November 16, 2023
Dear Lambda Literary Community members,
I am writing to share an important update regarding Lambda Literary’s leadership. Our Executive Director Samiya Bashir (she/her) has resigned, and the Board of Directors has accepted her resignation. We are grateful for Bashir’s efforts and wish her well in future endeavors.
Bashir joined us a year ago, and during her tenure, Lambda Literary has continued our important work: the 2023 Lambda Literary Awards were as vibrant and exciting as ever. The LGBTQ+ Writers in Schools Program has continued to promote engagement with LGBTQ+ literature in K-12 educational institutions. The Lambda Literary Review remains an essential spotlight on LGBTQ+ literature and forum for community discussions. The Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices is serving more early-career authors than ever before.
As we embark on this transition, I want to assure you that our commitment to Lambda Literary’s mission remains strong. The Board will soon launch an inclusive national process to select a new Executive Director who will lead us forward.
The Board has engaged Dolph Goldenburg (he/him) of Successful Nonprofits® to serve as the Interim Executive Director, and Bashir will work with him to ensure a smooth transition. Goldenburg is a professional interim executive who has served LGBTQ+ organizations based in New York, California, Arizona, North Carolina, and Georgia. Goldenburg’s experience and skills make him exceptionally well-suited to maintain our momentum during this transition period.
Change is a natural part of organizational growth and offers opportunities for renewal and progress. We are excited by these opportunities and confident that Lambda Literary will be an even more vibrant champion for LGBTQ books and authors in the years ahead.
We will keep you updated as our search for a new Executive Director moves forward in 2024. In the meantime, I want to express my sincere appreciation for your continued support. Together, we will continue to both preserve LGBTQ culture and affirm LGBTQ lives through our literature.
Roz Lee (she/her)
November 17, 2023 Amendment
We have noticed a range of comments and speculation on social media regarding the transition of Lambda Literary’s leadership. While we will not be disclosing further information out of respect for the privacy of our former Executive Director Samiya Bashir, our Board of Directors believes it is imperative to clarify that the reasons for the resignation are unrelated to the speculation.
Lambda Literary’s Board and staff also believe that, given the current climate, it is critical to reaffirm for our community that Lambda Literary’s mission is fundamentally incompatible with censorship. Our community–full of brilliant authors, talented editors, and eager readers–has a special place in times of crisis. Among other functions, literature uniquely enables us to imagine worlds that are more just and freer than the one we live in today.
Lambda Literary, our Board, and our staff remain steadfastly committed to the principles of justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and freedom of expression. These principles guide all our decisions and will play a driving force in our upcoming executive director search.
Roz Lee (she/her)