Publishing Triangle Award’s Tough Choice

Posted on April 24, 2013
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The Publishing Triangle Awards are tomorrow night.  I have mixed feelings about literary awards.  Most writers have a distinct strain of competitiveness running through them.  And I’m not sure at all sure this should be encouraged.  Nevertheless, a nomination for a literary prize–let alone the prize itself–is an honor.  A nomination for a Publishing Triangle Award is a particular honor, because of the many high quality books that have been nominated over the past twenty-five years.  So it’s not too soon to congratulate the nominees.

Any competitive literary prize is bound to produce a few disagreements.  I, for one, do not understand why Edmund White’s novel, Jack Holmes and His Friend was not nominated for an award.  But more troubling to me are the seemingly impossible choices that will inevitably arise.  A perfect example of this is this year’s Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction.  Both Christopher Bram’s Eminent Outlaws and Cynthia Carr’s Fire in the Belly have been nominated for this award.  And both are masterpieces.  Mr. Bram’s Eminent Outlaws is a thoroughly researched history of gay (male) literature since World War II.  Mr. Bram constructs this book like a novel–the stories interconnecting.  Aside from being intelligent and informative, it is also a genuine page-turner.  Cynthia Carr essentially reinvents the biography form with her brilliant book Fire In the Belly: The Life and Times of David Wojnarowicz.  It is beautifully written, well-researched and deeply  personal.  Choosing between these two books is made even more difficult when one realizes that David Halperin’s provocative How to be Gay is also nominated, as is Robert Duncan’s The Ambassador from Venus.  I don’t envy the Publishing Triangle voters.  But, on the other hand, it will be interesting to watch.

The Publishing Triangle Awards will be presented Thursday, April 25th at the Tishman Auditorium of the New School (66 West 12th Street in New York City) at 7 p.m. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

UPDATE 4/25/13:  Tonight it was announced that The Randy Shilts Award For Gay Nonfiction was awarded to Christopher Bram’s Eminent OutlawsClick here for a list of all the Publishing Triangle Award winners.

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