Celebrate the Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Award

With submissions for the Sigma Tau Delta 2023 International Convention being accepted now through Monday, October 31, 5:00 p.m. CDT, take some time to learn about the special Convention Award opportunities available this year.

As longtime Sigma Tau Deltans, my husband Larry Dennis and I (Kevin Stemmler) have created an annual LGBT& convention award. As active Chapter Advisors, former members of the Sigma Tau Delta Board of Directors, and Delta Award Recipients, we recognized a need for celebrating LGBT voices.

This award honors the best of convention work representing or celebrating the LGBT community. The award compensates for the many years that LGBT voices have been overlooked, particularly in academic settings. After our many years of service and dedication to the mission of Sigma Tau Delta, we felt a duty to personally acknowledge LGBT scholarship and creative work.

The name of the award reflects changes in language and scholarship and requires a brief explanation. If you are aware of GLAAD‘s “&Together” campaign, you already understand that the symbol of the blue ampersand unites all voices and identities. In 2019 The Gay & Lesbian Review published “The Ampersand Issue,” which explained its reason for rebranding itself as G&LR. The editors’ explanation for not including the widely accepted “Q” mirrors our life experiences. Historically and linguistically, the word “queer” was offensive—and to many it remains so. As we grow old (and wear our trousers rolled . . .), we cannot adjust to claiming the word for our own identity or in our personal vocabulary. Thus, we adopted the ampersand to demonstrate inclusivity because it felt more appropriate for an English Honor Society award—particularly since our Society relies on language and symbols.  Regardless of what letters or symbols an individual may choose for their identification, we launched this award to celebrate the various voices that have too often been ignored or unheard. 

It was a great moment when Larry and I presented the first annual Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Awards at the 2022 Atlanta Convention. The quality of work presented by E Kerr, Hannah Paczkowski, Joseph Shoulders, and Maddie Henry made us proud on many levels. It was a pleasure to meet the inaugural winners and to let them know that they were seen, heard, and valued.

If your work addresses an LGBT theme or subject, please consider submitting to the 2023 Convention Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Award. In order to qualify, you must select “LGBTQ+” under the Theme keyword. Any work specifically in LGBT theory must select the keyword “LGBTQ+ Theory” for your submissions.

Good luck!  We are anxious to see you and meet you in Denver!

Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Awards Merchandise

For those members interested in showing their support for both the Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Awards as well as LGBT representation and inclusion in academia, Sigma Tau Delta now offers ampersand merchandise in our exclusive online store, Shop English.  Shop the full Pride Collection now! All Sigma Tau Delta proceeds from the sale our Pride collection will be used to fund support for LGBTQ+ organizations (20%) and to endow the Sigma Tau Delta Stemmler/Dennis LGBT& Award (80%).

LGBT& Award Tee (left), Pride Inclusive Tee (right).

Other Convention Awards

Isabel Sparks President’s Awards

Given for the best presentations by active student members at the Sigma Tau Delta Convention, these awards were established in 1991 by Isabel Sparks, the fifth President of Sigma Tau Delta. Awards are given to both creative and critical papers across all submission categories. Awards are always given for creative and critical papers about the 2023 Common Reader The Rock Eaters. The 2023 Convention also features Toni Morrison as our Author Spotlight and special awards will be given to critical essays exploring her works.

Justin Q. Owen Convention Awards

Each year, these awards recognize critical essays and creative works by active students and alumni writing on the convention theme; this year’s theme is Colorful Colorado. The monetary prizes are given in honor of Justin Q. Owen, the first National Secretary of Sigma Tau Delta.

Beth DeMeo Poetry Award

This award is given yearly to honor excellence in convention presentations for “Critical Work on Poetry or a Poet.” Beth DeMeo was an active member of the Sigma Tau Delta organization, having served as a chapter sponsor, Eastern Regent, and President of Sigma Tau Delta.

Other Convention Awards

Sigma Tau Delta values creative and scholarly contributions that represent diversity of abilities, races, and creeds, and we present special awards for the best among these submissions. Sigma Tau Delta also awards Alumni papers, and Sigma Kappa Delta (our sister organization at two-year schools) also rewards excellent submissions by their members.

To submit a paper to the Sigma Tau Delta 2023 International Convention in Denver, CO, and be considered for a Convention Award, visit the Submission Overview page to start the submissions process. All paper and roundtable submissions are due by Monday, October 31, 5:00 p.m. Central Daylight Time (CDT).


Questions regarding the online submission process or convention awards should be addressed to the 2023 convention staff at [email protected].