Two local publishers and five Chicago-based poets and writers are nominated for the prestigious Lambda Literary Awards which celebrate written works with LGBTQ themes.
Authors include Fatimah Asghar, Barrie Jean Borich, Carlene Carruthers, Jim Elledge and E. Patrick Johnson. Local publishers Chicago Review Press and Iron Circus Comics are also nominated.
Morning Shift talks to Adam Morgan of the Chicago Review of Books for more on the Chicagoans up for a Lambda Literary Award. Winners will be announced June 3.
Unapologetic by Charlene Carruthers
Adam Morgan: The subtitle of the book is A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements. And [Carruthers is] really sort of looking at all these activist movements around the country and talking about how we need to make them more black, more queer and more feminist, really sort of using the Chicago model of activism, and spreading that around the country.
If They Come for Us by Fatimah Asghar
Morgan: It’s [Asghar’s] first poetry book — it’s her debut, and it’s really stunning. There’s a lot of autobiographical material in there, and she goes into lots of different themes, from identity and sexuality and violence…yeah, she’s another alum of the Young Chicago Authors program here, like a lot of local poets.
Apocalypse, Darling by Barrie Jean Borich
Morgan: [Borich is] a professor of creative writing at DePaul, and this is sort of an interesting hybrid memoir that is set in the steel mills of Chicago and northwest Indiana, but not in the way that you might think. It talks a lot about the sort of re-wilding of that industrial corridor, and how, after it’s been abandoned by industry, it’s coming back — it’s still a very environmentally toxic, obviously, because of the history there — but there’s a lot of nature starting to crawl back and interesting things happening.
The Boys of Fairy Town by Jim Elledge
Morgan: [The Boys of Fairy Town: Sodomites, Female Impersonators, Third-Sexers, Pansies, Queers, and Sex Morons in Chicago’s First Century] is an interesting history of queer men in Chicago….It basically looks at the first century of Chicago history. So we’ve had books that have looked, more recently, at those people, but not going back this far. So from the founding of the city in  until the middle of the 20th century.
Black. Queer. Southern. Women.: An Oral History by E. Patrick Johnson
Morgan: [Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South] is kind of a companion piece to… Black. Queer. Southern. Women.: An Oral History. [In that book Johnson] spoke with over 70 black queer women in the South just about their lives and their upbringing, and how they’re working in their communities today.
This interview was edited for clarity and brevity by Char Daston. Click play to hear the full conversation.
GUEST: Adam Morgan, editor-in-chief of the Chicago Review of Books
LEARN MORE: 5 Chicago Authors Are Finalists for the Lambda Literary Awards (Chicago Review of Books 3/18/19)