Local Writers Nominated for Lambda Literary Awards

Local writers Glenway Wescott (left), Derek Palacio (top right) and Larry Benjamin are up for 2014 Lambda Literary Awards.

Local writers Glenway Wescott (left), Derek Palacio (top right) and Larry Benjamin are up for 2014 Lambda Literary Awards.

After thumbing through a record-breaking 746 submissions, the Lambda Literary Foundation has announced the nominees for the 26th annual Lammys. The list, which rewards excellence in LGBT writing in books in 2013, includes two wordsmiths from our neck of the woods.

Glenway Wescott, who passed away in Rosemont N.J. in 1987, is nominated in the Gay General Fiction category for A Heaven of Words, a collection of his last journal entries that was published in 2013. Lambda Literary says the “entries reveal a mind that was constantly gathering material and considering the potential for literary work. In addition to revealing some of his thought processes, the content of his final journals … cements Wescott’s significant role in gay cultural history.” Learn more about the work, and Scott’s life here.

East Falls resident Larry Benjamin, one of our favorite tweeters who we recently profiled in our LGBT Black History Month Spotlight, is up for an award in the Gay Romance category for Unbroken. The ambitious, semi-autobiographical work spans 40 years, and chronicles the on-again-off-again relationship between Jose and Lincoln.

Neat backstory: Larry tells me that the idea for the novel came to him after he answered a tweet asking “How old were you when you first realized you were [LGBT]?” His under-40-character answer, “I was 12 & in 7th grade. He was the new kid. His name was Jose. He walked into 4th period music, smiled & changed everything,” led him to write the “what could have been” story around one of his first boy crush.

“I’ve written three books, and this is the one I’m most proud of, because it’s so personal,” he says. Larry’s story caught our eye last fall when we began our LGBT Six-Word Memoir Project. His mini bio, “Age 12. Jose Smiled. Changed everything.,” appeared on the cover of our fall issue. So we’ll definitely be able to say we knew him when …

Larry and his longtime partner Stanley (you thought I was gonna say Jose, didn’t you?) will attend the awards ceremony in New York City on June 2nd. Stay tuned to G Philly for updates, but in the meantime, move these two works to the top of your spring/summer reading list.

See a full list of Lambda Literary Award nominations here.  

UPDATE 3/13/2015: After posting this, I found out about another local writer up for a Lambda Literary Award. Congrats to Lewisburg, Pa.’s Derek Palacio, whose How to Shake the Other Man is up for the LGBT Debut Fiction prize.