2015 Emerging Writer Award

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Lambda Literary’s Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award recognizes LGBT-identified writers whose work demonstrates their strong potential for promising careers.  Made possible through a generous gift from Teresa DeCrescenzo, MSW in honor of Dr. Betty Berzon, two Emerging Writer awards will be presented at the 2015 Lambda Literary Awards Ceremony.  The award includes a cash prize of $1000.   Nominations must be received by December 15, 2014.

If you have any questions, please direct them to Awards Administrator, Kathleen DeBold at awards@lambdaliterary.org.

Previous winners of the Emerging Writer Award:

2014:  Imogen Binnie & Charles Rice-Gonzalez
2013: Carter Sickels & Sassafras Lowrey

About Dr. Betty Berzon: 

Dr. Betty Berzon (1928 – 2006) was an author and psychotherapist renown for her work with the LGBT community. She was among the first psychotherapists to assist gay and lesbian clients. After coming out as a lesbian in 1968, she began providing therapy to gays and lesbians, and in 1971, she helped found the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center as well as an organization of gays and lesbians within the American Psychiatric Association, which declassified homosexuality as a mental illness two years later.

Berzon temporarily attended Stanford University before enrolling in UCLA in 1952 and graduating in 1957. She then obtained her master’s degree from San Diego State University in 1962.

Dr. Berzon’s books included Positively Gay (1979), Permanent Partners (1988), and The Intimacy Dance (1996). Berzon also wrote a personal memoir, Surviving Madness, a Therapist’s Own Story (2002) in which she discussed her previous suicide attempt and institutionalization. The book received a Lambda Literary Award in memoir. For many years, she wrote an advice column on gay relationships for PlanetOut.com.

Berzon was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1986. She was treated by mastectomy and her cancer remained in remission for many years. The cancer returned in 2001, and Berzon died on January 24, 2006. She is survived by Teresa DeCrescenzo, the founder of Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services, whom Berzon met in 1973 and married during a mass wedding ceremony at the 1993 March on Washington.

Dr. Betty Berzon held a lifelong passion for literature. Through this award, she wanted to ensure the support of emerging LGBT writers beyond her lifetime.

About Teresa DeCrescenzo

Teresa DeCrescenzo, MSW, is a graduate of the USC School of Social Work, which honored her with its Most Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1991.  She is also the Founder of the first residential program for LGBT youth in foster care in the country (Gay and Lesbian Adolescent Social Services).  Terry was named Social Worker of the Year by NASW in 1990.  In 1995, she was named Outstanding Administrator, while in 2005, she was given the “Pioneer Award”by the Child Welfare League of America.  Terry was recognized with the Knee-Whitman Award in 2007 for her national impact on mental health policy,and was inducted into the NASW Hall of Distinction in October 2012.  Among her publications is the book, Helping Gay and Lesbian Youth: New Policies, New Programs.  Terry is the Director of Social Services at a large acute- care hospital and is adjunct faculty at California State University, Northridge.