Ana-Maurine Lara Wins 2021 Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction
Author: LeKesha Lewis
July 22, 2021
Lambda Literary is pleased to announce that Ana-Maurine Lara has been named the winner of the 2021 Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction.
The award is issued in memory of the celebrated author Randall Kenan and honors Black LGBTQ writers whose fiction explores themes of Black LGBTQ life, culture, and/or history. The award includes a cash prize of $3,000. This award is made possible by founding sponsors Cedric Brown, Darnell Moore, Dr. L. Lamar Wilson, and Steven Petrow.
Submissions for the Randall Kenan Prize for Black LGBTQ Fiction were wide-ranging in plot, genre, and style. They exemplified the vibrant diversity of our literature and the gloriously queer imaginations of our writers. It was a pleasure to read all the submissions—making it quite a challenge for judge Reginald Harris to choose only one writer to receive the prize.
Ana-Maurine Lara’s excerpt from her novel Erzulie’s Skirt introduces the reader to Miriam and Micaela, and the women’s time in captivity in Puerto Rico, after fleeing the Dominican Republic. Lara immerses us in the story of their brutal and hallucinatory ordeal. Securely moving between the women’s detention and their memories, visions, and nightmares, the vivid writing causes the reader to feel the women’s confusion, desperation, and determination to survive. The prose is beautifully controlled, both disturbing and compelling, pulling the reader along, eager to discover the fate of Miriam and Micaela. Ana-Maurine Lara is a writer of true skill and creativity who deserves to be better known.
Ana-Maurine Lara (PhD) is a national award-winning poet, novelist, and scholar. She is the author of: Erzulie’s Skirt (RedBone Press, 2006), When the Sun Once Again Sang to the People (KRK Ediciones, 2011), Watermarks and Tree Rings (Tanama Press, 2011), Kohnjehr Woman (RedBone Press, 2017), Cantos (letterpress, limited edition 2015), and Sum of Parts (Tanama Press, 2019). Her academic books include: Queer Freedom: Black Sovereignty (SUNY Press, 2020) and Streetwalking: LGBTQ Lives and Protest in the Dominican Republic (Rutgers University Press, 2021). Lara’s work focuses on questions of Black and Indigenous people and freedom. She has been published in literary journals (Sable LitMag, Transitions Literary Journal), scholarly journals (Small Axe, Bilingual Revue, Sargasso, Feminist Review), and numerous anthologies, as a scholar and as a creative writer. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon, in the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She can be found on Facebook and @zorashorse.