Honors, Awards, and Nominations for LGBT Writers
As the first month of the New Year winds down, there have been lots of exciting and noteworthy stories in the queer world.
President Obama’s inaugural poet Richard Blanco read a poem called “One Today” at the inauguration on Monday, January 21. Joining the ranks of Robert Frost, Miller Williams, Maya Angelou and Elizabeth Alexander, Blanco is the first openly gay and first Latino inaugural poet in history.
The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) recently announced that Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, two feminist literary critics, would be presented with the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Over the years, the two have collaborated to write The Madwoman in the Attic (1979), The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women (1985), and three volumes of No Man’s Land.
The organization also revealed the 30 books from the 2012 publishing year that are finalists for NBCC awards, five books for each of six categories—autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Among these are prominent LGBT authors: Daniel Mendelsohn for his book of criticism, Waiting for the Barbarians, Lisa Cohen for her biography, All We Know: Three Lives, Andrew Solomon for his nonfiction work, Far From the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, and D.A. Powell for his book of poems, Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys. The winners will be announced at the NBCC Awards Ceremony in New York on February 28th.
In the film industry, the documentary Bully about peer-to-peer bullying in U.S. high schools ranks in as the second highest grossing documentary of 2012 (next to 2016: Obama’s America), earning a total of $4.1 million.
Speaking of schools, last April, the Davis County School District in Utah removed Patricia Polacco’s book, In Our Mothers’ House, from its libraries. This was the result of a petition from 25 parents who claimed the book’s subject matter, children with lesbian parents, was too controversial. After a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, the book has recently been returned to shelves.
And on a couple lighter notes:
Charlotte Rae, the actress who played Mrs. Garrett on The Facts of Life and Different Strokes is currently looking to find a publisher for her memoir, The Facts of My Life. In the book, she reveals not only her experiences working for these television sitcoms, but also the fact that her husband John Strauss, the Grammy award-winning composer, was gay.
For those awaiting the next Bret Easton Ellis novel, it might be a little while. In a recent Vulture.com article, the author says he is not working on anything of the sort at the moment. Rather, these days, it’s his twitter account that has him writing the most, with over 375,000 people “following” his every thought.
[image of Richard Blanco via The Miami Herald]