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Lambda Literary, the nation’s leading national nonprofit arts organization promoting LGBTQ literature and writers, is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award. This year the Emerging Writer Award recognizes Anne Balay and Daisy Hernández.
The judges for the Dr. Betty Berzon prize were award-winning writers/poets Achy Obejas and Eduardo C. Corral. “It was a joy and a pleasure to read through this year’s pool, which had many distinctive applicants. Anne Balay and Daisy Hernández have been selected as the winners of the Emerging Writer Award,” said Corral and Obejas in a joint statement.
Both writers honor the memory of Dr. Betty Berzon with work that enlarges the presence of the working class and of immigrants in the LGBT community. Balay and Hernández have written beautiful and necessary books which wed the self to the political and the political to art.
Drawing upon her Cuban-Colombian roots and her work as a public intellectual, Daisy Hernández’s memoir investigates the intersections of race, class, and sexuality. She explores growing up female in an immigrant home and her identity as a bisexual in lyrical and searing prose.
Balay’s beautifully wrought and easily accessible writing explores the intersection of sexual and gender identity in the blue-collar workplace and illuminates the lives of LGBT people whose stories have too often been marginalized in the larger narratives of our community.
The Emerging Writer Award, made possible by Teresa DeCrescenzo, and named after her late partner, the renowned author and psychotherapist, Dr. Betty Berzon, consists of two cash prizes of $1000. To qualify, recipients must have published up to 2 books or 1 book and additional literary work such as short stories, essays or journalistic articles.
The awards will be handed out on June 1, 2015 at the 27th Annual Lambda Literary Awards ceremony in New York City.
“This year’s judges considered a wide field of outstanding nominations,” said LL Executive Director, Tony Valenzuela. “We congratulate the winners for this well-deserved prize and for their exciting work that is yet to come.”
To learn more about the Emerging Writers Award visit here.
Anne Balay has worked as a car mechanic, an English Professor, and a truck driver. Her writing tells the stories of silenced, invisible queers, and imagines ways that all queers–and all people–can share in possibility, progress and pleasure. She blends scholarship and activism in writing that is engaging, accessible, and transformative. Balay’s work has appeared in The Journal of Popular Culture, the Oral History Review, and American Literary History, and she is about to be a Visiting Assistant Professor at Haverford College. To see more of her work, visit www.annebalay.com.
Daisy Hernández is the author of A Cup of Water Under My Bed: A Memoir and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. She has written for The Atlantic, ColorLines, The New York Times, and NPR’s All Things Considered and CodeSwitch. Her essays have been published in the Bellingham Review, CultureStrike, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, and Hunger Mountain. Starting in the fall, she will be an Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at Miami University in Ohio. To see more of her work, visit www.daisyhernandez.com.