Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers

Lambda Literary has played a pivotal role is nurturing the development of emerging LGBTQ writers through programs such as our annual summer fellowship, internships and review writing opportunities at LambdaLiterary.org and community building through readings, conferences and other events. Supporting emerging LGBTQ writers is central to our mission: they are the future of LGBTQ literature.

The Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers (formerly the Dr. Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award) recognizes LGBTQ-identified writers whose work demonstrates their strong potential for promising careers. The award includes a cash prize of $1000. Two Emerging LGBTQ Writer prizes will be awarded. You can fill out the submission form below.

Qualifications for Nomination

  • The nominee must self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer.
  • The nominee must have written and published at least one but no more than two books of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.
  • The nominee must be of demonstrated ability and show promise for continued growth.
  • The nominee must show meaningful engagement with LGBTQ literary communities.

Important Considerations

  • This award is for a writer, not a book. The application must therefore focus on the qualifications of the writer, not the qualities of a book.
  • This award honors emergent writers. Established authors are not eligible for consideration. Lambda Literary defines emergent writers as those who have published at least one but no more than two books of fiction, nonfiction or poetry.
  • The nominee’s contributions to the LGBTQ literary field beyond their writings and publications will also be considered. For example, reviewing LGBTQ literature, conducting relevant research, participating in LGBTQ literary events, contributing to LGBTQ journals and reviews, membership in on-line LGBTQ literary forums, etc.
  • Nominees must submit a Core Writing Sample, their strongest representative work. Maximum of 20 pages for Prose and 10 pages for Poetry. This can be an excerpt to a larger piece or a standalone work.
  • Supplemental literary work such as short stories and essays, or editing LGBTQ-themed anthology collections will also be considered.
  • Individuals may nominate themselves or other writers. Nomination by others and self-nominations are given equal weight.
  • If you are having your application prepared and submitted by an agent/publicist/publisher, please read it very carefully.
  • All materials must be received by the deadline; incomplete applications will not be considered.

Judith Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers Recipients

  • Robert Fieseler and Hannah Ensor (2019)
  • Mecca Jamilah Sullivan and Jeanne Thornton (2018)
  • H Melt and Victor Yates (2017)
  • JP Howard and Bryan Borland (2016)
  • Anne Balay and Daisy Hernandez (2015)
  • Imogen Binnie & Charles Rice-Gonzalez (2014)
  • Carter Sickels & Sassafras Lowrey (2013)

About Judith A. Markowitz

Judith A. Markowitz is committed to helping LGBT literature flourish. That is why she is funding the Emerging LGBTQ Writers award. This award acknowledges talented new writers; it shines a light on them, their writing, and the other ways in which they contribute to our literary community. They are our future. She believes they deserve recognition, support and encouragement.

Judith is an active donor to Lambda Literary, Lambda Legal, and other LGBT organizations. She was a member of the LL board for six years during which time she served as president, co-chair, and secretary. Prior to that she wrote reviews for the Lambda Book Report.

To date, Judith has published more than 150 articles; edited four anthologies; and written three books, including The Gay Detective Novel (2005, McFarland). She writes about gender and language, lesbian mysteries, speech technology (like SIRI), and robots.  She is currently working on a book that explores ancestors of today’s robots that are found in myths (e.g., Jewish golem), fiction (e.g., Frankenstein), and reality (e.g., Japanese Karakuri). She is collecting stories and myths from other cultures that involve human-created humans and humanoids.

Judith is a native of Chicago where she lives with her wife, Susan Franz. In 2017, they celebrated thirty-seven years of love and companionship. Judith has a master’s degree in computer science/artificial intelligence from De Paul University, a doctoral degree in linguistics from Northwestern University, and has done post-doctoral work in women studies at Northwestern University.

If you have questions, please direct them to [email protected].