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Kalynn Bayron Wins 2022 Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction

Kalynn Bayron Wins 2022 Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction

Author: Mai Tran

June 9, 2022

Lambda Literary is delighted to announce Kalynn Bayron as the winner of the 2022 Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction, alongside honorable mentions Robert Jones, Jr. and Mecca Jamilah Sullivan. 

The Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction, in memory of the celebrated author Randall Kenan, honors Black LGBTQ writers of fiction. The award goes to a Black LGBTQ writer whose fiction explores themes of Black LGBTQ life, culture, and/or history. To be eligible, the winner of the prize must have published at least one book and show promise in continuing to produce groundbreaking work. The award includes a cash prize of $3,000 and is made possible by founding sponsors Cedric Brown, Darnell Moore, Dr. L. Lamar Wilson, and Steven Petrow.

Judged by Ana M Lara and Kevin Robertson, Bayron was chosen as the winner for her work in children’s literature that focuses on LGBTQIA+ youth, in particular Queer Black girls who can be “the main characters, the chosen ones, the dragon slayers, the keepers of magic.”

With submissions from so many talented writers, this year we also celebrate two honorable mentions.

Jones is honored for his stunning debut novel The Prophets, which he wrote “for the ancestors who were wiped from the record, who spoke to me when I almost didn’t listen. To give me a line to walk back to and a tree to lean against and shake when the mood strikes.”

Sullivan is honored for her contributions to queer literary communities including Sinister Wisdom, the Journal of Homosexuality, Lambda Literary, GLQ, The Publishing Triangle, the MLA LGBTQ caucus, and others, as well as her forthcoming novel and prolific short stories.

Kalynn Bayron in front of a soft gray background. She is wearing a black turtleneck.

Kalynn Bayron is the award-winning author of the YA fantasy novels CINDERELLA IS DEAD and THIS POISON HEART. Her latest works include the YA fantasy THIS WICKED FATE and the middle grade paranormal adventure THE VANQUISHERS. She is a CILIP Carnegie Medal Nominee, a two-time CYBILS Award nominee, and her work has been featured on Booklist’s Editor’s Choice list. She is a classically trained vocalist and musical theater enthusiast. When she’s not writing you can find her watching scary movies and spending time with her kids. She currently lives in Ithaca, NY with her family.

Robert Jones, Jr. smiling on a street. He is wearing a brown fedora and a black jacket over a gray shirt.

Robert Jones, Jr., is the author of the New York Times bestseller, The Prophets, which was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction, and was named one of the top 10 best books of 2021 by Time magazine, Entertainment Weekly, and USA Today, among others. His writings have been featured in The New York TimesEssence, and The Paris Review, as well as the critically acclaimed anthologies Four Hundred Souls and The 1619 Project.

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan smiling against a bright yellow background.

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Ph.D. is the author of The Poetics of Difference: Queer Feminist Forms in the African Diaspora (University of Illinois Press, 2021), the short story collection, Blue Talk and Love (2015), winner of the Judith Markowitz Award for Fiction from Lambda Literary, and the forthcoming novel Big Girl (W.W. Norton & Co. 2022).

Her short stories on black genders and sexualities have appeared in Best New Writing, Kenyon Review, American Fiction: Best New Stories by Emerging Writers, Prairie Schooner, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Robert Olen Butler Fiction Prize Stories, BLOOM: Queer Fiction, Art and Poetry, TriQuarterly, Feminist Studies, All About Skin: Short Stories by Award-Winning Women Writers of Color, Baobab: South African Journal of New Writing, and many others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, she is the winner of the Charles Johnson Fiction Award, the Glenna Luschei Fiction Award, the James Baldwin Memorial Playwriting Award, the 2021 Pride Index National Arts and Culture award, and honors from Bread Loaf, Yaddo, the NEA, and the Center for Fiction.

A proud native of Harlem, NY, Sullivan’s scholarly work on sexuality, identity, and creative practice in African Diaspora literatures has appeared in American Literary History, Black Futures, Teaching Black, The CutAmerican Quarterly, Oxford Reference, Palimpsest: Journal of Women, Gender and the Black International, Jacket2, Public Books, GLQ: Lesbian and Gay Studies Quarterly, Sinister Wisdom, The Scholar and Feminist, Women’s Studies, Journal of Feminist Scholarship, The Rumpus,,,, Ms. Magazine online, The Feminist Wire, and others. Mecca is Associate Professor of English at Georgetown University.

Mai Tran photo

About: Mai Tran

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