Nancy Gardner, author of Annie on My Mind and Peace, O River, passed away on June 23rd at 76 after suffering a fatal heart attack. Her writing of LGBTQIA+ characters paved the way for many authors today.
Garden grew up in Boston and began writing at a young age. Her first published novel came out in 1971, and she continued to write and publish until her death. Garden’s novel Annie on My Mind, famous for being one of the first teen lesbian romances, took home the Booklist Reviewers’ Choice award, the Golden Kite Award and the ALA Best Book Award among others. Her other novels took home equally prestigious awards including the Lambda Book Award and recognitions from the Children’s Book Council.
Robin Talley, author of the upcoming Lies We Tell Ourselves, expressed her condolences on her Tumblr.
“So sad to hear this. Nancy Garden was the author of Annie on My Mind, the groundbreaking YA lesbian romance novel published in 1982 that made it possible for me to write the books I do. She was an amazing writer and will be muchly missed,” wrote Talley.
Garden would have received the 2014 Lee Lynch Classic Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society next month for Annie on My Mind.