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Associate Professor Timothy Stewart-Winter and MFA alumnus Jonathan Corcoran have been selected as finalists for the 29th Lambda Literary Awards.
Stewart-Winter is a finalist in the category of LGBTQ Studies with his debut book, Queer Clout: Chicago and the Rise of Gay Politics (2016, University of Pennsylvania Press). Corcoran was chosen for the Gay Fiction category with his debut collection of related stories, The Rope Swing (2016, Vandalia Press).
Each category has eight finalists. The winners will be announced in June at a gala ceremony in New York City.
“It's a great honor to be recognized by other LGBTQ writers and be in the company of some brilliant works in LGBTQ studies,” says Stewart-Winter, “because queer historians and other writers, often working outside universities, laid the groundwork that made it possible for me to do this work.”
Queer Clout traces the role of big-city municipal politics in the gay movement’s path from the closets to the corridors of power. The book shifts readers’ focus from the coastal gay meccas to the nation's great inland metropolis, highlighting the key role of policing in LGBT mobilization and the gay movement's debt to African-American urban politics.
Earlier this year, Queer Clout was named co-winner of the 2017 John Boswell Prize, which is awarded every other year by the Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender History.
Stewart-Winter teaches courses in History, American Studies, and Women's & Gender Studies, and is co-director of RU-N’s Queer Newark Oral History Project. He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in history from Swarthmore College, and has received Jacob K. Javits, ACLS/Mellon, and James C. Hormel fellowships.
Corcoran’s collection, The Rope Swing, tells 10 interconnected stories about gay and straight characters in a small Appalachian town, tracing the lifelong effects of growing up in rural West Virginia on those who leave and those who stay.
The book garnered rave reviews many outlets, including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Kirkus Reviews and the Los Angeles Review.
Corcoran, who received a B.A. in literary arts from Brown University (2007) and an MFA in fiction writing from RU-N (2012), was born and raised in Elkins, W.Va., and currently resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. He has been teaching in RU-N’s Writing Program on and off since 2010 while touring for the book.
His work has been named a finalist for the Flannery O'Connor Award in Short Fiction and a semi-finalist for the St. Lawrence Book Award, and is forthcoming in the anthology Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry from West Virginia.
“I was so humbled to learn that The Rope Swing had been chosen as a finalist. This is my first book, and it was an extraordinary year for gay fiction,” says Corcoran. “As artists and writers, we don't always receive recognition for our work. Being chosen as a finalist is first a reminder to keep focusing on what I love doing so much: writing the stories that I think need to be told.”
The 29th Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer writing for books published in 2016. Finalists were chosen from nearly 900 submissions and more than 300 publishers. Submissions came from major mainstream publishers and independent presses, long-established and new LGBTQ publishers, as well as emerging publish-on-demand technologies.
Stewart-Winter and Corcoran join a trio of RU-N writers who have been recognized by Lambda. MFA Professor Rigoberto González won the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry for his collection of poems Unpeopled Eden, MFA alumnus Saeed Jones was selected as a finalist in 2015 in the same category for his debut poetry collection, Prelude to a Bruise, and MFA alumnus Roberto Santiago was a finalist last year for his debut poetry collection, Angel Park.