New Orleans author Greg Herren’s young adult novel, Sleeping Angel, was recently awarded the prestigious gold medal in the mystery category at the 5th Annual Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, which recognizes exemplary children's books and their authors, illustrators, and publishers. Herren is the author of ten gay adult mystery novels, including Vieux Carré Voodoo, and editor of ten more anthologies (including this year’s queer twofer Women of the Mean Streets and Men of the Mean Streets, edited with J.M. Redmann). Even better, he says, “As far as I know, I am the only LGBT author to win — now or ever.”
Sleeping Angel is about the murder of a gay high school student; the only person who knows what happened has amnesia and also is a suspect. It also addresses the issue of bullying and suicide at a time when the headlines are rife with stories about kids like Jamey Rodemeyer.
“I am, obviously, humbled and honored to win a mainstream publishing award for my book,” says Herren, who admits he’s a bit overwhelmed by all the attention. “The reaction to it from teachers, teenagers, and librarians has completely taken me by surprise. I just wrote the kind of book I wanted to read when I was a teenager. I enjoy writing for teens, and am definitely going to do more.”
Meanwhile, in Canada, lesbian author Gabriella Goliger took the top honors for her novel Girl Unwrapped at the Ottawa Book Awards, which recognizes the best locally authored French and English books each year.
Goliger told her Facebook followers that she was “still spinning” after the award. Girl Unwrapped is set in 1960s Montreal, following a young woman who is caught between the pressures of her Holocaust-scarred parents and her own emerging queer desires. It’s not often a book with a lesbian theme wins Ottawa’s top honors, and Goliger told reporters she hoped that, “in its own small way, Girl Unwrapped helps promote understanding about GLBT youth issues. The novel is about a lesbian growing up in the 1960s: a different world, and yet some of the struggles endure.”
To read an excerpt of Sleeping Angel, click here.