The 2018 Lambda Literary Awards kicked off in New York City on June 4, where many from the LGBTQ literary community came to celebrate, recognize, and remember those whose work remains monumental for the community. Held at NYU’s Skirball Center of Performing Arts, the 30th Lambda Literary Awards was a night of centering writers, publishers, and supporters who work hard to continue the tradition of the night.
This year’s Awards were hosted by comedian Kate Clinton. Though there were many references to the current administration and the ways that it has impacted the civil liberties of many LGBTQ people, the spirit of the Awards remained strong, celebrating the accomplishments that have been made in spite of these setbacks.
There were emotional wins for many of the winners. Roxane Gay, who was honored with the Trustee Award (as well as for Bisexual Nonfiction for her memoir, Hunger), dedicated her win for marginalized communities to embrace “the pure pleasure of writing” for ourselves, first and foremost: “As a woman, as a black woman, as a queer woman, writing has offered me salvation and sanctuary… I want queer writers to create the work that they want to put into the world, regardless if all of the work does or does not meet the expectations of those who read it.”
Edmund White was also honored with the Visionary Awards, and was introduced by Rick Whitaker, who wrote the introduction exclusively using sentences found in White’s books. In his acceptance speech for the award, White said: “Contained in the word novel is novelty and lesbian and gay writers have been lucky to write about this new world.”
The night also fostered other winners, with an incredible number of writers of color winning in ther perspective categories: Chike Frankie Edozien for Gay Memoir/Biography; Ching-In Chen in Transgender Poetry; Rosamond S. King in Lesbian Poetry; C. Riley Snorton in Transgender Nonfiction, Carmen Maria Machado for Lesbian Fiction and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor for LGBTQ Nonfiction.
Presenters were also from various corners of LGBTQ entertainment, including authors Rebecca Solnit and Allison Bechdel, actor Taylor Trensch, poet Pamela Sneed, and trans activist-writer Kate Bornstein.
Lambda Literary has been the nation’s leading LGBTQ organization for queer literature and publishing and has held the Lambda Literary Awards since 1988.