Igniting Change, Resistance, and Revolution: 5 LGBTQ Panels for the Literary Activist

Words matter.  We’re writers.  We know this.  Yet, sometimes, we can get so caught up in our heads or our processes or our feelings of writerly inadequacy that we start to wonder what it is all for.  But this past year has offered an important reminder about just how important it is that we tell our stories and tell them well.  But how do we approach those stories if we want to affect real change?  How can we foster and build community to create a more sustainable literary realm, and how can we do this if we keep being pigeon-holed based on our identities?

From panels that seek to question and confront the literary establishment to others that seek to mobilize for the future, these 5 panels are aimed at igniting and empowering the queer activist within:

Writing Resistance: LGBTQ Writing as a Platform for Change

With the safety and lives of LGBTQ individuals at stake now more than ever, the call for politically driven writing is even more urgent. This panel features LGBTQ writers known for their politically driven content, who use their writing as a platform for activism and change. Panelists will demonstrate how politically fueled writing can contribute to the change and support that the LGBTQ community needs, and how one’s pen can be the most powerful tool for those who wish to create change. Panelists: Tiff FerentiniJulia Leslie GuarchSeth FischerEverett MaroonKika Chatterjee

Details: Grand Salon D, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor.  Thursday 10:30 am to 11:45 am

The Road Out: Lambda Literary Surveys the Future of LGBTQ Writing

In the thirty years since its founding, Lambda Literary has advocated for LGBTQ writers and readers as we confronted AIDS, debated marriage, grappled with issues of equality and justice and sought to advance a diverse and inclusive queer/trans culture. Now, amid renewed oppression and threat, how best can Lambda Literary and LGBTQ writers foster a proactive, sustainable place for ourselves? Literary activists affiliated with Lambda Literary lead a conversation with the community on the path forward. Panelists: Tony ValenzuelaWilliam JohnsonJoy LadinAmy ScholderBrandi Spaethe

Details: Meeting Room 9 & 10, Marriott Waterside, Third Floor; Thursday, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Writing Toward the Margins: When the Stereotypes Are Also Your Story

Submission calls strive to include voices of marginalized identities, but many do this by requesting work that pigeonholes writers. Writers of intersecting marginalized identities balance writing what an audience “expects” and real life. How do writers address the stereotypical markers of their work (as women, POC, veterans, LGBT+ community, etc.) while also honoring their life stories? This panel explores stereotypes for marginalized writers while navigating expectation and truth.  Panelists: Monica PrinceMike McClellandPenny DearminNatalie SharpAdam Sirgany

Details: Grand Salon C, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor; Thursday, 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm

Writing the Revolutions

Revolutions are not accidents of history. Behind every act of resistance stand the writers and writing that inspired, shaped, transformed, and actualized them—Rousseau, Paine, Hamilton, Madison, Marx, Anthony, King, Friedan, Havel. From these historical lessons we turn to the current battles for LGBTQ, women, immigrants, and the environment and discuss the role and tactics that we will need to write today’s revolution. Panelists: Paul KetzleSimmons BuntinJuan MoralesAndy HoffmanHeather Hirschi

Details: Meeting Room 4, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor; Friday 9:00 am to 10:15 am

Power, Change, and the Literary Establishment

As women, LGBTQ individuals, and people of color move into positions of power in literary culture, we may imagine we are ahead of other professions in addressing gender and racial inequities. In a cultural climate that makes these inequities urgently visible, the participants in this roundtable will open a discussion about whether power dynamics and double standards that lay the ground for mistreatment are more deeply entrenched than we think, expressed in routine interactions too subtle to take on directly, and we will ask how we might work to make these dynamics visible, and so, subject to change. Panelists: Katharine Coles, Lucinda Roy, Brynn Saito, Peter Covino, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Details: Ballroom A, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor; Friday 9:00am to 10:15am

Over the next 3 days, we’ll highlight upcoming LGBTQ-themed AWP panels to help you plan your AWP schedule.  If you’d like your panel or event featured in an up-coming post, please do not hesitate to  contact us!



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