Francesca Ekwuyasi & Billy-Ray Belcourt among Canadian finalists for 2021 Lambda Literary Awards

The Lambda Literary Awards annually celebrate the best in LGBTQ literature from around the world.

The awards annually celebrate the best in LGBTQ literature from around the world

Francesca Ekwuyasi (left) and Billy-Ray Belcourt are two of the Canadian finalists for the 2021 Lambda Literary Awards. (Submitted by Francesca Ekwuyasi, Tenille Campbell)

Francesca Ekwuyasi, Vivek Shraya and Billy-Ray Belcourt are among the Canadians nominated for the 2021 Lambda Literary Awards.

The Lambda Literary Awards annually celebrate the best in LGBTQ literature from around the world. There are nine Canadian books nominated across 24 categories.

Francesca Ekwuyasi is a finalist in the lesbian fiction category for her debut novel Butter Honey Pig Bread.

Butter Honey Pig Bread tells the interwoven stories of twin sisters, Kehinde and Taiye, and their mother, Kambirinachi. Kambirinachi is convinced she was born an ogbanje, a spirit that plagues families with misfortune by dying in childhood to cause its mother misery. When the estranged women meet years later, they confront their past and find forgiveness through food from their childhood. 

Butter Honey Pig Bread was on the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist. 

It was championed on Canada Reads 2021 by chef, TV host and recording artist Roger Mooking.

Ekwuyasi is an artist and filmmaker, born in Lagos, Nigeria and currently living in Halifax. Her work explores themes of faith, family, queerness, loneliness and belonging. 

Francesca Ekwuyasi on her Canada Reads 2021 book, Butter Honey Pig Bread

Vivek Shraya is a finalist in the transgender fiction category for The Subtweet.

In The Subtweet, Neela Devaki's song is covered by internet-famous artist Rukmini. When the two musicians meet, a transformative friendship begins. But, as Rukmini's star rises, jealousy creeps in, and Neela sends out a highly-destructive tweet that blows up their friendship. 

Shraya is a writer, artist and musician from Alberta. Her books include the novel She of the Mountains, the poetry collection even this page is white, the essay I'm Afraid of Men and the comic book Death Threat.

Billy-Ray Belcourt is a finalist in the gay memoir/biography category of A History of My Brief Body.

A History of My Brief Body tells Belcourt's story: how his family was impacted by colonialism and intergenerational trauma and yet still hold joy and love in their hearts and lives, how he came into his queer identity and how writing became both a place of comfort and solace and a weapon for a young man trying to figure out his place in the world.

Belcourt is a Rhodes Scholar and PhD student from Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta. His debut collection of poetry, This Wound is a Worldwon the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize. He is also the author of the poetry collection NDN Coping Mechanisms

The anthology Love After the End, edited by Joshua Whitehead is a finalist in the LGBTQ anthology category.

Love after the End is an anthology of speculative fiction that imagines a utopian future for LGBTQ and two-spirit people, curated and edited by poet and novelist Joshua Whitehead.

Contributors include Nathan Adler, Darcie Little Badger, Gabriel Castilloux Calderon, Adam Garnet Jones, Mari Kurisato, Kai Minosh Pyle, David Alexander Robertson, jaye simpson and Nazbah Tom.

Whitehead is an Oji-nêhiyaw, two-spirit writer, poet and Indigiqueer scholar from Peguis First Nation. His debut novel Jonny Appleseed won Canada Reads 2021, where it was championed by Mohawk actor and filmmaker Devery Jacobs.

Here are all the Canadians nominated for the 2021 Lambda Literary Awards:

Lesbian fiction

Gay memoir/biography

LGBTQ anthology

Bisexual poetry

  • sick by Jody Chan

LGBTQ erotica

  • The Nerves by Lena Suski and Smut Peddlers
  • Glad Day 50 by Kel Hardy, Tianna Henry and MJ Lyons

LGBTQ mystery

  • I Hope You're Listening by Tom Ryan

LGBTQ studies

  • Information Activism: A Queer History of Lesbian Media Technologies by Cait McKinney

You can see the complete list of finalists on the Lambda Literary Awards' website.

The winners will be announced on June 1.

Last year's winners included Samra Habib, who won the lesbian memoir/biography category for her memoir We Have Always Been Here, and Hazel Jane Plante, who won the transgender fiction for The Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian).

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