Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award
The Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award will be presented annually at the Lambda Literary Award ceremony. The award, made possible by Teresa DeCrescenzo, consists of two cash prizes of $1000.
The awards will be presented to two LGBT-identified authors. Age is not a determining factor. The award will recognize LGBT content of importance to the LGBT community and with emergent LGBT authors who have written and published up to 2 books (fiction or nonfiction), or 1 book and substantial additional literary work such as short stories and essays. A panel will be created to identify candidates & winners. Recommended winners will be reviewed by the Staff and Board of Trustees of the Lambda Literary Foundation.
Download the 2013 Nomination Guidelines (PDF) listed below.
1. The award will be presented to two (2) LGBT-identified authors, and age will not be a factor in defining an emerging writer.
2. The award will recognize LGBT authors who have written and published at least one but no more than two books (fiction or nonfiction). If only one book has been published, additional literary work such as short stories or essays will be considered to substantiate an author’s potential for a promising career.
3. The authors will be of demonstrated ability and show promise for continued growth.
4. Candidates’ contributions to the LGBT literary field beyond their writings and publications will also be considered.
- Please keep in mind that the prize is intended for writers who are emergent.
- Individuals may nominate themselves or other writers.
- All materials must be postmarked by March 8, 2013.
Submitting a Nomination
Please include three (3) complete sets of the following materials:
1. How does the nominee represent the future of LGBT literature? (1500 word maximum)
2. List the nominee’s major published works, (up to two books and additional literary work such as short stories or essays).
3. Anything else you want to add supporting this candidate? (500 word maximum)
a) 3 copies of author’s book(s) that best represents the writer’s work.
b) A maximum of 3 letters of recommendation for the candidate may be e-mailed to Lambda Literary Foundation to support the candidate’s nomination. The letters must come directly from the person making the recommendation. E-mail letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three (3) complete sets of materials must be postmarked by March 8, 2013 and mailed to:
Lambda Literary Foundation
Emerging Writer Award
5482 Wilshire Blvd, #1595
Los Angeles, CA 90036
If you have any questions, please direct them to Executive Director, Tony Valenzuela at email@example.com.
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.