Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Winner, National Book Awards 2021 for Young People's Literature

ISBN 9780525555254
Dutton Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Malinda Lo

Malinda Lo is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of several novels, including most recently A Line in the Dark, which was a Kirkus and Vulture best young adult book of the year. (Photo credit: Sharona Jacobs) More about this author >

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Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the feeling took root—that desire to look, to move closer, to touch. Whenever it started growing, it definitely bloomed the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. Suddenly everything seemed possible.

But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

Judges Citation

Last Night at the Telegraph Club glows with desire and hums with sensuality as sapphic romance flashes against fear and intolerance. In lustrous detail, Malinda Lo materializes Chinese American Lily and white Kath’s love story during the rise of 1950’s McCarthyism. Lo’s exquisite prose contrasts Lily’s unhurried discovery of her sexuality against Kath’s unquestioned belonging at the Telegraph Club. Lo beckons readers, sentence by restrained sentence, into this incandescent novel of queer possibility.


Malinda Lo accepts 2021 National Book Award for Young People's Lit, LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB

Malinda Lo, 2021 NBAwards Young People’s Literature Winner, reads from LAST NIGHT AT THE TELEGRAPH CLUB