Legendary playwright Edward Albee and acclaimed crime fiction writer Val McDermid were among the honorees at the Lambda Literary Awards Thursday night in New York City.
Comedian Lea DeLaria (pictured) was master of ceremonies for the event, held at the School of Visual Arts Theater, which saw awards presented in 24 categories by the Lambda Literary Foundation.
Albee, a three-time Pulitzer Prize–winner and author of such classic plays as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? received the Pioneer Award, presented by another respected gay playwright, Terrence McNally. According to a foundation news release, McNally noted that since Albee has largely avoided gay subject matter, “people wonder if he’s gay. Well, I’m here to tell you he is ... I picked him up at a party in 1960.” In accepting the award, Albee said, “I’m not a gay writer. I’m a writer who happens to be gay.”
Another Pioneer Award went to Scottish crime writer McDermid, who said she believed there were no lesbians in the small town where she grew up, so she thought they were “mythical, like mermaids.” She thanked earlier pioneers, including presenter Katherine V. Forrest, saying, “I understand the importance of doors being opened. Other people opened doors for me.” McDermid also received the award for Best Lesbian Mystery of the year, with Fever of the Bone.
Alex Sánchez and Susan Stinson received the Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists’ Prizes, and the University of Wisconsin Press received a special Publisher’s Service Award. Other Lammy honorees included Tristan Taormino, Kate Bornstein, Eileen Myles, Scott Herring, and Adam Haslett. Among the presenters were former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, actress Stefanie Powers, author Emma Donoghue, activist Mel White, Mr. Gay USA Eddie Rabon, and Miss New York Claire Buffie.
For the Lambda Literary press release, a full list of winners, and a photo gallery, click here.