Annie On My Mind was awarded the Lee Lynch Classic Award by the Golden Crown Literary Society in 2014, cited as one of the most important classics in lesbian literature.
Garden was born in 1938 in Boston. She was an only child who "took refuge in books, in writing, and in telling long stories to myself and sometimes acting them out." She earned a B.F.A. (1961) and an M.A. (1962) from Columbia University School of Dramatic Arts. Through school and for several years after college, Garden worked in theater, supplementing the work with odd jobs in offices. She later taught school and worked as an editor of children's literature. She has also written non-fiction, mystery and fantasy for children and young adults.
Garden is best known for Annie on My Mind, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 1982. It was critically acclaimed but attracted controversy because of its lesbian characters, Annie and Liza, who fall in love. It was one of the first teen novels to feature lesbian characters in a positive light. "I wrote it to give solace to young gay people, to let them know they were not alone, that they could be happy and well adjusted and also to let heterosexual kids know that we gay people aren't monsters," she told Booklist in a 1996 interview.
In 1993, Annie on My Mind was banned by the Kansas City school system and burnt in demonstrations. It was returned to shelves only after a First Amendment lawsuit by students in 1995. It is #44 on the American Library Association list of 100 books most frequently challenged during the 1990s.
From left, Nancy Garden, Sandy Scott; taking first bites of their wedding cake in 2004.
Nancy Garden was an American writer of fiction for children and young adults, best known for the lesbian novel Annie on My Mind. She received the 2003 Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association recognizing her lifetime contribution in writing for teens, citing Annie alone. She spent many years living between Massachusetts and Maine, with her partner of 45 years Sandy Scott, their golden retriever, Loki, and their cats. Nancy Garden died of a heart attack on June 23, 2014, aged 76.
Nancy Garden, 1997, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1123939)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitalGarden received the Robert B. Downs Award for Intellectual Freedom in 2001 from the University of Illinois Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
The ALA Margaret A. Edwards Award recognizes one writer and a particular body of work "for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature." Garden won the annual award in 2003, when the panel cited Annie on My Mind alone and called her "the first author for young adults to create a lesbian love story with a positive ending ... Using a fluid, readable style, Garden opens a window through which readers can find courage to be true to themselves." Five years later Garden recalled that "I was and still am enormously grateful ... for YALSA’s recognition ... of the importance of YA books about LGBT youth."
Garden's reviews of young adult titles have appeared in the Lambda Literary Foundation's Lambda Book Report.
She spent many years living between Massachusetts and Maine, with partner Sandy Scott, their golden retriever, Loki, and their cats.
Nancy Garden died of a heart attack on June 23, 2014, aged 76.
ANNIE ON MY MIND by Nancy Garden is a must read! If you want literature, if you want great writing, this book is for you. And if you’re a girl who thinks you might like other girls, this compelling love story will resonate. I aspire to write like Nancy Garden. She is lyrical and this novel is beautifully realized. Winner of many awards. Deservedly so. --Lee BantleMore Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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