Celebrating diverse and authentic queer narratives, The Rainbow Awards for Literature & Journalism (RALJ) launches its first edition today. The purpose is to recognize honest, compelling, and unadulterated storytelling around LGBTQIA+ lives by Indian queer and cis-het writers. It is also about articulating and creating a genre that builds awareness across society as well as providing the queer community a sense of belonging.

On the jury this year are author-activist Parmesh Shahani (Chair); editor Adrija Bose; writer and translator Anish Gawande; art historian, author and curator Dr. Alka Pande; actor, artist and writer Jyotsna Siddharth; transgender rights activist Kalki Subramaniam; author Parvati Sharma; journalist, writer and translator Poonam Saxena; and author-researcher Sindhu Rajasekaran. Queer rights activist, lawyer, and bioethicist Rohin Bhatt will act as coordinator of the awards.

RALJ invites writers to submit entries* across the categories of Literature (Fiction & Non-fiction) and Journalism (Features & Op-Ed), starting Friday, May 19, 2023, for a period of eight weeks. The award function will be held during the Rainbow Lit Fest – Queer & Inclusive, which returns this year on December 9 & 10, in Delhi.

Speaking about the Awards, the Founder, Sharif D Rangnekar said: “Queer life has been erased from our history for far too long. It is only over the past few decades that some folks have stepped up and written freely. It is essential that we build on the momentum set post the reading down of Section 377, so that we can claim and reclaim our space through literature and journalism which becomes part of history and the now.”

With the RALJ are a variety of organisations. The Kunzum Books is playing a critical role of both being a bookstore and process partner. The Keshav Suri Foundation, Mumbai Press Club, Naz Foundation, Nazariya – QFRG, Official Humans Of Queer, The Pink List India, The Q-KnitFoundation, and Sweekar: The Rainbow Parents are all supporters, helping RALJ reach a larger audience