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About the Alice B Awards Committee

History and Organization
The Awards and Book Submissions


Alice B. Toklas, a Guiding Inspiration

Organization: The Alice B Awards Committee is a mostly anonymous group of avid lesbian readers living in a few different states in the US, UK, and Canada. The award is made possible by money supplied by an anonymous donor. The donor and the committee share a common goal: to reward and thank writers of lesbian fiction for their contribution to the lesbian community, culture, and identity. We like to think our Medal winners are our “All Time, All-Star” writers.

History: The Alice B Awards Committee was established originally to encourage submissions of quality manuscripts to a small press and to reward the writers of well-written books. That press went out of business, and subsequently, in 2004, the goal of the group was altered from awarding a prize for a single book to awarding a medal for “Lifetime Achievement.” Winners of that Lifetime Achievement under the initial guidelines were: Gerri Hill, Nancy Sanra, Aya Walksfar, and Radclyffe. Radclyffe’s award was for that year’s “body of work,” and she was the only one not involved with the original publisher. Starting in 2004, the official Alice B Medal system was put in place and has continued annually ever since.

Over time, some big changes have occurred. The original founder died. An administrator was put in place to keep the website updated and run the awards process. And along the way, all the original retirees but one have died or become unable to read. The committee has added new committee members over time, all of whom are sworn to secrecy upon penalty of something very terrible occurring. <g>

 

The Lavender Certificate: The Lavender Certificate was awarded from 2005-2016 to authors early in their careers who, in the committee's opinion, had outstanding "maiden" novels in print. The award was intended to encourage new writers in their quest to let their voices be heard, which until recently was not an easy accomplishment. Nowadays, though, the volume of lesbian books published is awesome, and the committee is unable to read all of the incredible wealth of debut books, so as of 2017 the certificate was suspended. We are delighted that at long last, there are plenty of books reflecting lesbian lives!


The Alice B Medal: This award is given annually to living writers who have careers distinguished by consistently well-written stories about lesbians. The award is given only once in appreciation of lifetime career achievement. In addition to the medal, each recipient is given a monetary honorarium.

At least two Medals are given out annually. Selections are made from lists of all-time favorite living authors compiled by the committee members. In order to qualify a writer must have published substantial works, usually at least five books (though occasionally, someone has written as few as three or four books that were all so incredible and reflect such great career achievement that we have waived the that rule). Decisions are by consensus. The order of selection for this prize has nothing to do with how the writers are ranked in our hearts and minds. Check out the Photo Gallery to see some of the authors wearing or displaying their medals.

Submission of Worthy Books: For the first 17 years of the Alice B Awards, the voracious readers of the Alice B committee purchased books, shared them with each other, and discussed authors whom they each believed had achieved excellence in writing for and about lesbians. By2020, it became apparent to the committee there was no way of keeping up with the wonderful - but enormous! - number of published books. In 2004, we were able to buy every book of fiction and most of the nonfiction written by, for, and/or about lesbians; since then, this has proved impossible, and we believe we may at times be missing writers of great merit.

Therefore, we invite readers, publishers, and authors to submit any book they believe is an author's "Best Work of Fiction" and representative of the author's many works. Please tell us why they deserve to be awarded the medal for lifetime achievement. (See Contact page for details.)

 

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