Lambda Literary announced today that Tony Valenzuela will step down as executive director in June of 2018 after nine years as executive director of the organization.
Lambda Literary, which celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2018, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender literature through programs that encourage development of emerging writers. Those programs include the annual Lambda Literary Award, the Writers’ Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices, scholarships the and LGBTQ Writers in Schools program.
“Under Mr. Valenzuela’s extraordinary leadership, Lambda Literary has become highly regarded for its educational and cultural programs, and as a steward and ambassador for LGBTQ literature worldwide,” the organization said in an announcement of Valenzuela’s decision.“During his tenure he led the expansion of programs including LGBTQ Writers in Schools and Lambda LitFest Los Angeles, and brought greater visibility, diversity, and success to the Lambda Literary Awards, the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, and the Lambda Literary Review.”
Lambda also cited Valenzuela for “building a strong, diverse revenue stream of foundation, government, and corporate grants, individual donations, fees, advertising, and event revenue” that has increased its budget by a factor of five.
Dorothy Allison, author of the bestseller “Bastard Out of Carolina” and winner of the first Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction in 1988, said, “For almost a decade Tony Valenzuela has been leading Lambda Literary in doing something vital for all the struggling writers in our community. His energy and focus have been wonderful to behold.”
“Lambda Literary has had a champion in Tony Valenzuela for the last nine years,” said New York City Council Education Committee Chairperson Daniel Dromm (D-Queens). “It has been a pleasure to work with him to establish the LGBTQ Writers in Schools program in NYC public schools. By bringing LGBTQ authors and literature into classrooms, Tony has helped connect students with positive LGBTQ role models and stories-something that will benefit these young people their entire lives.”
John D’Amico, a city councilmember in West Hollywood, which has been home to Lambda Literary’s book club and sponsor of Litfest LA, said, “Lambda Literary is an important part of the City of West Hollywood’s commitment to the literary arts and the LGBTQ community. Working with Lambda Literary and Tony Valenzuela has opened further the view into who we are and helped the city and the residents earn the honor of being strong supporters of LGBTQ writers.”
“There is no question that Lambda Literary commands the respect and passion among its membership and the greater community because of the creativity and innovation of this director,” said Amy Scholder, president of the Lambda Literary board. “Tony’s visionary leadership has attracted many of us to this organization, to which we now feel an enduring commitment.”
Valenzuela will serve as executive director of Lambda Literary until the end of June 2018. The board will launch a national search for his successor in January.