Sunday, 29 May 2011

CANADIAN WRITERS DAZZLE AT 23rd ANNUAL LAMBDA LITERARY AWARDS IN NEW YORK

 Living legend Edward Albee at The Lammys 
(Photo by Jacques Cornell, courtesy Lambda Literary Foundation)

(May 29) Three-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Edward Albee and Gold Dagger Award-winning crime fiction writer Val McDermid were honoured at the 23rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards in New York City this week, at a ceremony that brought together over 400 attendees, sponsors, and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature, including several Canadian nominees like playwright Bryden MacDonald and author Daniel Allen Cox.

Stefanie Powers at The Lammys
(Photo by Donna Aceto, courtesy
Lambda Literary Foundation

The "Lammys" ceremony was hosted by comedienne Lea DeLaria ("rhymes with malaria") who kept the evening flowing with her bawdy humor, at one point cracking, “I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing here - you’re all smarter than me!”

Also in attendance were presenters Jim McGreevey, Stefanie Powers and award-winning author Emma Donoghue. Entertainment Weekly reports one of the highlights of the evening was when Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally presented the Pioneer Award to Albee. “Edward has avoided gay subject matter to such a degree that people have wondered if he is indeed gay,” McNally said. “Well, I’m here to tell you, in no uncertain terms, that he is. I picked Edward up in 1959 at a party … I thought he was gorgeous and sexy.”

Zoe Whittal
(Photo from Facebook)
In accepting his award, Albee said, “I’m not a gay writer. I’m a writer who happens to be gay … I’ve written a number of plays with gay characters in them, but I have never written a play that could be considered a ‘gay play’ because I consider that a lessening of the creative act, to limit oneself to one’s own sexual practices as subject matter for one’s work.”

Stefanie Powers told EW, “The gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities are in a position where they’re expected to fill a niche, to make a point of themselves. We all long for the time when nobody has to do that.”

Daniel Allen Cox
(Photo from Facebook)
Among the winners were Montreal author Zoe Whittall in the Best Transgender Fiction category for her terrific book Holding Still For as Long as Possible. Other Canadian nominees were Bryden MacDonald for With Bated Breath (his excellent play that premiered at Montreal's Centaur Theatre in 2009) in the Best LGBT Drama category, and Daniel Allen Cox (for Krakow Melt in the Bisexual Fiction category).

Cox was previously shortlisted for a Lammy back in 2009 for his semi-autobiographical debut novel Shuck about a NYC hustler. "My nomination was really unexpected," Daniel told me at the time. "It was just so fantastic to be in that room with so many great writers. It was neat to see all these authors [whose books are] on your bookshelf just a few feet away you! It was a great honour."

Bryden MacDonald
(Photo from Facebook)
Just before this year's Lammys, Cox posted on Facebook, "Going to Lammy ceremony in NYC tonight in my rhinestone tie with Jack Daniel’s and Harley-Davidson silver inlay. Best three dollars I’ve ever spent."

After the ceremony,  Bryden MacDonald posted on Facebook, "As expected - no Lammy. But let me tell you, my true reason for making this trip was beautifully realized: meeting and chatting with Edward Albee. What a night! My head is still spinning. And Terrance McNally too. And Stephanie Powers taught me how to use my camera."

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