Sarah Schulman, writer and activist, is awarded 2021 Ann Snitow Prize

Sarah Schulman is a writer, scholar, and activist whose prolific body of work across mediums—fiction, nonfiction, theater, and film—attests to a lifetime of creativity and dedication to queer, left, and feminist causes. She is the author of nineteen books, most recently Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT-UP New York, 1987-1993 (2021), which has been praised as “remarkable,” “amazing,” and “definitive”; in the words of one reviewer, “a resounding rebuttal to exclusionary versions of AIDS history.” Sarah’s nominator, Susan Stryker, the groundbreaking historian and leader in trans theory and activism, calls the book “the capstone of Schulman’s decades of activism on AIDS-related issues.” 

Schulman was selected by judges Kaavya Asoka, Liat Ben-Moshe, Karma Chavez, Sarah Leonard, Premilla Nadasen, and Barbara Ransby. Nadasen, the winner of the inaugural Ann Snitow Prize, notes that Schulman’s “fierce courage in tackling difficult issues, and her unwavering commitment to not only theorize but to help build a more just society—in the U.S. and abroad—embody the essence of the Ann Snitow Prize.” Fellow judge Chavez adds: “Schulman’s longstanding and diverse feminist and queer activism on issues ranging from HIV/AIDS to the sexism of the literary world to gentrification to Palestine made her a truly ideal candidate. In particular, the importance of her recent book, Let the Record Show, as a handbook for activists facing government inaction and pandemic politics made her an ideal choice in this historical moment.”

Sarah Schulman, winner of the 2021 Ann Snitow Prize. Photo: Drew Stevens

The Award Ceremony featured “Love/Hurts: Conflict, Compassion and Feminist Community-Building,” a conversation between Schulman and her nominator, Susan Stryker, Click here to view the complete ceremony. Click here to view the program.

Past Awardees

2020: Premilla Nadasen

“I am deeply humbled to be the inaugural recipient of this prize in honor of pioneering feminist Ann Snitow. It is a recognition of the many poor and working-class women of color who fought for economic justice, racial equality, and feminism who mobilized to make their political voice heard. Through their activism, they cultivated a feminist politics that is even more urgent today.”

2020 Winner Premilla Nadasen

A woman of African and Indian ancestry, Nadasen grew up in South Africa and moved to the US as a child. She became an activist in high school and joined the student anti-apartheid movement at college in the 1980s. As an activist, historian, and pedagogue—she now teaches at Barnard College—Nadasen lifts up often invisible working women and women’s social justice movements, grassroots multi-issue organizing by low-income Southern women, and the vibrant labor organizing among domestic workers, a force made up largely of women of color and immigrants. Bringing together the politics of care, global migration. labor, race, and poverty under a feminist rubric, Nadasen discovers new points of intersection, broadening and deepening both the definitions and possibilities of feminism.

In an extraordinary year—marked by continued police killings of Black people and massive Black Lives Matter protests, increased attacks on democracy and reproductive justice, and a pandemic that manifested America’s and the world’s deep historic, racialized health and economic inequalities and the centrality of care in all our lives—we were proud to honor Premilla with the inaugural Ann Snitow Prize.

The 2020 Award Ceremony featured “The Politics of Care: Feminism, Race, and Grassroots Organizing,” a conversation between Nadasen and her nominator, the Barbara Ransby. Click here to view the complete ceremony. Click here to view the program.