Ooligan Press is pleased to announce that Oregon native Karelia Stetz-Waters has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for her young adult novel Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before, published October 2014.

Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before is nominated in the LGBT Children’s/Young Adult category. The book tells the story of small-town high-school student Triinu Hoffman, who must navigate through bullies, first loves, and the upheaval of LGBT rights in 1990s Oregon.

Now in their twenty-seventh year, the Lambda Literary Awards are the nation’s preeminent award for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender books. Lambda Literary takes submissions for books all over the United States. Karelia Stetz-Waters has been nominated alongside writers published by the likes of Simon & Schuster, Candlewick Press, and Harlequin Enterprises. Karelia has been invited to a ceremony June 1, 2015, in New York City, where winners will be announced.

Though Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before is Stetz-Waters’s first young adult novel, it’s only one of her LGBT novels. Her other books—The Purveyor, The Admirer, and most recently Something True—all feature lesbian protagonists. Triinu Hoffman’s story parallels Karelia Stetz-Waters’s own adolescence. Like Triinu, she grew up in Oregon in the 1990s, when the political upheaval around Ballot Measure 9 tried to change state law to classify homosexuality as a sexual deviancy on the same level as pedophilia. Karelia would show her support for Queer Nation by sporting a sticker that said, “Don’t hate me because I’m queer; hate me because I’m beautiful.”

Her connection to the story is evident in the way she describes Forgive Me on her website:

Triinu Hoffman has one hope for high school: that the bullies who tormented her in junior high won’t find her in the crowded hallways of her new school. When she accidentally stabs a lecherous youth minister with a Bic pen and gets branded a lezzie Satanist, she realizes there is no way she is going to escape their torment. Moreover, Triinu has started noticing a beautiful girl dressed in all black, and she begins to think there may be something to the accusations of lesbianism.

Since its October release, Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before has steadily gained a larger audience. At Ooligan Press, we can’t wait to see what else is in store for the book. For more information about Ooligan Press, Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before, and Ooligan’s other titles—and to see how Karelia does at the Lammys—visit our website.

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