Lambda Literary is pleased to announce VI KHI NAO and Silas House as the winners of the 2022 Jim Duggins, PhD Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize.

Dedicated to the memory of author and journalist Jim Duggins, this prize honors LGBTQ-identified authors who have published multiple novels, built a strong reputation and following, and show promise to continue publishing high quality work for years to come. This award is made possible by the James Duggins, PhD Fund for Outstanding Mid-Career LGBTQ Novelists, a fund of the Horizons Foundation, and includes a cash prize of $5,000.

Judges Sarah Gerard and Calvin Gimpelevich honored NAO and Silas for their prolific contributions to the literary world and their communities.

Since 2016, NAO has published more than 13 books and has worked on numerous collaborations, including with SHE WHO HAS NO MASTER(S), a collective of Vietnamese-American writers and scholars grappling in different ways with questions of diaspora, collectivity, and immigrant subjectivity.

House has been at the forefront of combating homophobia in Appalachia through his writing and cultural work. His 2012 play, This is My Heart For You, was written after two men were kicked out of a public swimming pool for being gay. The play toured the region to sold-out audiences, often in towns where it was protested. 

We look forward to celebrating these writers’ past and future accomplishments.  

Grayscale photo of Vi Khi Nao against a black backdrop.

VI KHI NAO is the author of six poetry collections: Fish Carcass (Black Sun Lit, 2022), A Bell Curve Is A Pregnant Straight Line (11:11 Press, 2021), Human Tetris (11:11 Press, 2019) Sheep Machine (Black Sun Lit, 2018), Umbilical Hospital (Press 1913, 2017), The Old Philosopher (winner of the Nightboat Prize for 2014), & of the short stories collection, A Brief Alphabet of Torture (winner of the 2016 FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize), the novels: Fish in Exile (Coffee House Press, 2016) & Swimming with Dead Stars (FC2, 2022). She is an interdisciplinary artist who works in multiple and interchangeable mediums. Her drawings have appeared in literary journals such as NOON and The Adirondack Review. Her video, digital, and literary installations have been exhibited at the Perry and Marty Granoff Center for the Creative Arts in Providence in Rhode Island and in the largest exhibition halls for contemporary art in Europe, Malmö Konsthall, in Sweden. Her work includes poetry, play, fiction, nonfiction, performance, film and cross-genre collaboration. She was the Fall 2019 fellow at the Black Mountain Institute.

Silas House is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, one book of creative nonfiction, and three plays. His work has been published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Advocate, Time, and many other publications. House is a former commentator for NPR’s “All Things Considered”. His writing and activism often tackles LGBTQ discrimination and environmental injustice, as well as exploring the concept of created family. His honors include the Storylines Prize from the New York Public Library/NAV Foundation, the Appalachian Book of the Year, and EB White Honor Award, the Intellectual Freedom Prize, and many others.  His play, This Is My Heart for You, about the LGBTQ experience in Appalachia, won the Karen Willis Award for Excellence in Theatre for Social Justice. As a music journalist House has worked with artists like Kacey Musgraves, Kris Kristofferson, Jason Isbell, and many others.  House serves on the fiction faculty at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Creative Writing and as the National Endowment of the Humanities Chair at Berea College. His latest book, Lark Ascending, will be published in September.

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