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Last week 14 Lambda Award finalists gathered in New York’s GLBT Center to read their work in advance of the Lambda Awards in May. The evening kicked off with a refreshing if not playful ballad from Blue Boy author, Rakesh Satyal who performed an original song, “Hello Lammy” sung to the tune of “Hello Dolly.” (We’ll ask Satyal, who’s an editor at HarperCollins, to see if we can post his hilarious lyrics later in the week.)
Overall, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming as one by one various authors from seemingly opposite literary spectrums approached the podium to read. As Nick Burd read from his ALA Stonewall Book Award winning novel, The Vast Fields of Ordinary he was followed by Dr. Emma Pérez who read from her novel, Forgetting the Alamo, Or, Blood Memory, which she jokingly refers to as the “burgeoning Latina lesbian western genre.”
Frank Anthony Polito read from his steamy high-school romance, Drama Queers! while Ana Božičević read poetry from her book Stars of the Night Commute. Božičević and Polito may both live in Brooklyn, but their work couldn’t be farther apart. And that contrast is precisely what made the evening so remarkable. The authors represented by the Lambda Literary Foundation umbrella are as diverse as the literary communities who read both Romance novels and Sonnets about romance.
One of the evening’s highlights came from watching Mykola (Mick) Dementiuk read from his novel Holy Communion that is nominated in the Bisexual fiction category.
Dementiuk suffered a stroke at the age of 48 that left his right arm and leg paralyzed, but that didn’t stop him from appearing at the event or from reading his own work. His perseverance was inspiring to say the least. At the end of the night his publisher Sally Miller (her assistant Brice Bock took all the photos here) donated several books to the LGBT Center Library.
As the evening rolled by, Bobbie Geary who founded The Graeae Press in New Orleans read from her novel The Janeid —also nominated in the Bisexual fiction category.
Three readers including screenwriter David Ciminello (pronounced chim – in – ell – o), historian Christa Orth, poet, writer and director Gabrielle Rivera all read from the anthology Portland Queers: Tales of the Rose City, which is nominated for a Lammy in LGBT Anthology.
Lammy winner, Rob Byrnes shared an excerpt form his new book, Straight Lies— a Lammy finalist in the Gay Mystery category.
Sarah Lawrence professor, Julie Abraham read from her book, Metropolitan Lovers: The Homosexuality of Cities, and the evening came to a close with reading from Douglas A. Martin and Michael Montlack who read from their books Once You Go Back and My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them respectively.
Three more readings are scheduled for Chicago, LA and New Orleans. Read more about them here. And if you’d like to submit photographs or cover the readings as a Blogger for LambdaLiteary.org, please send us an email to email@example.com.
Photos: Brice Bock