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This is a recurring theme for me and will continue until LLF moves with the times.
For background to this post, read my criticism against the LLF for excluding e-books and international queer lit from their awards (the Lammies). Basically, if you’re not in North America and don’t write English, you’re not queer worthy enough.
LLF has released their guidelines for next year’s Lammies. Changes! but not enough and some may think for the worse. Current guidelines are posted on their site but I’ll repeat the eligibility requirements here for posterity as the guidelines change every year. Emphasis are mine.
The Lambda Literary Foundation (LLF) seeks to elevate the status of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people throughout society by rewarding and promoting excellence among LGBT writers who use their work to explore LGBT lives. (Lambda’s mission statement)
· In determining whether a book should be submitted for consideration, it should be noted that the Lambda Literary Awards are based principally on the LGBT content, the gender orientation/identity of the author and the literary merit of the work.
· The book must be published and distributed (i.e. available in bookstores or online) in the United States during 2009.
· Self-published books are eligible.
· Reprints of previously published paperback, hardcover or electronic books are not eligible. Second (or later) editions of a book are not eligible for consideration. A book that has been republished by a different publisher after its initial publication is not eligible.
· The book must be published in English. Translations from other languages into English are accepted, as long as the U.S. publication occurs during 2009.
· Books available in eBook format alone are not eligible.
Is this progress? LLF will now accept books only available from online stores (all bow to Amazon) as long as US readers can get them. Self-published books are eligible.
On the other hand, pure ebook publications are still barred (i.e. still discriminated). Yes, I’m spewing but unsurprised. Where would LLF be if they weren’t ultra conservative? Speaking of conservative, this statement worries me:
… the Lambda Literary Awards are based principally on the LGBT content, the gender orientation/identity of the author and the literary merit of the work.
Is that in descending order of priority? LGBT, I notice, doesn’t include intersex or queer identification. What does taking into account the gender orientation or identity of the author have anything to do with literary merit or promoting excellence in LGBT writing? What would the panel do with such information assuming they can get it? Most importantly, literary merit is last on the list!
Pardon me but this makes the LLF appear creepily inward looking and self-rewarding, for themselves and their network again. Only.