In New York City on May 26, the University of Wisconsin Press received its second Publisher's Service Award from the Lambda Literary Foundation, which honors achievements in LGBT literature. It's the only publisher to win two Lambda awards, or Lammys, in the foundation's history.
The awards ceremony took place the same week as Book Expo America, the publishing industry's largest yearly gathering of publishers and booksellers. "It's sort of the Oscars of gay publishing," says Raphael Kadushin, senior acquisitions editor for the UW Press, of the Lammys.
Kadushin's Living Out series of LGBT autobiographies garnered the Publisher's Service Award for the UW Press in 2002, and helped spawn other ambitious LGBT memoir lists around the country. "University presses have really become crucial in terms of America's literature," says Kadushin, who is a freelance contributor to Isthmus. "We can still publish books that commercial presses can't."
Kadushin isn't the only one to acknowledge the power of the UW Press' advocacy for LGBT writing. Lambda Literary Foundation co-chair David McConnell affirms the role of university presses, and of the work of Kadushin and the UW Press in particular. "The wonderful, the astute, the too honest nonfiction book, the too novel novel - this kind of work slips through the clumsy fingers of big publishing houses," says McConnell.
The list of national LGBT publishing honors and awards received by the UW Press confirms its growing prestige as a publisher. The books have won a wide range of awards - five Lammys and 26 nominations, as well as an American Book Award, a number of American Library Association Awards, awards for best university press books and the Edmund White Publishing Triangle Award for best debut fiction.
"We've published more than 120 LGBT titles over the past 13 years," says Kadushin. "Each book we publish has a story; each one is important in its own way."