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Naseem Jamnia and Maya Salameh Win 2023 Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers

Naseem Jamnia and Maya Salameh Win 2023 Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers

Author: LeKesha Lewis

June 6, 2023

Lambda Literary is thrilled to announce Naseem Jamnia and Maya Salameh as the winners of the 2023 Judith A. Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers.

Lambda Literary has played a pivotal role in nurturing the development of exceptional new LGBTQ writers through the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, internships, and writing and performance opportunities. Supporting emerging LGBTQ writers is central to our mission: they are the future of LGBTQ literature.

The Judith A. Markowitz Award for Exceptional New LGBTQ Writers recognizes LGBTQ-identified writers whose work demonstrates their strong potential for promising careers. The award includes a cash prize of $1,500.

About Naseem Jamnia

Naseem Jamnia (they/them) is the Locus-nominated author of The Bruising of Qilwa, a novella introducing their queernormative, Persian-inspired world, which was shortlisted for the IAFA’s Crawford award. Named the inaugural Samuel R. Delany Fellow, they’ve also received fellowships from Lambda Literary and the Otherwise Award, and their nonfiction has appeared in The Rumpus, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, New Orleans Review, Sarah Gailey’s Stone Soup newsletter, and other venues. They are the managing editor of Sword & Kettle Press, a tiny independent publishing house of feminist speculative writing, and their debut middle grade horror, Sleepaway, is out in 2025 from Aladdin. Find out more and sign up for their newsletter at naseemwrites.com, or follow them on social @jamsternazzy.

The judges, including former Markowitz Prize winner Ching-In Chen, selected Naseem as a winner based on:

Naseem Jamnia’s creative work centering queer, trans, neurodiverse speculative fiction which imagines a new cultural imaginary and for Naseem’s organizing to create access in the literary community and in publishing for queer and trans authors.


About Maya Salameh

Maya Salameh is the author of HOW TO MAKE AN ALGORITHM IN THE MICROWAVE (University of Arkansas Press, 2022) and rooh (Paper Nautilus Press, 2020). She is the youngest-ever winner of the 2022 Etel Adnan Poetry Prize and a Finalist for the 2022 California Book Award. She has served as a National Student Poet, America’s highest honor for youth poets, and received fellowships from the William Male Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Institute for Diversity in the Arts, and Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in POETRY, The Rumpus, AGNI, Asian American Writer’s Workshop, and the LA Times, among others. She can be found @mayaslmh or at mayasalameh.com.

The judges, including former Markowitz Prize winner Ching-In Chen, granted Maya the win for:

…dedication to building community power and mentorship of queer and/or of color artists as well as Maya Salemeh’s breathtaking use of form and language to challenge and reimagine technological forms and surveillance machinery.

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