Credit: Courtesy Arsenal Pulp Press. Francesca Roh/Xtra
1 min

Canadians clean up at the 31st Lambda Literary Awards

Casey Plett, Joshua Whitehead and Larissa Lai were among winners

Long live the Lammys!

For more than three decades, the Lambda Literary Awards have celebrated LGBTQ2 literature, recognizing authors, poets, memoirists and journalists whose books have been published in the US. But this year, out of 1,000 submissions from more than 300 publishers, Canadians were among the night’s biggest winners.

At last night’s ceremony in New York City, small Vancouver publisher Arsenal Pulp Press was up for five awards, including nominations in Lesbian Fiction for Amber Dawn’s Sodom Road Exit and in Transgender Fiction for Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s Sketchtasy.

Author Casey Plett took home the award for Transgender Fiction with Little Fish. The book follows Wendy Reimer, a 30-year-old trans woman from Winnipeg, who learns her grandfather may have been trans, too. (It’s been a whirlwind month for Plett: just two weeks ago, Little Fish also won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award.)

In Gay Fiction, poet Joshua Whitehead won for his novel, Jonny Appleseed. In it, a Two-Spirit Indiqueer self-proclaimed glitter princess must reconcile his life on the reserve and off it, where he becomes a cybersex worker who fetishizes his identity for money. To get through it all, Appleseed repeats a familiar mantra: “You’re gonna need a rock and a whole lotta medicine.”

Calgary author Larissa Lai’s The Tiger Flu was the winner in Lesbian Fiction. Her first novel in 16 years, the book explores a community of women who can reproduce without men who are exiled by a patriarchal corporation and must go to war and fight back in order to survive.

Other winners from the night include Roxane Gay’s Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture, Négar Djavadi’s Disoriental and Darnell L. Moore’s No Ashes In The Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America.

See the full list of winners here.