Character. Setting. Plot. We learn and hone these craft elements in different ways – inside the creative writing classroom, by reading and studying other writers, through experimentation within our own stories and poems, or receiving feedback from that trusted friend. These 4 panels seek to add to and expand on our craft knowledge by offering insights into how we, as queer writers, can best tackle the empty page.
Between the book fair, the readings, and the chance encounters with long-lost friends (or long-lost foes!), it’s easy to get swept up in the business and chaos of AWP. Attending these panels might be a nice way to ground yourself back into the task at hand and to perhaps inspire you to wake early (or stay up late) and get some writing in before the madness resumes.
Novels and short stories are often shaped by real events happening to real people that they know. Three LGBTQ writers will talk about the real people within their stories and how the creative process changed both the characters and ultimately the authors themselves. For LGBTQ writers, exploring these stories become an exploration of our larger community and the known and unknown histories of our lives. Each of our writers will discuss these themes and read from their works. Panelists: Alan Lessik, Kathy Anderson, Larry Benjamin
Details: Room 11, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor; Friday 9:00 am to 10:15 am
“Nothing can happen nowhere,” Elizabeth Bowen famously wrote about the importance of setting in fiction. But in LGBTQ-themed fiction, “place” is complicated: While many physical settings support queer characters, others feel unwelcoming or dangerous, including familiar ones like home. This panel explores how fiction writers negotiate place for their LGBTQ characters. Is the city a natural refuge? Are rural spaces always inhospitable? Does “home” necessarily render LGBTQ characters strangers? Panelists: Paula Martinac, Amy Hoffman, Cheryl Head, Serkan Gorkemli, Carter Sickels
Details: Meeting Room 1, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor; Friday 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
How do race, gender, and sexuality shape the structures of contemporary fictional craft? How do they inflect our characters’ voices and the strategies we use to narrate their lives? In a historical moment when #BlackLivesMatter, trans visibility, and LGBTQ activism offer new possibilities for writers and readers interested in marginalized lives, this panel considers how voice, fictional form, and storytelling make space for important modes of critique and empathy, both on the page and beyond. Panelists: Marci Blackman, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Nicole Dennis-Benn, Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, LaMonda Horton-Stallings
Details: Grand Salon C, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor; Saturday 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Surreal, magical, or fabulist fiction has traditionally been employed to attack political systems through subversive means. Yet, women writers have adapted this genre for their own modes of critique. In this event, panelists will discuss how they use elements of the weird to address subjects such as the domestic, the female body, otherness, and LGBTQ identity. Presenters will provide examples, methods, and techniques for crafting subversive fiction that offers new methods of witnessing reality. Panelists: Clare Beams, Brenda Peynado, Jamey Bradbury, Celia Johnson, Ramona Ausubel
Details: Meeting Room 1, Marriott Waterside, Second Floor; Saturday 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm