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Chen Chen wins Thom Gunn Award

We are thrilled to announce that Chen Chen is the winner of the Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry for his debut collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017). Chen was announced as winner at a ceremony held at the New School in New York, NY, on Thursday, April 26, 2018.

"I am honored and astounded to receive this award for a book that I wrote really because I needed it—poems that refuse to separate sexuality and race, that are political and restless and just, a whole lot of gaysian feelings. I did not anticipate such a beautiful response from readers and it's the greatest gift, seeing how LGBTQ readers in particular have responded. To be recognized specifically by an award named after one of the most visionary gay poets—I am deeply moved," said Chen.

BOA National Advisory Committee Member Bernadette Catalana accepted the award on Chen's behalf.

“I couldn’t be happier for Chen and prouder to see his debut collection receive The Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. This recognition from The Publishing Triangle is further validation that Chen’s voice is necessary, needed, sonorous and significant,” said BOA Publisher Peter Conners, who edited When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities.

The Thom Gunn Award is an annual literary award presented by the Publishing Triangle to honor the best collection of gay male poetry published in the preceding year. First presented in 2001 as the Triangle Award for Gay Poetry, the award was renamed in memory of American poet Thom Gunn, the award's first winner, following his death in 2004. The award comes with a $1000 prize courtesy of the Publishing Triangle.

The finalists for this year’s Thom Gunn Award were Don't Call Us Dead by Danez Smith (Graywolf Press), Half-Light: Collected Poems, 1965–2016 by Frank Bidart (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and Into Each Room We Enter Without Knowing by Charif Shanahan (Southern Illinois University Press).

“All of us at the Publishing Triangle congratulate Chen on winning the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. It is well deserved!” said Trent Duffy, treasurer and awards chair at the Publishing Triangle.

Founded in 1988, the Publishing Triangle works to create support and a sense of community for lesbian and gay people in the publishing industry. The organization consists of authors, magazine writers, editors, agents, publishing professionals, booksellers, designers, librarians, and general book lovers who support the growth of LGBT writers and literature. The Publishing Triangle offers forums, networking opportunities, and social events for their members in addition to presenting the annual Publishing Triangle Awards for the best LGBTQ fiction, nonfiction, and poetry published each year. More information about the Publishing Triangle along with a full list of this year’s Publishing Triangle Award winners is available at

Congratulations, Chen!!

Thom Gunn Award-winning collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities

Celebrate National Poetry Month with BOA Editions! Save 40% on all BOA titles using promo code BOAPOETRY18. Stock up on new and favorite poetry titles for your family and friends!

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