The Lambda Literary Foundation is thrilled to announce that A. Naomi Jackson is the winner of the first E. Lynn Harris Award for Excellence in Black LGBT Short Fiction. Selected by contest judges Linda Villarosa and Don Weise, "Ladies" is a short story set in Jamaica that chronicles the romance between two women who meet at teachers college and reconnect many years later as women in Brooklyn. Weise says of the story, "What impressed Linda and me wasn't just Naomi's command of craft and storytelling but that "Ladies" is so original and moving. It's such a pleasure to discover fiction of this caliber from a new writer. It's exactly what we hoped for when we created the Harris Award in the first place."
Jackson says on winning the award, "It is such an honor to be selected as the winner of the E. Lynn Harris Award for Excellence in Black LGBT Short Fiction. I became a fan of Harris' work when I was a teenager. Reading his books were an essential part of my coming out process and helped me to see the possibility of being fully embraced by both black and gay communities. I am so grateful to the Lambda Literary Foundation for demonstrating its commitment to literature by and for queer people of color with this award."
A. Naomi Jackson
A. Naomi Jackson is the 2013-2014 ArtsEdge resident at the University of Pennsylvania's Kelly Writers House. She studied fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was awarded the Maytag Fellowship for Excellence in Fiction to complete her first novel, Who Don't Hear Will Feel. Jackson traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. A graduate of Williams College, her work has appeared in brilliant corners, The Encyclopedia Project, The Caribbean Writer, and Sable. Her short story, "Ladies" won the 2012 BLOOM chapbook contest. She has been a resident at Hedgebrook and Vermont Studio Center and received the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker scholarship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.
"Congratulations to A. Naomi Jackson for winning the E. Lynn Harris Award," said Tony Valenzuela, LLF's Executive Director. "We're excited to showcase such an important emerging writer."