2021 Barbara Gittings Literature Award and Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award of the Stonewall Book Awards Announced

For Immediate Release
Tue, 02/02/2021


Monica Chapman

Program Coordinator, Coretta Scott King Book Awards and ODLOS Round Tables




CHICAGO - Two of the 2021 Stonewall Book Awards were announced Sunday, Jan. 24 by the Rainbow Roundtable of the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits, held virtually January 22-26, 2021.

The Stonewall Book Awards are given annually to English-language works of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience and include the Stonewall Book Awards – Mike Morgan & Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award (announced at the Youth Media Awards press conference on Monday, January 25th), the Stonewall Book Awards – Barbara Gittings Literature Award and the Stonewall Book Awards – Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award. The awards will be presented to the winning authors or editors at the American Library Association Annual Conference in June.

“The Thirty Names of Night” by Zeyn Joukhadar and published by Atria Books, was named the winner of the Stonewall Book Awards - Barbara Gittings Literature Award for 2021. “The Thirty Names of Night” is a lyrically woven intergenerational narrative of the immigrant experience, following our to-be-named narrator as they seek to unbury their family history, rediscovering queer and trans lives and loves in New York City’s Little Syria.

Four Stonewall Book Awards – Barbara Gittings Literature Award Honor Books were named:

  • “The Death of Vivek Oji” by Akwaeke Emezi, published by Riverhead Books
  • “Memorial” by Bryan Washington, published by Riverhead Books
  • “More Than Organs” by Kay Ulanday Barrett, published by Sibling Rivalry Press
  • “Postcolonial Love Poem” by Natalie Diaz, published by Graywolf Press

The 2021 committee’s shortlist also included:

  • Boys of Alabama by Genevieve Hudson, published by Liveright Publishing Corporation
  • Plain Bad Heroines: A Novel by Emily M. Danforth & Sara Lautman, published by William Morrow and Company
  • The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue, published by Little, Brown and Company
  • The Subtweet by Vivek Shraya, published by ECW Press
  • Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko, published by HarperVia

The "Queer Games Avant-Garde: How LGBTQ Game Makers are Reimagining the Medium of Video Games" by Bonnie Ruberg (they/them) and published by Duke University Press is the Stonewall Book Award – Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award winner for 2021. Queer Games Avant-Garde’s accessible, interview-based format amplifies and centers the intimate, vulnerable, and passionate queer voices at the fringes of the game development community. Ruberg reveals the challenges and joys of creating games while holding space for absurdity, disability, homelessness, racism, transphobia, and trauma.

Four Stonewall Book Awards – Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award Honor Books were named:

  • My Autobiography of Carson McCullers by Jenn Shapland, published by Tin House Books
  • The Fixed Stars: A Memoir by Molly Wizenberg, published by Abrams Press, an imprint of ABRAMS
  • Paper Bullets by Jeffrey H. Jackson, published Algonquin Books, a division of Workman Publishing
  • XOXY: A Memoir by Kimberly M. Zieselman, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers

The members of the 2021 Stonewall Book Awards - Barbara Gittings Literature Award Adult Committee are: Steph Noell (Chair), Mahasin Ameen, Ahliah J. Bratzler, Kate Brunner, Nicholae Cline, Jennifer L. Collins, Lawrence Fiorelli (Incoming Chair), Sam Cordell Helmick, Kristin MK Jones (Admin), Julie Kane, and Rachel E. Paulus. 

The members of the 2021 Stonewall Book Awards - Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award Committee are: Teresa Slobuski (Chair), Kelly Kreps Depin, Katy Jacob, Michael C. Oliveira, Lynne Rhys, Edward T. Sullivan, Erica Jayne Williamson, and Djaz Frederick Zulida. 

For more information about the Stonewall Book Awards, please visit http://www.ala.org/rt/rrt

The Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association is the oldest professional association for LGBTQIA+ people in the United States. It is committed to serving the information needs of the LGBTQIA+ professional library community and information and access needs of individuals at large. It is home to GLBT Book Month (tm), a nationwide celebration every June and the Stonewall Book Award, the oldest award honoring LGBTQIA+ books. Rainbow Round Table is committed to encouraging and supporting the free and necessary access to all information, as reflected by the missions of the American Library Association and democratic institutions.

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world with more than 57,000 members. Its mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.