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2020 Winners

Congratulations 2020 Lammy Winners

On June 1, 2020, we announced the winners of the 32nd Annual Lambda Literary Awards. These winners were selected by a panel of over 60 literary professionals from more than 1,000 book submissions from over 300 publishers.

In addition to the winners below, three special honors were awarded: Jane Wagner received Lambda Literary’s 2020 Visionary Award, Jericho Brown received the Trustee Award, and Brian Lam received the Publishing Professional Award.

You can pick up any of the winning books you haven’t read on our curated list at, where your purchases benefit Lambda Literary.

Lesbian Fiction

Cover of Patsy

Nicole Dennis-Benn
Liveright Publishing

From the publisher:
A beautifully layered portrait of motherhood, immigration, and the sacrifices we make in the name of love from award-winning novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn.

Watch Nicole Dennis-Benn accept the Lammy:
Cover of Lot

Gay Fiction

Bryan Washington
Riverhead Books

From the publisher:
In the city of Houston—a sprawling, diverse microcosm of America—the son of a black mother and a Latino father is coming of age. He’s working at his family’s restaurant, weathering his brother’s blows, resenting his older sister’s absence. And discovering he likes boys.

Bisexual Fiction

Exquisite Mariposa
Fiona Alison Duncan
Soft Skull Press

From the publisher:
Given the initials F.A.D. at birth, Fiona Alison Duncan has always had an eye for observing the trends around her. But after years of looking for answers in books and astrological charts and working as a celebrity journalist to make rent, Fiona discovers another way of existing: in the Real, a phenomenological state few humans live in.

Watch Fiona Alison Duncan accept the Lammy:

Transgender Fiction

Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian)
Hazel Jane Plante

Metonymy Press

From the publisher:
The playful and poignant novel Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) sifts through a queer trans woman’s unrequited love for her straight trans friend who died. A queer love letter steeped in desire, grief, and delight, the story is interspersed with encyclopedia entries about a fictional TV show set on an isolated island. The experimental form functions at once as a manual for how pop culture can help soothe and mend us and as an exploration of oft-overlooked sources of pleasure, including karaoke, birding, and butt toys.

Watch Hazel Jane Plante accept the Lammy:
Socialist Realism cover

Bisexual Nonfiction

Socialist Realism
Trisha Low
Coffee House Press

From the publisher:
When Trisha Low moves West, her journey is motivated by the need to arrive “somewhere better”—someplace utopian, like revolution; or safe, like home; or even clarifying, like identity. Instead, she faces the end of her relationships, a family whose values she has difficulty sharing, and America’s casual racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Watch Trisha Low accept the Lammy:

Cover of We Both Laughed in Pleasure

Transgender Nonfiction

We Both Laughed in Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of Lou Sullivan
Ellis Martin and Zach Ozma
Nightboat Books

From the publisher:
We Both Laughed In Pleasure: The Selected Diaries of Lou Sullivan narrates the inner life of a gay trans man moving through the shifting social, political, and medical mores of the second half of the 20th century. Sullivan kept comprehensive journals from age eleven until his AIDS-related death at thirty-nine. Sensual, lascivious, challenging, quotidian and poetic, the diaries complicate and disrupt normative trans narratives. Entries from twenty-four diaries reveal Sullivan’s self-articulation and the complexity of a fascinating and courageous figure.

Watch Ellis Martin and Zach Ozma accept the Lammy:

LGBTQ Nonfiction

In the Dream House
Carmen Maria Machado
Graywolf Press

From the publisher:
In the Dream House is Carmen Maria Machado’s engrossing and wildly innovative account of a relationship gone bad, and a bold dissection of the mechanisms and cultural representations of psychological abuse. Tracing the full arc of a harrowing relationship with a charismatic but volatile woman, Machado struggles to make sense of how what happened to her shaped the person she was becoming.

Watch Carmen Maria Machado accept the Lammy:

& more black cover

Lesbian Poetry

& more black
t’ai freedom ford
Augury Books

From the publisher:
t’ai freedom ford’s second collection of poems, & more black, is direct, ingenious, vibrant, alive, queer, & BLACK. By turns tough and sexy, wrapped up in the evolving language and sonics of life, these poems take their cue from Wanda Coleman’s American Sonnets as they rhapsodize and dialogue with artists such as Carrie Mae Weems, Glenn Ligon, and Wangechi Mutu, along with many other musicians, artists, and writers. The kinetic energy of ford’s words leap off the page in rebellious, stunning, and revelatory fashion—poems that mesmerize with sheer velocity and telling pauses.

Watch t’ai freedom ford accept the Lammy:


Gay Poetry

Cyrée Jarelle Johnson
Nightboat Books

From the publisher:
SLINGSHOT begins with the author ensconced in the menacing isolation of the pastoral, but once the work migrates to the City, monstrum grows form and fangs. In these messy, horny, desperate poems spun from dream logic, Cyrée Jarelle Johnson considers the consequences of black sexual and gender deviance, as well as the emotional burden of being forced to the rim of society, then punished for what keeps you alive.

Watch Cyrée Jarelle Johnson accept the Lammy:

Pet Sounds

Bisexual Poetry

Pet Sounds
Stephanie Young

Nightboat Books

From the publisher:

From the publisher:
Pet Sounds is at once a book of confessional economics, music criticism disguised as poetry, and a complicated coming out story. Working from the sticky interface of property and sex and written under the shadow of urban development, these poems take up the question of passing and everything that gets lost in narrow definitions of family and romantic love. Pet Sounds pulses with the pleasures and grief of what it means to make a home inside structures that don’t fit.

Watch Stephanie Young accept the Lammy:


Transgender Poetry

Xandria Phillips
Nightboat Books

From the publisher:
In this debut collection by African American poet Xandria Phillips, HULL explores emotional impacts of colonialism and racism on the Black queer body and the present-day emotional impacts of enslavement in urban, rural, and international settings. HULL is lyrical, layered, history-ridden, experimental, textured, adorned, ecstatic, and emotionally investigative.

Watch Xandria Phillips accept the Lammy:

Lesbian Mystery

Ann McMan
Bywater Books

From the publisher:
Two years have passed since the unsavory events in Dust. Evan Reed is still cranky, but she’s also dealing with the nagging effects of a gunshot wound. Her teenage daughter, Stevie has a new discovery to share, and Stevie’s father, Dan, has married a woman half his age. Evan’s childhood pal, Father Tim, has started questioning his faith, and Evan’s relationship with publishing magnate, Julia Donne has all the earmarks of heading somewhere special.

Watch Ann McMan accept the Lammy:

Gay Mystery

Carved in Bone

Carved in Bone: A Henry Rios Novel
Michael Nava
Persigo Press

From the publisher:
November, 1984. Criminal defense lawyer Henry Rios, fresh out of rehab and picking up the pieces of his life, reluctantly accepts work as an insurance claims investigator and is immediately is assigned to investigate the apparently accidental death of Bill Ryan. Ryan, part of the great gay migration into San Francisco in the 1970s, has died in his flat of carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty gas line, his young lover barely surviving. Rios’s investigation into Ryan’s death-which Rios becomes convinced was no accident-tracks Ryan’s life from his arrival in San Francisco as a terrified 18-year-old to his transformation into a successful businessman. What begins for Rios as the search for the truth about Bill Ryan’s death becomes the search for the meaning of Ryan’s life as the tsunami of AIDS bears down on the gay community.

Watch Michael Nava accept the Lammy:

Lesbian Memoir/Biography

Cover of We Have Always Been Here

We Have Always Been Here: A Queer Muslim Memoir
Samra Habib

Viking Canada

From the publisher:
Samra Habib has spent most of her life searching for the safety to be herself. As an Ahmadi Muslim growing up in Pakistan, she faced regular threats from Islamic extremists who believed the small, dynamic sect to be blasphemous. From her parents, she internalized the lesson that revealing her identity could put her in grave danger.

When her family came to Canada as refugees, Samra encountered a whole new host of challenges: bullies, racism, the threat of poverty, and an arranged marriage. Backed into a corner, her need for a safe space–in which to grow and nurture her creative, feminist spirit–became dire. The men in her life wanted to police her, the women in her life had only shown her the example of pious obedience, and her body was a problem to be solved.

Watch Samra Habib accept the Lammy:

Gay Memoir/Biography

Cover of How We Fight for Our Lives

How We Fight for Our Lives
Saeed Jones
Simon & Schuster

From the publisher:
Haunted and haunting, How We Fight for Our Lives is a stunning coming-of-age memoir. Jones tells the story of a young, black, gay man from the South as he fights to carve out a place for himself, within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Through a series of vignettes that chart a course across the American landscape, Jones draws readers into his boyhood and adolescence—into tumultuous relationships with his family, into passing flings with lovers, friends, and strangers. Each piece builds into a larger examination of race and queerness, power and vulnerability, love and grief: a portrait of what we all do for one another—and to one another—as we fight to become ourselves.

Watch Saeed Jones accept the Lammy:

Lesbian Romance

Aurora's Angel

Aurora’s Angel: A Dark Fantasy Romance
Emily Noon
Bluefire Books

From the publisher:
A broken-winged angel trying to get home. Her escort a nocturnal huntress with a bloody past. It will be a dangerous journey—monsters are everywhere and the truly dangerous ones hide in plain sight.

Watch Emily Noon accept the Lammy:

Gay Romance

Joseph Chapman: My Molly Life

Joseph Chapman: My Molly Life
James Lovejoy

From the publisher:
Joseph Chapman is a young denizen of late 18th century London, who must contend not only with being orphaned and consigned to an execrable charity school, but also with the sense he is different in important ways from other boys. At the Little Eastcheap Free School for Unfortunate Boys, Joe encounters the predatory headmaster, Mr. Peevers, and a boy, Chowder, who becomes the one person he can trust. When they are separated for their apprenticeships, Joe does well. He becomes apprenticed to a prominent progressive bookseller, but Chowder must contend with the drunken greengrocer Tobias Cudworth and his wife, Dulcibella. With some help from his bookseller, Joe reconnects with Chowder, intending to resume their relationship. Chowder is eager to do the same, but due to treachery, Joe and Chowder soon find themselves in Newgate Prison, facing trial for the capital offense of sodomy.

Watch James Lovejoy accept the Lammy:

LGBTQ Anthology

Love WITH Accountability

Love WITH Accountability: Digging up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse
Aishah Shahidah Simmons
AK Press

From the publisher:
Despite the current survivor-affirming awareness around sexual violence, child sexual abuse, most notably when it’s a family member or friend, is still a very taboo topic. There are approximately 42 million child sexual abuse survivors in the U.S. and millions of bystanders who look the other way as the abuse occurs and cover for the harm-doers with no accountability. Documentary filmmaker and survivor of child sexual abuse and adult rape, Aishah Shahidah Simmons invites diasporic Black people to join her in transformative storytelling that envisions a world that ends child sexual abuse without relying on the criminal justice system. Love WITH Accountability features compelling writings by child sexual abuse survivors, advocates, and Simmons’s mother, who underscores the detrimental impact of parents/caregivers not believing their children when they disclose their sexual abuse. This collection explores disrupting the inhumane epidemic of child sexual abuse, humanely.

Watch Aishah Shahidah Simmons accept the Lammy:

Cover of A Rainbow Thread

A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts from the First Century to 1969
Noam Sienna

From the publisher:
Spanning almost two millennia and containing translations from more than a dozen languages, Noam Sienna’s new book, A Rainbow Thread: An Anthology of Queer Jewish Texts From the First Century to 1969, collects for the first time more than a hundred sources on the intersection of Jewish and queer identities.

LGBTQ Children’s/Young Adult

Children’s/Middle Grade:
Cover of Hazel's Theory of Evolution

Hazel’s Theory of Evolution
Lisa Jenn Bigelow

From the publisher:
Hazel knows a lot about the world. That’s because when she’s not hanging with her best friend, taking care of her dog, or helping care for the goats on her family’s farm, she loves reading through dusty encyclopedias.

But even Hazel doesn’t have answers for the questions awaiting her as she enters eighth grade. What if no one at her new school gets her, and she doesn’t make any friends? What’s going to happen to one of her moms, who’s pregnant again after having two miscarriages? Why does everything have to change when life was already perfectly fine?

Watch Lisa Jenn Bigelow accept the Lammy:

Young Adult:
Cover of The Grief Keeper

The Grief Keeper
Alexandra Villasante
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

From the publisher:
Seventeen-year-old Marisol has always dreamed of being American, learning what Americans and the US are like from television and Mrs. Rosen, an elderly expat who had employed Marisol’s mother as a maid. When she pictured an American life for herself, she dreamed of a life like Aimee and Amber’s, the title characters of her favorite American TV show. She never pictured fleeing her home in El Salvador under threat of death and stealing across the US border as “an illegal”, but after her brother is murdered and her younger sister, Gabi’s, life is also placed in equal jeopardy, she has no choice, especially because she knows everything is her fault. If she had never fallen for the charms of a beautiful girl named Liliana, Pablo might still be alive, her mother wouldn’t be in hiding and she and Gabi wouldn’t have been caught crossing the border.

Watch Alexandra Villasante accept the Lammy:

LGBTQ Comics


Kelsey Wroten
Uncivilized Books

From the publisher:
Kelsey Wroten’s Cannonball fires the reader straight into the messy life of Caroline Bertram: aspiring writer, queer, art school graduate, near alcoholic, and self proclaimed tortured genius. Wroten tells the story of an artist struggling with the arrival of adulthood and the Sisyphean task of artistic fulfillment. Stunningly drawn in a classic style, with big truths and biting wit, Wroten’s debut graphic novel is Art School Confidential for the Tumblr generation.

Watch Kelsey Wroten accept the Lammy:


Cover of program for A Strange Loop

A Strange Loop
Michael R. Jackson
Produced by Playwrights Horizons and Page 73

From the producer:
Usher is a black, queer writer, working a day job he hates while writing his original musical: a piece about a black, queer writer, working a day job he hates while writing his original musical. Michael R. Jackson’s blistering, momentous new musical follows a young artist at war with a host of demons—not least of which, the punishing thoughts in his own head—in an attempt to capture and understand his own strange loop.

Watch Michael R. Jackson accept the Lammy:

LGBTQ Erotica

Cover of Whore Foods

Whore Foods
LA Warman
Inpatient Press

From the publisher:
Collecting and expanding pieces from her seminal newsletter detailing the inner and outer sexual life of a grocery store cashier, LA Warman’s Whore Foods is a guaranteed feast for sore thighs. Now available in raw pulp paperback form for the first time. Cleanup in Aisle 4.

Watch LA Warman accept the Lammy:

LGBTQ Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror

Cover of The Deep

The Deep
Rivers Solomon with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

Gallery / Saga Press

From the publisher:
The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award–nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’s rap group clipping.

LGBTQ Studies

Cover of All Our Trials

All Our Trials: Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence
Emily L. Thuma
University of Illinois Press

From the publisher:
During the 1970s, grassroots women activists in and outside of prisons forged a radical politics against gender violence and incarceration. Emily L. Thuma traces the making of this anticarceral feminism at the intersections of struggles for racial and economic justice, prisoners’ and psychiatric patients’ rights, and gender and sexual liberation.

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