calvin Gimpelevich

5 Questions with Judith A. Markowitz Award Winner Calvin Gimpelevich

Author: Brian Gentes

May 6, 2020

The Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers recognizes LGBTQ-identified writers whose work demonstrates their strong potential for promising careers. Two Emerging LGBTQ Writer prizes are awarded annually.

2020 Markowitz Award Winner Calvin Gimpelevich is the author of the short story collection Invasions. His work has been recognized by Artist Trust, Jack Straw Cultural Center, 4Culture, CODEX/Writer’s Block, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center, and Lambda Literary. A founding member of the Lion’s Main Art Collective for Queer and Trans Artists, Calvin has organized readings and art shows at venues throughout the Pacific Northwest. He is currently at work on a novel.

Are there any LGBTQ writers or books that you count as formative influences to you as a writer? How did you discover them?

I picked up a Samuel R. Delaney book at the thrift store and hated it–then couldn’t stop thinking about, went back, and read almost everything he ever wrote. Like a literary rom-com, the hatred turned into love and Delaney is now a solid influence on my work.

For a prose (as opposed to lifestyle) model, Yukio Mishima. Spring Snow is one of my favorite books. His recreation of Reni’s Saint Sebastian is also the best author photo I’ve seen.


What does a writing day look like for you?

I wake up, make coffee, and work four hours. After, I’ll go on a long walk–about two hours–to mull over concepts. Later, I usually handwrite notes from the walk and (sometimes) get back on the computer for formal writing. Evenings, I read.

Are there other LGBTQ writers working today whose work you particularly admire?

So many. I don’t even want to name them, because there’s so much good stuff coming out, I can’t list them all. Ali Smith’s How to be Both was a favorite.

What are you reading now? Is there any book that you’ve found cathartic or instructive during the pandemic?

It’s a terrible answer, but I’m enjoying Kafka right now.

What’s next for you?

I’m editing one novel and drafting another. Experimenting (slightly) with non-fiction too.

Click here for more information about the award and Judith A. Markowitz.

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About: Brian Gentes

Brian Gentes is Lambda Literary's awards manager.

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