Grants and Awards (Pt 3)

October 5, 2008 at 2:24 am 2 comments

The Lambda Literary Foundation (LLF) has released its nomination guidelines for its 2008 awards. Heading the new changes are that reprints and second or later editions are not eligible for consideration, then some vague breakdown of categories for bisexual and transgender books, then more confused, discretionary breakdown along sexual orientation or gender for warranted categories.

I’ve written before about my great disappointment in LLF’s limited view of what constitutes LGBT literature. It seems nothing has changed.

Basically, only first-print dead tree books published and available in bookstores in the US are eligible.

E-books are unequivocally excluded from the awards. Again. Can someone explain why? Are ebooks not literary enough? Isn’t literary merit a matter for the judges to decide per submission rather than wholesale format exclusions? Would they include poetry if there was nothing overtly homosexual in it except the sexual orientation of the writer and the publisher’s claim on their website? Is LLF being lobbied by publishers who don’t want epublishers to horn in on their territory? Is Amazon or any eretailer considered a bookstore for these purposes? If a supermarket has a book section, is it a bookstore?

These and other questions perplex me. I’m sure bisexual and transgender lit fans have plenty to say on the discretionary-but-not-accountable proviso given to the judging committee.

Sadly sadly sadly, the Award Guidelines Committee has again failed to take the opportunity to grasp the emerging impact of ebooks on LGBT literature. Instead of being progressive, of understanding that many brick-and-mortar bookstores don’t even stock LGBT books, of ignoring the impact that the internet has on LGBT life, of not accepting the diversity of media that LGBTs have always excelled at, LLF prefer to expand on genre (21 categories!) so that a book can be nominated in more than one category.

The complete market exclusion of LGBT books published outside the US is stunning in its arrogance. In this day and age, that such an restrictive, protectionist stance is still advocated AND acceptable from a major literary body that professes to “celebrate LGBT literature and provide resources for writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, and librarians – the whole literary community.” is frankly, ironic.

I’m livid with disappointment.

Evecho is the publisher and Editor-in-Chief of ReadTheseLips.com, a free lesbian ebooks producer.

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Entry filed under: Advocates, Opinion, Queer lit. Tags: , .

Transitions what’s up this week

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Stacia  |  October 5, 2008 at 8:52 am

    One thing I find fascinating: the LLF guidelines proclaim that bisexual lit is one of “the most under-published segments of our LGBT community.” Yet anyone who has tried to get lesbian fiction (or anything relating to lesbians, really) published electronically knows that the market is dominated by gay and bisexual material. In other words, bisexual lit is “under-published” ONLY when you use the LLF definition of printed and bound books; it’s an extremely popular segment of the LGBT epublishing community.

    Reply
  • 2. evecho  |  October 6, 2008 at 12:40 am

    I second that. Lesbian lit is less likely to be accepted by epublishers who prefer to instead accept gay male stories with a mandatory lesbian scene for tokenism. While LLF is busily looking out for the bisexual lit market, the rest of us have to wait to be recognised – based on format, not literary merit.
    I just cannot understand why ebooks are refused consideration. There is no explanation or reason for that decision, which leads me to conclude that a stronger lobby must be bricking access.
    The longer LLF wait, the more readers continue to miss out.

    Reply

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Evecho’s newsy bits

News, updates and links from the lesbian and publishing ‘verse that interest me, my current projects, keeping up with authors and sharing musings on middle-class life, gourmet adventures and comparisons between East/West perspectives. My opinions will likely be linearly logical and gayly bent, as they tend to be.