My seat for the evening, making me feel like kiiiiiiiind of a big deal.
Justin Vivian Bond! John Irving! Janis Ian! Nick Burd! Augusten Burroughs! Jacqueline Woodson! And some librarian you’ve never freaking heard of: ME! Yes, I was lucky enough to be a presenter at the Lambda Literary Awards. I spent the entire night whispering ERMAHGERD over and over again under my breath. There were just too many amazing people in the same room with me and I was fangirling like a maniac. First, I knew I’d be presenting the award for LGBT books for Children/Young Adults, which is obviously a category of literature I’m extremely passionate about. Second, my co-presenter was Nick Burd, author of The Vast Fields of Ordinary, a beautiful and sometimes creepy book that I truly adore. In case you were wondering, Nick is handsome and charming in addition to talented, which is totally unfair. Third, the very one and only lovely and glamorous Justin Vivian Bond was there! And v talked to me! And was wonderful and gorgeous and everything I knew v would be. Whoever sat Justin in front of me, thank you. I was on the verge of happy “I’m so excited”-tears all night. Here are some out-of-focus pictures from the evening.
I cannot believe my picture is above Justin’s. CANNOT. And how handsome is Nick Burd?
Here’s Justin Vivian Bond presenting the award for Memoirs and Biographies, with my favorite Real Housewife, Carole Radziwill.
I was touching up my makeup in the bathroom next to Carole. Me! Next to a Real Housewife! I’m surprised my unglamorousness didn’t make her implode. I’m sorry that these pictures don’t capture how stunning Justin Vivian is.
This is John Irving, who I’ve unfortunately captured making a Grumpy Cat face. He won the Bridge Builder Award that night, along with the award for Bisexual Literature for his book In One Person.
Here’s Janis Ian, whose voice is breathtaking live (I got a real understanding of how talented she really is). She sang At Seventeen, which brought tears to my eyes and gave me goosebumps.
Janis also told this hilarious story about explaining to a clueless sales clerk that both she AND her partner were getting married…to each other. Janis is really quite funny and engaging. While she sang, there was a man a couple of rows in front of me who was just sobbing as he listened to her, he was so moved. I get why people react this way to Janis Ian. She’s awe inspiring.
Oh my goodness. This man is a ray of sunshine and a total sweetheart. This is Randy Jones, and you may know him as the Cowboy from the Village People. He’s the most endearing person ever to rock a silver-heart bedazzled cowboy suit. You can’t help but smile as you listen to him talk. He went off script like nobody’s business (once, saying: “I am privileged to be in a place of such history and in front of an audience of such talent.”) and was one of the most entertaining people of the night.
This is Brooklyn’s own Jacqueline Woodson, and I have to include this picture because I’m such a big fan. From Show Way to After Tupac and D Foster, she’ll always been one of my favorite authors.
It’s me and Nick Burd! I’m doing some sort of modified jazz hands movement here while he reads from the script. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz, won the award for best LGBT Children’s/Young Adult Literature. I figured it would. I was also rooting for Malinda Lo, David Levithan, and A.S. King. OK, so I was rooting for everyone. Big deal.
Afterwards, there was a cocktail party on the top of the New Museum. Tim and I did our best imitation of mingling while trying not to appear too excited about the open bar and beautiful view.
So handsome, right?
I cannot believe that this regular old public librarian got to hang out with such glamorous and talented people all night. Right before I walked onto the stage, they announced that I worked for Brooklyn Public Library, and people started applauding (for the library, not for me). It was so uplifting to be among people who appreciate libraries and literature and the important work of LGBTQ authors and artists. During the night, I’d see a book cover or hear a person receive an award (specifically Cherrie Moraga and Sassafrass Lowrey) and immediately I’d start saying: “I want to read that”!. I wish I could go hide under a rock and read all the winning and nominated titles. Is your to-read list empty? Have no fear. Take a look at this year’s winners and nominees. You can’t go wrong.
More than anything, I’d like to thank my handsome and dashing buddy Karl Jones for giving me this tremendous opportunity. You’re a doll, doll.
~Love and Libraries, Ingrid