A Menopausal Gentleman Wins 2012 Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Drama

New York, NY – The winners of the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards were announced last night in a sold-out gala ceremony hosted by comedienne Kate Clinton at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. Author of the groundbreaking Tales of the City books, Armistead Maupin, and seminal influence on second-wave feminism Kate Millett, were the Pioneer Award honorees. Taking place the same week of Book Expo America – the book publishing industry’s largest annual gathering of booksellers, publishers, and others in the industry – the Lambda ceremony brought together over 400 attendees, sponsors, and celebrities to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature. Legendary entertainer Lypsinka gave a special performance at the ceremony, and the VIP After-Party at hotspot Slate was a night to remember with Lady Bunny as DJ.

As “mastress” of ceremonies, Clinton treated the audience to her brand of topical, political comedy that The New York Times has called, “Quick-witted, clear-spoken… a bizarrely logical, seemingly free-associating style of delivery…” Welcoming the members of the audience from out of town, she joked, “If you’re here to buy a Big Gulp or smoke a cigarette in a park…you’ll have to go to New Jersey.” Later, describing Michele Bachmann as “the SkyMall of useless ideas,” Clinton set her target on the conservative right and their attack on women’s reproductive rights, to hearty laughs and whoops of support from the audience. Also in attendance were presenters such as Olympia Dukakis, Charles Busch, Frank Bruni, Ally Sheedy, and Ross Bleckner.

Awards were presented in twenty-four categories. Among the winners were Farzana Doctor for her novel, Six Metres of Pavment, Justin Vivian Bond for Tango: My Childhood Backwards and in High Heels, and Rahul Mehta for his debut collection of short fiction, Quarantine. In his acceptance speech, Mehta reflected on his first experience encountering Tales of the City, as a scared and closeted college freshman in North Carolina, citing Maupin’s books as part of a pivotal moment of self-acceptance in his life.

Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis presented the Foundation’s Pioneer Award to Maupin, calling Anna Madigral, the Tales of the City character she portrayed in the television adaptation, the most meaningful role of her career. “What happened for me when I did Anna Madrigal was that I understood the most important thing was to survive myself-and that’s what Anna Madrigal did.” Accepting his honor, Maupin remarked how moved he’d been by Mehta’s earlier anecdote, and pointed to the similar experience he’d had when he first discovered the work of Christopher Isherwood as young man. “I thought: Who wrote this? Where did this come from?”

The other Pioneer Award was given to iconic feminist Millett and was presented by Dr. Eleanor Pam, a pioneer in the women’s movement and a founding member of NOW, the National Organization of Women, as well as an expert on women and violence. “I am so moved to have been chosen to present the Lambda Pioneer award to Kate Millett,” Dr. Pam began her introduction, “someone I have known for more than 55 years, and a true pioneer in life as well as in literature.” In her speech, Millett charmed the audience with her insistence that she was “a farmer, really,” and shared her hope that the Millett Center for the Arts, the arts colony for women she’s established in LaGrange, NY, will be her legacy.

Stacey D’Erasmo, author of the novels TeaA Seahorse Year, and The Sky Belowand Brian Leung, author of the short story collection, World Famous Love Acts and the novels Lost Men and Take Me Home received the Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prizes.

24th Annual Lambda Literary Award Winners

Lesbian Fiction
Six Metres of Pavement, by Farzana Doctor, Dundrun Press

Gay Fiction 
The Empty Family, by Colm Tóibín, Scribner

Lesbian Debut Fiction
Zipper Mouth, by Laurie Weeks, The Feminist Press

Gay Debut Fiction
Quarantine: Stories, by Rahul Mehta, Harper Perennial

Lesbian Memoir/Biography
When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love & Revolution, Jeanne Córdova, Spinsters Ink

Gay Memoir/Biography
The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood, by Glen Retief, St. Martin’s Press

Lesbian Mystery
Dying to Live, by Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou, Bold Strokes Books

Gay Mystery
Red White Black and Blue, by Richard Stevenson, MLR Press

LGBT Anthology
Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader, ed. by Michael Hames-García and Ernesto Javier Martínez, Duke University Press

LGBT Children’s/Young Adult
Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy, by Bil Wright, Simon & Schuster

LGBT Drama
A Menopausal Gentleman: The Solo Performances of Peggy Shaw, by Peggy Shaw, University of Michigan Press

LGBT Nonfiction
A Queer History of the United States, by Michael Bronski, Beacon Press

LGBT SF/Fantasy/Horror
The German, by Lee Thomas, Lethe Press

LGBT Studies
Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes, by Lisa L. Moore, University of Minnesota Press

Bisexual Fiction
The Correspondence Artist, by Barbara Browning, Two Dollar Radio

Bisexual Nonfiction
The Horizontal Poet, by Jan Steckel, Zeitgest Press

Transgender Fiction
Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, ed. by Tristan Taormino, Cleis Press

Transgender Nonfiction
Tango: My Childhood Backwards and in High Heels, by Justin Vivian Bond, The Feminist Press

Lesbian Erotica
Story of L, by Debra Hyde, Ravenous Romance

Gay Erotica
All Together, by Dirk Vanden, iloveyoudivine Alerotica

Lesbian Poetry
Love Cake, by Leah Lakshmi Piepza-Samarasinha, TSAR Publications

Gay Poetry
A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos, ed. by David Trinidad, Nightboat Books

Lesbian Romance
Taken by Surprise, by Kenna White, Bella Books

Gay Romance
Every Time I Think of You, by Jim Provenzano, CreateSpace/Myrmidude Press

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About Split Britches

Split Britches was founded 30 years ago by Peggy Shaw, Lois Weaver and Deb Margolin. Since 1980 we have transformed the landscape of queer performance with our vaudevillian satirical gender-bending performance. Split Britches creates new forms by exploiting old conventions. It borrows from classical texts and popular myths, but its true sources are the details of everyday life. The work is personal, bordering on the private. It relies on moments rather than plot, relationships rather than story. It is about a community of outsiders, queers, eccentrics – feminist because it encourages the imaginative potential in everyone, and lesbian because it takes the presence of a lesbian on stage as a given.
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