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Last week, the American Library Association (ALA) announced the winners of the 2010 Stonewall Book Awards. The Stonewall Book Awards Committee of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table announced the three winners including David Francis for his “gritty” Soviet Union tale, Stray Dog Winter; Nathaniel Frank‘s timely history of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Unfriendly Fire; and Nick Burd‘s debut novel, The Vast Fields of Ordinary — marking the first time such an award was given for Young Adult and children’s literature.
The YA award went to Nick Burd for his novel The Vast Fields of Ordinary (Penguin Group). From ALA:
“The Vast Fields of Ordinary” is the story of Dade, a gay Midwestern teenager, whose journey of self-acceptance takes place during the summer before his first year of college. Dade grapples with coming out, his parents impending divorce, and his nascent sexual relationships.
First-time author Burd writes his characters with an authentic voice that realistically captures the teenage experience. He does not shy away from the realities of the lives of many teenagers. His characters unapologetically drink, smoke pot, and have sexual relationships, which makes them more realistic examples of 21st century adolescents.
Burd’s isn’t the only book in YA fiction to get a nod from the ALA. Four additional books received honors including:
In the fiction category, the Barbara Gittings Literature Award goes to Stray Dog Winter by David Francis (MacAdam/Cage). From ALA:
Francis’ novel is a gritty and accurate depiction of one gay man’s experience in the 1980’s Soviet Union and as a conflicted boy growing up in rural Australia. Darcy travels from his Australian home to Moscow to help his half-sister Fin prepare for her art exhibition. Unbeknownst to Darcy, Fin is working with an Armenian terrorist group. Darcy’s sexual indiscretions lead to blackmail by the KGB, who are trying the infiltrate the terrorist cell. Particularly interesting are the author’s descriptions of the treatment of gay men in the Soviet Union. This cold war thriller is also a journey of self awareness for Darcy and his half-sister. Francis’ depiction of Moscow is both evocative and chilling with characters and scenery that are believable and vivid.
Honor Books in Fiction include:
The Non Fiction prize, goes to Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America, by Nathaniel Frank (St. Martin’s Press). From the ALA:
Frank’s compelling book is a primer on the history and impact of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy on our military. He documents how this policy came into being as a result of President Clinton’s early commitment to overturn the ban on gays and lesbians in the military. He details how this policy has negatively impacted the military, dispels the myths justifying the policy, and explains why this ill advised policy should be struck down. This exceptionally researched, relevant book puts a human face on the issue and is particularly timely in light of President Obama’s commitment to revisit the policy.
Honor books in Non fiction include:
For more information, visit the Stonewall page at ala.org.