OutWrite: An LGBTQ festival in Washington, D.C.

OutWrite, an annual LGBTQ literary festival in Washington, D.C., is a celebration of LGBTQ literature, authors, and readers.

We spoke with Dave Ring, the community chair of OutWrite, to learn more about the festival. (Marlena Chertock also serves on the planning committee).

What is OutWrite, who is it for, who can come?
OutWrite is D.C.’s annual LGBTQ literary festival, in its 8th year now. The main festival is held in the first weekend of August. We hold events throughout the year as well. All events are open to all, but especially, of course, to queer writers.

When did it start?
OutWrite was founded in 2010 by poet Dan Vera and David Mariner, executive director of the DC Center for the LGBT Community. It was led for the first five years by Julie Enzer, editor of Sinister Wisdom.

Why do you help lead the festival?
I took over in 2016, initially with Phill Branch, and now solo. Getting involved with OutWrite was initially a way for me to get back into my own writing, but it’s definitely attained a place in my life of its own right at this point. I see OutWrite as a way to showcase the vital writing that comes from all corners of LGBTQ communities, and would love to see more people involved on the planning committee behind the scenes.

What should attendees look forward to? Share some highlights.
Our keynote this year is writer, memoirist, and activist Michelle Tea. She’ll be doing a reading from her recent book, Against Memoir, at 1 p.m. on August 4th. You can also catch her that morning, on a 10 a.m. panel discussion led by Sunny Moraine called “Mining Trauma for Your Writing,” which will explore the ways that writers look at pain through their writing, and at our kickoff on Friday the 3rd at Ten Tigers Parlour, where she’ll be headlining “Laughing Out Loud: An Evening of Literary Comedy.”

There are more than 60 other writers and editors who’ll be reading or paneling on Saturday the 4th from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and more than 30 exhibitors, including our sponsors Bold Strokes Books and Sapphire Books Publishing. East City Bookshop will be selling books from our writers as well.

Anything else you want to add?
I’d love to specifically invite the LGBTQ Writers Caucus to the five free writing workshops held on Sunday the 5th. More info on our website, outwritedc.org.

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