Books

Samra Habib, Kai Cheng Thom and Téa Mutonji among finalists for 2020 Publishing Triangle Awards

The Publishing Triangle Awards, worth $1,000, annually honour LGBTQ literature in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Six Canadians are nominated for the 2020 awards.
Samra Habib, Kai Cheng Thom and Téa Mutonji are among the Canadian finalists for the 2020 Publishing Triangle Awards. (Yuula Benivolski, Rachel Woroner, Sandro Pehar)

Canadian writers Samra Habib, Kai Cheng Thom and Téa Mutonji are among the finalists for the 2020 Publishing Triangle Awards.

Habib, Thom and Mutonji are being recognized for their books We Have Always Been Here, I Hope We Choose Love and Shut Up You're Pretty, respectively.

The Publishing Triangle Awards, worth $1,000, annually honour LGBTQ literature in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

The 2020 shortlist spans seven categories, with Canadian writers featured among the finalists in four of the categories: lesbian nonfiction, lesbian poetry, debut fiction and trans and gender-variant literature categories.

Habib's memoir We Have Always Been Here, a Canada Reads 2020 finalist, is up for the Judy Grahn Award for lesbian nonfiction.

In We Have Always Been Here, Habib, a photographer and journalist, chronicles her story — from her childhood in Pakistan and becoming a young refugee to coming-of-age between cultures in Canada.

Kai Cheng Thom's collection combining poetry and essays I Hope We Choose Love is a finalist in the trans and gender-variant literature category. The book examines the ways we deal with trauma, abuse, activism, transphobia and racism.

Mutonji's debut short story collection Shut Up You're Pretty for the Edmund White Award for debut fiction. The stories in the collection explore narratives of young women coming of age in the 21st century, dealing with themes of race, class, sexuality, migration and femininity.

Arielle Twist's debut poetry collection Disintegrate/Dissociate and the novel The Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) by Hazel Jane Plante are among the three Canadian titles of the four finalists in the trans and gender-variant literature category.

Rounding out the list of Canadian finalists is Toronto writer Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha's collection of poetry Tonguebreaker, contending for the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. The collection reflects on the nature of love, the spectre of hate crimes, the suicides of queer kin and the rise of fascism.

The 32nd annual Triangle Awards ceremony were originally scheduled for April 30. They were cancelled on March 17 amid growing concerns over COVID-19. The winners will be announced on April 30 online.

Below is the full list of finalists in all seven categories.

The Judy Grahn Award for lesbian nonfiction

The Randy Shilts Award for gay nonfiction

The Audre Lorde Award for lesbian poetry

The Thom Gunn Award for gay poetry

  • The Book of Daniel by Aaron Smith
  • Company by Sam Ross
  • Documents by Jan-Henry Gray
  • Impure Acts by Angelo Nestore, translated by Lawrence Schimel

The Edmund White Award for debut fiction

The Publishing Triangle Award for trans and gender-variant literature

Finalists for the Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBTQ fiction

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