04/25/2014 05:27 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Sinister Wisdom Receives Leadership Award From Publishing Triangle

Every year The Publishing Triangle recognizes outstanding LGBT books published in the last year and gives two special awards -- a Leadership Award and the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement -- to recognize excellence in LGBT publishing. On Thursday, April 24, 2014, Sinister Wisdom received The Publishing Triangle Leadership Award. The ceremony was lovely and moving; there was much excitement among all the finalists and winners present in the audience. After an extraordinary and moving introduction by Cheryl Clarke, it was a great thrill and honor for me to accept The Publishing Triangle Leadership Award. I am also grateful to the many friends of Sinister Wisdom who came out to celebrate the award with me. Because this award is not about my work but the work of hundreds of thousands of volunteers, readers, and editors at Sinister Wisdom, I share my comments and appreciation for their work and this award.


Thank you so much. It is an extraordinary pleasure to accept the Leadership Award from The Publishing Triangle on behalf of Sinister Wisdom.

This year Sinister Wisdom celebrates its 38th year as a lesbian-feminist publication. On July 4, 2016, Sinister Wisdom will turn 40. For the past nearly four decades Sinister Wisdom has been publishing imaginative work by and about lesbians. It is a great honor to be recognized for this work, especially by people working in publishing who make LGBT lives and stories visible. Recognition like the Leadership Award is meaningful because too often lesbian lives, lesbian labor, and lesbian love are overlooked.

We know that lesbian lives and lesbian stories are often at the center of history. Less often are our narratives written, heard, believed, respected, and celebrated. Over the past few weeks, in particular, I have been thinking about the extraordinary story of Edie Windsor, her partner, Thea Spyer, and the visionary and indomitable Roberta Kaplan. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, as they say, lesbians are at the center of narratives of marriage equality in the United States. Often the stories that are told, the stories that are celebrated, reified, and remembered, are stories of men told by their help meets, heterosexual women. Sinister Wisdom resists this forced spring.

Sinister Wisdom tells lesbian stories by lesbians. We celebrate lesbian literary culture. We preserve lesbian stories; we remember lesbian lives and create spaces for new lesbian life, culture, and literature.

Independent journals like Sinister Wisdom, along with LGBT small publishers, are a cultural stake for freedom, a labor of love by writers and editors, and a material expression of belief in our future. We celebrate community, and we exist because communities like The Publishing Triangle support and celebrate us.

I am proud to continue the multicultural lesbian journal founded by Harriet Desmoines and Catherine Nicholson in 1976. I accept this award in honor of all of the lesbian-feminist editors of Sinister Wisdom, Harriet and Catherine, Adrienne Rich, Michelle Cliff, Michaele Uccella, Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz, Elana Dykewomon, Caryatis Cardea, Akiba Onada-Sikwoia, Margo Mercedes Rivera-Weiss, Merry Gangemi, and Fran Day. I accept this award on behalf of the thousands of contributors to Sinister Wisdom over the past thirty-eight years; I accept this award on behalf of the hundreds of volunteers who have done typesetting, copyediting, envelop stuffing, bulk mail preparation, and an array of other tasks for the journal over the past 38 years, with special care and attention to our office manager, Susan Levinkind, who is extraordinarily dedicated to Sinister Wisdom and lesbian culture. Finally, I accept this award on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of subscribers and readers of Sinister Wisdom. May this Leadership Award give us the strength, perseverance, persistence, and moxie to carry on Sinister Wisdom for another 38 years, celebrating lesbian stories, lesbian sex, lesbian love, lesbian visibility, lesbian lives.

Thank you.