Bookish News Round-Up: Lammys Awards, New Books & Free Ebooks | March 2020

Freshly Squeezed is a series of posts on all things new and upcoming in the realm of books.

Despite plenty of bad news all over the world, March 2020 has been good to readers. This month in our bookish news round-up we have two book announcements, a queer archive, lots of free ebooks, and the Lambda Literary Awards finalists.


Cipher Press Announces Their First Book: Large Animals by Jess Arndt

Marked for publication on 6 August 2020, Large Animals by Jess Arndt is scheduled to be the first book published by Cipher Press, a new queer press from the UK. This short-story collection was previously published by Catapult in 2017, and is now getting a complete makeover at Cipher Press. To be completely honest, it’s a shame that they are kicking things off with a re-print as opposed to a new release. However, I’m quite excited about Cipher Press fully launching, even if it is with a re-print. I can’t wait to see what else they publish in the future!

New Archive For Kenyan LGBT+ Resources: KumbuKumbu

KumbuKumbu logo. Text says "KumbuKumbu: Gay and lesbian archives of Kenya"
KumbuKumbu

One of the most exciting new projects I have encountered in a while, KumbuKumbu is an upcoming Kenyan LGBT+ archive. It’s set to chronicle the Kenyan LGBT+ movement from 1800 onwards, and have entirely open and free access. Featuring personal papers, photographs, correspondences, audiovisual recordings, organisational records, books, and journals, it promises to be an exciting and revealing resource for the queer community. You can read more about their plans and mission at kumbukumbu.co.ke.

Free Ebooks For Your Quarantine Boredom: Verso & Haymarket Books

Salmon-coloured background. Text says "Free quarantine ebooks". Features 5 books covers from Verso Books.
Verso Books

Instead of deteriorating with nothing to do, why not read a free book while you are stuck at home during COVID-19? Your digital library will have plenty of books to choose from, but more radically socialist reads are not always available. If you want to brush up on class-conscious feminism, the capitalist roots of racism, or straight-up socialism, Verso Books and Haymarket Books are offering a selection of free ebooks! Some free titles I got particularly excited about are Haymarket’s Capitalism & Disability and Verso’s Feminism For the 99%.

Free Audiobooks With Audible Stories

Beige background with text reading "audible: an amazon company" and "Stories help. They entertain. They teach. They keep young minds active, alert, and engaged."
Audible Stories

Don’t get too excited – Audible is not suddenly free. Instead, they have set up a site called Audible Stories, which has a smaller selection of free audiobooks. The biggest plus of this new site is that you don’t need an account to start listening – just select an audiobook and you’re good to go. However, the choice of books is really quite limited, with most titles being literary classics or aimed at children and teens. Some interesting books that stood out to me are The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco and Dreadnought by April Daniels. I’m not a big fan of Amazon and don’t love supporting them, but with Audible Stories being a free and very accessible site, you might want to check it out.

Savannah Brown Announces Her New Poetry Collection: Sweetdark

Grey background with book cover of Sweetdark and author photo of Savannah Brown

Earlier this week, I spoke about how much I loved Savannah Brown’s queer YA mystery novel, The Truth About Keeping Secrets. Now, she has announced her second poetry collection, titled Sweetdark. I gave her first collection, Graffiti, a raving review on my old blog in 2016, so you can imagine how excited I am for Sweetdark! The publication date is set for autumn 2020, and it will be available in print, ebook, and audiobook format. You can pre-order it on her website.

Lambda Literary Awards Finalists: Ocean Vuong, Carmen Maria Machado & Others

Complete overview of books long-listed for the Lambda Literary Awards (Lammys)

A particularly exciting part of March was the announcement of the Lambda Literary Awards long-list. These awards, also known as the Lammys, showcase the best of recent queer/LGBT+ books published in English. The long-list is always a great way to discover new authors and publishers, and the long-listed titles this year are certainly intriguing. Popular authors include Ocean Vuong, Carmen Maria Machado, and Marlon James. If you’re looking for some queer titles you have never heard of, do give the long-list a browse.


Have some bookish news you’d like to share? Leave a comment below, or get in touch on Instagram or Goodreads.

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