June 16, 2009, Roberta "Sandy" Sandburg,
the founder of the Alice B Awards, lost her
battle with lung cancer. She was 72. Her partner
of 36 years, Kay Percy, was at Sandy's side
in the hospital during the final weeks of
envisioned the Alice B Awards a decade or
so ago, and in 2004 decided to make the awards
a reality by committing funds from "an
anonymous donor." A lifelong reader who
was passionate about lesbian fiction, Sandy
wanted to thank and reward the authors who
had given her so much joy, and she did so
by establishing the Alice B fund and gathering
a group of women who became the Alice B Readers
bought and read pretty much every lesbian novel
and story/anthology collection that came out
each year and devoted an entire room in her
house to her library. She didn't accept "freebie"
copies from authors, publishers, or fans because
she wanted to offer financial support to the
creators of the works. To the end, she was a
staunch supporter of lesbian writing.
also read a lot of other materials and was a
political force to be reckoned with. Sandy's
beliefs were strong, especially in the areas
of human, civil, and women's rights, and she
voiced her support with passion and care.
addition to reading, Sandy had many interests
including raising mini-horses with her twin
brother who had the property to stable them,
and Sandy and Kay spent a lot of time there.
Sandy also loved to design buildings. She'd
supervise all aspects and help with the labor
to construct barns, additions, gazebos, woodsheds,
etc. One of her dreams was to live in a trailer
on a site while she helped to build a house.
Later, when the building was completed, she
said wryly that it wasn't near as much fun as
she thought it would be.
only to reading (and Kay, of course), Sandy
loved music. She played guitar and sang with
a lovely, husky contralto. She shared that love
of music with others, swapping music, singing
duets, and enjoying the deep tones of her trusty
partner Kay said that Sandy was brave to the
end, despite radiation treatments and time spent
on the ventilator. In her life, Sandy overcame
many obstacles, but the mass in her lungs was
something she couldn't defeat.
Nin once wrote: "People living deeply have
no fear of death." Sandy wasn't afraid.
She lived each day fully. She lived deeply -
and passionately - and she loved deeply as well.
Her love and humor and generous spirit will
be missed by all who knew her.
wanted to see the Alice B Awards go on, so the
Committee will be working for the rest of 2009
and into the future to honor her wish. You can
continue to carry on her legacy by buying, reading,
and praising lesbian fiction. That's what she