Descendants of Hagar, Nik Nicholson’s first book, has won the Lambda award for best debut novel. LGBT.
This work of historical fiction explores the issue of a woman coming to terms with her masculine nature. To research her book Nicholson interviewed a wide variety of women who identified themselves as ‘masculine’.
‘I didn’t want Linny to be a combination of all my assumptions about masculine women,’ said Nicholson during the Lambda ceremony. ‘I don’t know of any other book where such a process was used … I interviewed more than sixty women who I presumed were lesbians because I’d posted requests for interviews on lesbian sites, but surprisingly the majority were bisexual. This was a constant reminder that gender expression does not denote sexuality.’
Descendants of Hagar is set in Georgia in 1914 during the Black Codes era, when the oppression of African-American people was particularly severe. Madelyn “Linny” Remington is a tough black woman whose forefather was the strong-spirited slave Miemay. Trapped by the limitations of her race and gender, Linny makes a promise that gives her the freedom she desires but that also brings shame upon her family.