In honor of the late novelist E. Lynn Harris, author of ten bestselling novels, the E. Lynn Harris Award for Excellence in Black LGBT Short Fiction recognizes outstanding work by a black LGBT writer under 35 whose work incorporates queer themes.

The award was established by the Lambda Literary Foundation, journalist and author Linda Villarosa, and Magnus Books editor Don Weise in memory of Harris, who died in 2009 of heart disease at age 54, and is given in the spirit of generosity with which Harris was associated during his lifetime.

He is well remembered for nurturing young writers, having started his literary career as the self-published author of Invisible Life in 1991. His enormous success as a novelist followed shortly after, when Doubleday re-issued the book in 1994. This groundbreaking novel, which depicts African American gay and bisexual life with sensitivity and compassion, launched one of most successful writing careers of the past twenty-five years and helped mainstream audiences see black gay people in a new, affirming light. Harris’ success also helped open the door to countless other writers who followed. This award is therefore also given for the purpose of fostering the careers of literary newcomers.

The award recipient will receive a $100 dollar honorarium and their story will be featured on the Lambda Literary Review website.

Eligible contestants are queer-identified writers of African descent who address queer themes in their fiction. Applicants should not have published a novel or short story collection of their own (self-published authors, however, are eligible). Stories should be no longer than 6,000 words, and previously published work is acceptable. Contest deadline is December 31, 2013. Submissions should be emailed as a Word document to The winner will be announced on May 1, 2014.


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3 Responses to “The First Annual E. Lynn Harris Award for Excellence in Black LGBT Short Fiction”

  1. 6 August 2013 at 10:09 AM #

    Did the creators of this award even consider that Harris was THIRTY-SIX years old when he (self)published his first novel, Invisible Life? Please reconsider the age restriction on this award, as it does not accurately reflect and/or honor the literary legacy of E. Lynn Harris.

    • 6 August 2013 at 4:00 PM #

      Your concern is the age limit, and that’s valid.

      MY concern is the definition of published:

      *Applicants should not have published a novel or short story collection of their own (self-published authors, however, are eligible)*

      So people who self-publish aren’t considered published? That’s silly when the vast majority of black LGBT authors are indeed, “self” published.

      Make the award for the unpublished or for everyone.

  2. 6 May 2014 at 12:35 PM #


    Quick question has the winner be chosen? I have checked through the site (submitted an entry, however have not heard any reply or rejection).

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