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The LGBTQ Writers Caucus

Representing LGBTQ Writers at AWP since 2012

Thursday’s LGBTQ Events!

Welcome to the first official day at the AWP conference.  We hope to see you this evening. Until then, here are today’s LGBTQ panels!

Thursday, February 9, 2017
9:00 am to 10:15 am
Liberty Salon I, J, & K, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four R116. Liberate Literature: Creating an Artistic Culture Outside of Academia. (Jennifer Fitzgerald, Rodrigo Toscano, Rosalyn Spencer, Ailish Hopper, Rosebud Ben-Oni) Academic affiliation is not an option for many people of color, economically poor, geographically isolated, or traditionally excluded groups. Panelists show how systems used for community organizing can be shifted to grassroots artistic organizing in the form of cultural centers, worker centers, readings, & workshops. Community building around art and literature creates a means of access for under-served communities. Attendees will leave with tangible solutions and plans for action.

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10:30 am to 11:45 am
Marquis Salon 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two R137. The Politics of Queering Characters. (Samantha Tetangco, Marisa P. Clark, Lisa D. Chavez, Lori Ostlund, Jervon Perkins) For queer writers, creating a queer character is a political act that involves conscious decisions and unexpected obstacles. How can we tell when our characters are too queer or not queer enough? What other complications may arise when we try to define our audience and their expectations? How do we choose to out ourselves and our characters in our work? This panel considers the politics of queering characters within fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

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Room 101, Washington Convention Center, Level One R152. On Caucuses: Caucus Leaders Unite. (Miguel M. Morales, Bojan Louis, Ruben Quesada, Alyss Dixson, Tiffany Ferentini) What do AWP caucuses do? Why are they important? Want to form a caucus or become more active? Come hear from minority caucus leaders—African Diaspora, Indigenous, Latino, LGBTQ—on the state of AWP’s caucus system. Learn about the information sharing and the work our united caucuses are doing. Join one of the special initiatives launched to improve the AWP annual conference for everyone. Presenters will also offer a comprehensive guide to caucus events and volunteer opportunities at #AWP17.

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12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Marquis Salon 7 & 8, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two R173. Queer Journeys: A Celebration of the University of Wisconsin Press’s 80th Anniversary. (Raphael Kadushin, Alden Jones, Brian Bouldrey, Lucy Bledsoe, Guillermo Reyes) The University of Wisconsin Press has long been dedicated to publishing the strongest works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by and about LGBTQ writers. It has also shown an ongoing engagement with issues of travel. Join five UW Press authors as they read from their work in celebration of UW Press’s 80th anniversary, spotlighting its commitment to ethically engaged literature that explores how LGBTQ people move through our ever-changing world.

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Salon F, Washington Convention Center, Level One R187. Bite Hard: A Tribute to Justin Chin. (Jeffrey McDaniel, Timothy Liu, Beth Lisick, David Daniels, Adrienne Su) Five poets/teachers engage Chin’s work from a wide range of angles, including his association with performance art and slam poetry, his tangling with issues of Asian identity and sexuality through his poetry and hybrid prose, his tactical use of humor to disarm the reader as he explored illness and living with AIDS, his zeroing in on where the personal becomes political, and his Baudelaire-like blending of the elegant and profane.

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1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
Liberty Salon L, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four R211. If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say: How to Write Stories People Don’t Want Told. (Garrard Conley, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Michael Twitty, Kristen Green) We all know not to talk politics, religion, or money at the dinner table, but should these subjects be off limits for storytelling? Some of the best writing comes from tackling topics people would rather not discuss. These journalists and memoirists have written about gay “conversion” therapy, segregation in school, shameful family secrets, and tracing slave lineage. The panelists will explain how to report stories when sources don’t want to talk, and will share the price they paid for doing so.

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Room 101, Washington Convention Center, Level One R216. The Elegy Endures: 30 Years of Community Witness to HIV/AIDS. (Terry Wolverton, David Groff, Irene Borger, Reginald Harris, Michael Broder) In the 30th anniversary year of the first public display of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington, DC., LGBTQ writers who have continually addressed the pandemic of HIV/AIDS in their own work, on websites, in the editing of anthologies, and in conducting community workshops, reflect on the power and agency of the written word in confronting, interpreting, even transforming, the loss, the politics, and the legacy of this devastating plague that persists into our own time.

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Room 207A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two R229. Kaylie Jones Books: A Reading. (Kaylie Jones, Patricia Smith, J Patrick Redmond, Barb Taylor, Laurie Lowenstein) Kaylie Jones Books, an imprint of Akashic Books, was established in 2013 by writer Kaylie Jones, with the goal of publishing good books that take on subjects often overlooked by mainstream publishers. Since its inception, KJB has published nine books of fiction and nonfiction to critical acclaim, including Best Summer Read and an ALA award. Come hear four KJB authors read from recent work and talk with the publisher.
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm
Room 102A, Washington Convention Center, Level One R251. Ensuring/Enduring Presence: Transgender People of Color—Artists, Editors, and Publishers. (Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, Ryka Aoki, Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko, A.J. Alana Ka’imi Bryce, Max Wolf Valerio) Trans artists/editors/publishers of color shepherd daily into the world innovative work that is highly crafted. Immersed in our present material conditions, decolonially reimagining our pasts and futures, temporally/geographically refiguring the wheres and whens of our storied bodies, responding to calls issued by our communities as we issue our own, this panel posits the possibilities of our presence, our generative genealogies, and the care with which we consider our compositional/communal praxis.

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Salon F, Washington Convention Center, Level One R253. Publishing Diversely: Challenges and Successes, Sponsored by SPD. (Trisha Low, Piyal Bhattacharya, Charles Flowers, Zoe Tuck) A diverse panel of small press publishers, authors, and arts leaders share their approaches to addressing—and achieving—diversity and representation as independent literary publishing.

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Room 202A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two R257. In the Box/Out of the Box: Writing With/Against Your Gender/Race/Ethnicity/Etc.. (Bich Minh Nguyen Nguyen, Luis Alberto Urrea, Kelly Luce, Rob Spillman, Christian Kiefer) As fiction writers, we often feel pressure to write inside the confines our own experience, as defined by our ethnic identity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, and so on. This panel explores the edges and interstices of that pressure. In what contexts is it acceptable to write outside such confines? In what contexts is it not? What does “diversity” mean when creating a fictional world? As writers, who has cultural permission to press past the confines of one’s own identity?

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4:30 pm to 5:45 pm
Room 207A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two R294. Fractured Selves: Fabulism as a Platform for Minorities, Women, and the LGBT Community. (Sequoia Nagamatsu, Aubrey Hirsch , Brenda Peynado , Zach Doss, Ramona Ausubel ) Fabulist writers and editors define Fabulism (often used with other terms like magical realism and slipstream), illuminate individual approaches to the genre alongside brief readings, and discuss how fabulism can be a rich territory for expression, exploration, and power for minorities, women, and the LGBT community. What does it mean to write about the other from other worlds or hybrid spaces?

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6:00 pm to 7:15 pm
Room 102B, Washington Convention Center, Level One R300. LGBTQ Writers Caucus. (Tiffany Ferentini, Miguel M. Morales, Todd Summar, Samantha Tetangco, Sean Patrick Mulroy) The LGBTQ Caucus provides a space for writers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer to network and discuss common issues and challenges, such as representation and visibility on and off the literary page; and incorporating one’s personal identity into their professional and academic lives. The Caucus also strives to discuss, develop, and increase queer representation for future AWP conferences, and to serve as a supportive community and resource for its members.

Check here to add to my schedule

Other Panels with LGBTQ Peoples (not LGBTQ-content specific)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

1:30 pm to 2:45 pm

Room 204AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two R226. The Imitation Game: Adapting Classic Narratives in Contemporary Literature. (Lorraine Lopez, Kathryn Locey, Lynn Pruett, Blas Falconer, Teresa Dovalpage) Isabel Allende claims that all stories have been told and that writers merely retell these, sometimes deliberately. For example, Jane Smiley drafted 1,000 Acres to rebut Shakespeare’s King Lear. Authors, writing in four genres—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, speak to the conscious process of adapting classic literature, sharing ways to eke inspiration and avoid derivation in this practice that can provide new perspectives to highlight and enrich enduring narratives.

Off-Site Events:

Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices Reunion & PartyThursday, February 9 at 6 PM – 8 PM @ Marvin (upstairs), 2007 14th Street NW, Washington DC:  Come celebrate 10 years of the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices! Meet the Lambda Fellows. Catch up with classmates. We’ll also launch the latest edition of Emerge: A Lambda Literary Fellows Anthology featuring work from the 2016 Fellows. #LLFellows #LLF10th

Headmistress Press Presents: Tribute to Lesbian Poets, Thursday, February 9th, from 6 – 8PM @ Walls of Book, 3325 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC:  Headmistress Press is sponsoring an event, including food & drink, reading & schmoozing. Readings by Celeste Gainey, JP Howard, Ching-In Chen, Robin Becker, Nickole Brown, Jessica Jacobs and more!

Unidos: A Reading for Pulse OrlandoThursday, February 9 at 8 PM – 10 PM @ The DC Center for the LGBT Community, 2000 14th St NW #105, Washington DC:  Join contributors of two forthcoming anthologies, The Brillantina Project and Pulse/Pulso, as we unite to honor the victims and survivors of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. We will commemorate our beloved dead while comforting and celebrating our community. Reception begins at 8pm. Reading begins at 8:30pm.

 

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Wednesday’s LGBTQ Events Start TODAY!

Wait!  All I have today is register for the conference, right?  Wrong!  Off-site events begin as soon as the conference does!  Here are the ones slated for this evening!

YAS Queen: Out of the MarginsWednesday, February 8 at 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM @ Olive Garden, 3480 East-West Hwy, Hyattsville, MD:  Yas Queen is a night celebrating women, LGBT, and POC writers including: Heidi Czerwiec, Lynn Domina, Roy G. Guzmán, Nicole Oquendo, Deonte Osayande, Jessica Walsh, the 2016 Freshwater Poetry Slam Team and is hosted by Anthony Ramirez and Janeen Rastall. You can purchase drinks/dinner

The Queer Kiss ReadingWednesday, February 8 at 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM @ Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St. NW, Washington DC:  A poetry reading in response to the horrific shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL, reportedly provoked by the shooter observing a queer kiss. Each reader will share a poem in celebration of queer love and the LGBT community. Featured poets: Cam Awkard-Rich, Lauren May, Kathi Wolfe, and more!

Stop by the LGBTQ Writers Caucus Booth! Tiff Tells us Why It’s There and What you Can Expect!

 

Oh, the Book Fair!  There’s nothing quite like it:  rows and rows and rows of booths, each one featuring another group or organization vying for your attention.  Read this magazine!  Buy this book!  Apply to this school!  Apply for our residency!  And there, amidst the literary journals and writing programs and small presses sits…US!!  The LGBTQ Writers Caucus Booth.

I tracked down Tiff Ferentini, Caucus VP, to talk to us about why YOU should come and say hi!

Sam:  Why did the caucus decide to have a booth presence?

Tiff:  We originally decided to have a booth to help promote the Caucus’s visual presence at AWP, and to serve as a hub to inform both our Caucus members and AWP members attending the Conference not only about the Caucus, but about all the queer panels, readings, and events going on at AWP. The Caucus strives to serve as both a community and resource for LGBTQ writers and the queer members of AWP, and we thought having a booth in the Bookfair would help strengthen that community and could be something we could give back to our members.
After seeing the positive response from having a booth in the Bookfair at last year’s AWP Conference, we thought it would be a great idea to offer a booth again. The booth provided not only conference attendees an opportunity to meet our members, some of whom which hosted several book signings at our booth, but we also wanted the booth itself to serve as a safe space where current and inquiring members could meet and get additional information about the Caucus and queer events that were going on at AWP.  

Sam: What can people expect at the booth?

Tiff:  Again, we would like the booth to serve as a safe space where our members can meet, convene, and promote themselves. If you have a recent publication, let us know – we want to help spread the word! We will also have flyers listing  all of the queer panels and events going on at AWP, as well as additional information about the Caucus, how you can get involved, and information on how to sign up for our mailing list and stay in touch with us all year long – not just at AWP.  

Sam: What are you most excited about in terms of the booth this year?

Tiff:  I’m incredibly proud and humbled that we will be sharing a booth with Lambda Literary this year, and am looking forward to meeting and learning from the amazing Lambda staff. I’m also looking forward to our author signings, and to having the opportunity to meet and speak with more of our members. AWP is the one time of year where I can see, reconnect with, and make new queer and writing friends. The Booth really allowed me that opportunity last year, and I can’t wait for that again!

Special thanks, too, to Miguel Morales, Caucus President, for working so hard to have an LGBTQ Writers Caucus Presence at the Book Fair!

LGBTQ Writers Caucus Interview with Kim van Alkemade

As a part of the Caucus’s initiative to continue to support and foster a safe and creative writing space – both virtually, and at AWP – where our members can network, meet, and connect, we’ll be once again hosting, for the second year in a row, a booth in the Bookfair at this year’s AWP Conference (Booth #668 with Lambda Literary). Last year, our booth was a great success, and gave conference attendees an opportunity to not only learn more about the Caucus, but to also meet our members through book signings.

This year, the Caucus is proud to welcome LGBTQ Writers Caucus member Kim van Alkemade, author of the New York Times best selling historical fiction novel Orphan #8 (HarperCollins, William Morrow Paperbacks, 2015) for an author signing on Friday, February 10 at 11:00 AM. In anticipation for the signing, our Caucus Vice President, Tiff Ferentini, sat down with Kim to learn more about her involvement and advice for AWP, Orphan #8, writing, and more.

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It is interesting to me how LGBTQ people have been situated differently in various historical contexts. I think getting at that is important: what might it have been like to be queer in that specific time and place?

You’ve hosted panels before regarding the process of getting your debut novel, Orphan #8, published. Do you have any advice for queer writers who are trying to debut?
I guess it would the same same advice for any writer: keep at it, keep revising, be patient, be persistent. For queer writers, I might add: be yourself. Don’t second guess yourself.

Queer representation at AWP has been one of the Caucus’s biggest concerns, and every year we encourage our members to brainstorm and submit queer panel ideas. Is there any advice you have for queer writers who are hoping to propose a panel at AWP?
I think panels that are inclusive and focus on a variety of representations work well for AWP. If there’s a specific concern for queer writers, then that should be the focus, but it looks like a lot of the panels now are about the intersections between various identities.

Historical fiction and LGBTQ writers often struggle with being able to authentically and naturally capture a time period that their readers may be unfamiliar with, or crafting a story around a queer character without having the entire story be about the character’s queer identity, but you do such a great job of capturing both in Orphan #8. Do you have any advice for writers who may be struggling with one or the other, or both?
Well, there have always been queer people so situating them in historical fiction doesn’t automatically make the story “about” queer identity. But also, it is interesting to me how LGBTQ people have been situated differently in various historical contexts. I think getting at that is important: what might it have been like to be queer in that specific time and place? I tend to read things from the era–I focus on early 20th century so that isn;t so hard for me. I have on my desk right now an 1918 edition of Havelock Ellis’s Studies in the Psychology of Sex: Sexual Inversion. And then historical studies are also crucial, such as George Chauncey’s Gay New York.

Do you feel the need to define yourself as either a historical fiction or LGBTQ writer? How has your identity influenced your writing?
I am a historical fiction writer whose characters are gay or lesbian. It’s what I wanted to read growing up, it’s what I want to read today, and it’s my project as a writer to situate queer people in the historical past because it is true and because we are underrepresented. I don’t think a writer needs to identify as LGBTQ to write convincing queer characters, and I don’t think queer writers should feel compelled to focus on queer characters in their writing, but for me my writing and my identity do intersect.

What’s your greatest piece of writing advice?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten about writing has come from Annie Dillard in her book The Writing Life. There are so many great lines in that book but the overall message I take away from it is to be brave.

Kim van Alkemade is the author of the historical fiction novel Orphan #8 (William Morrow, August 4, 2015). Her creative nonfiction essays have appeared in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, CutBank, and So To Speak. Born in New York, NY, she earned a BA in English and History from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a Professor in the English Department at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania where she teaches writing. She lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Don’t miss Kim signing at our booth, Booth #668, on Friday, February 10 at 11:00 AM at #AWP17!

How to Survive AWP: Tips and Advice for First-Time AWP Goers, Take 2

Two weeks ago, we offered advice to help first-time AWP attendees plan their trip to AWP.  Here, we offer our second installment in the advice series: How to SURVIVE the conference itself.  As before, I asked advice from upcoming AWP panelists, and compiled their wisdom. Much gratitude to Miguel Morales, Marisa P. Clark, Belinda Kremer, Donna Minkowitz, Sean Patrick Mulroy, and Lisa Chavez for taking the time to help!

Our first stop?  Panels!  As we discussed in the first advice post, there are TONS of panels, many during conflicting time slots.  Good thing for you, you’ve downloaded the app, added your favorite panels to your personal schedule, and perhaps are even sporting a new haircut (and feeling fine!).  Now, you have to make those hard choices – this panel or that one?  That one or another?  At last, you take a plunge, sit down in your seat, and then…

As Miguel Morales, presenting on the panel “On Caucuses: Caucus Leaders Unite,” points out,

Not Every panel will be for you, and some panels are unexpectedly so!  Often, you’ll read a description in the program, attend the panel, and a few minutes in realize that this panel is not what you expected.  Other times, you’ll arrive for a panel early and listen to the tail end of another presentation that realize that the panel was unexpectedly important.  At the conference, it is okay to arrive and leave mid-panel, but please be respectful of the presenters!

And for those occasions when a panelist happens to say that ONE THING you needed to hear or offers up wisdom that truly speaks to you, don’t be afraid to introduce yourselves (or even offer a business card), which is the advice offered by Marisa P. Clark, also presenting on the “The Politics of Queering Characters” panel. As Clark reminds

All the writers & presenters are humans and experiencing different things in their lives but a kind word can be very meaningful. And how you wouldn’t want to leave regretting that you didn’t take the opportunity to say hi, get your book signed, etc.

When you do approach them, introduce yourself by full name (& maybe genre & school). Don’t be shy, don’t be shy, don’t be shy. You’re moving in a world you belong in and contribute to in lots of ways.  It is all a part of literary citizenship.

Another key part of literary citizenship is attending the AWP Bookfair, which may require that you leave extra room in your luggage, as it is often everyone’s favorite event.

Belinda Kremer, on the panel “The Body Electric in the Ether: Creative Writing Pedagogy Goes Online,” advises:

Don’t leave the Bookfair to the end! Go early, go often. It’s inspiring. It’s a good way to relax and clear your head. While you are there, visit the LGBTQ folks and offer your encouragement and positive feedback. They would like to see you. And you’ll like seeing them.

I swear, we didn’t pay her to say this, but Kremer also encourages people to go to the LGBTQ writers caucus meeting, which occurs on the first evening!  Last year, Kremer hadn’t been able to attend because it crossed over with other things and was regrouping from travel…

 …yet I saw how much people had connected there, and was often asked if I’d been there. Conferences can be so big and overwhelming, and it always looks like everyone knows each other and is totally connected …. get some of that connection for yourself, or increase what you’ve already got, by going to the caucus.

 

Panels and bookfair aside, perhaps one of the biggest areas of advice had to do with the importance of choosing YOU.

As Miguel says,

It’s alright that you planned every moment of the conference but be flexible. Make peace with the fact that there are probably 4 or 5 places you really want/need to be at any given time. Take a few moments each day to process what’s happening. So much energy is flying around that it can be overwhelming, ground yourself whenever you can. Sometimes that means just stopping by the caucus booth to chat or stepping outside for some air. People will understand if you need a moment.

Donna Minkowitz, presenting on “I Sing the Body Queer and Crip,” reminds that

You will get tired. Take ample breaks, even unscheduled ones; take entire evenings off. Eat regularly and well. During the time slot when you thought you would go hear Famous Writer Y, go instead to dunk in the hot tub and swim in the hotel pool.

This is advice Sean Patrick Mulroy, caucus communications officer, seconds:

I would say, don’t feel too much pressure to go to everything. Pick what’s most important to you, and take some risks, but don’t feel bad taking the afternoon off to enjoy the city–AWP is supposed to be fun.  Make sure to let it be fun.

Lisa Chavez, presenting on “The Politics of Queering Characters” and “Mother Lode, Mother Load: Writing Difficult Mothers and Others,” like Sean, advocates enjoying the host city, particularly the museums, many of which will be free.  But be forewarned…

A huge hoard of writers is descending on D.C., all likely looking for coffee, a drink, lunch, etc. at nearly the same time.  If you are looking for less of a crowd, venture further afield.

And while you are out there, Chavez adds,

Take off your badges!

At the end of this post, I offer up a final tip by Miguel.

Look out for one another. I mean, don’t get all up in someone else’s business but if someone needs help, looks lost, or is unsure about walking alone to CVS, step up and be a good citizen.

Now what are you waiting for?  Let’s do this conference thing!  See you folks in Washington, D.C.!

P.S.  My photograph for this post was taken at AWP LA.  It’s of the “secret” coffee cart I found in AWP LA…  You might consider finding other secret things of your own…cover carts, places to write, or even windows with particularly perfect views.  Got more advice?  Leave some in the comments below!

Official Message from the LGBTQ Writers Caucus

We, the LGBTQ Writers Caucus executive board, stand with our members and our allies working to create a safe and supportive community and in their efforts to oppose and isolate hate.

We stand with those targeted and affected by the Executive Order banning travel from seven Muslim majority countries to the United States.

We stand with those facing unrestrained anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric. We stand against the threats, intimidation, and acts of violence that preceded and that follow such ignorance.

We stand against any effort, current or forthcoming, that attempts to impede rights of or nullify the existence of the LGBTQ community or those of our allies.

We stand with participants of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs annual conference in calling for the AWP Board of Trustees to issue a “strong and resounding statement of support for the rights of immigrants and refugees — and the writers who inevitably compose parts of these communities.”

We stand united.

*Photograph of a poster handed out at the Oakland Woman’s March.  Artist Unknown. Further information welcome.

The Inspiring, Startling, and Unusual: 5 AWP/LGBTQ Readings Worth Checking Out!

A couple of weeks ago, I solicited advice from up-coming panelists for first-time AWP goers.  Belinda Kremer, presenting on a panel titled, “The Body Electric in the Ether: Creative Writing Pedagogy Goes Online” offered up this sage advice:

Go to readings!–formal, as well as panels/presentations that are essentially readings. We are writers, after all … and there is so much inspiring, startling, unusual and good work among us.

In honor of this sentiment, here are 5 “panels” where you can explore the “inspiring, startling, unusual, and good” being created by our fellow LGBTQ writers:

Queer Journeys: A Celebration of the University of Wisconsin Press’s 80th Anniversary

The University of Wisconsin Press has long been dedicated to publishing the strongest works of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction by and about LGBTQ writers. It has also shown an ongoing engagement with issues of travel. Join five UW Press authors as they read from their work in celebration of UW Press’s 80th anniversary, spotlighting its commitment to ethically engaged literature that explores how LGBTQ people move through our ever-changing world. Panelists: Raphael Kadushin, Alden Jones, Brian Bouldrey, Lucy Bledsoe, Guillermo Reyes

Details: Thursday, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm, Marquis Salon 7 & 8, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

Kaylie Jones Books: A Reading.

Kaylie Jones Books, an imprint of Akashic Books, was established in 2013 by writer Kaylie Jones, with the goal of publishing good books that take on subjects often overlooked by mainstream publishers. Since its inception, KJB has published nine books of fiction and nonfiction to critical acclaim, including Best Summer Read and an ALA award. Come hear four KJB authors read from recent work and talk with the publisher.  Panelists: Kaylie Jones, Patricia Smith, J Patrick Redmond, Barb Taylor, Laurie Lowenstein

Details:  Thursday, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm, Room 207A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two.  Save this to your facebook events pages here!

The House of RedBone: A 20th Anniversary Reading

Founded in 1997, Washington, DC–based RedBone Press publishes award-winning black gay and lesbian literature. RedBone authors are poets, playwrights, essayists, and fiction writers, all of them with some form of performance experience. Come celebrate twenty years of independent publishing with a sampling of literary work from four RedBone Press authors.  Panelists: Lisa C. Moore, Samiya Bashir, Sharon Bridgforth, Ana-Maurine Lara, G. Winston James

Details: Friday, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm, Liberty Salon L, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

51oiuodzdpl-_sx332_bo1204203200_A Reading and Conversation with Alexander Chee and Valeria Luiselli, Sponsored by Coffee House Press and Kundiman

Two award-winning writers will read from their work and join in conversation with National Book Foundation Executive Director Lisa Lucas. Chee is the Whiting Award winning author of Queen of the Night and a contributing editor at the New Republic. Luiselli is a 5 Under 35 honoree and the author of The Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize–winning The Story of My Teeth.  “Panelists”: Lisa Lucas, Valeria Luiselli, Alexander Chee

Details: Friday, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm, Ballroom C, Washington Convention Center, Level Three

Trans & Gender Nonconforming Author Reading

Award-winning transgender and gender nonconforming writers and poets bring you their newest and best work in this reading that jettisons tropes around queer and trans people to reveal an exciting and nuanced nascent trans literature. Pushing against convention, form, and your MFA workshop leader’s advice, these authors represent some of the best work across the country in a variety of genres including poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. A salon of transgender, transgenre work!  Panelists: Everett Maroon, Imogen Binnie, Trace Peterson, Kelli Dunham, Carter Sickels

Details: Saturday, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm, Monument, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

What to do? What to Do?: 5 Panels that Speak to Writerly Choices

Whenever we sit down to write, we make choices – What should we write about?  How should you write it?  Where should it be set?  Where should the story start?  Should the poem take on a specific form?

The more we write, the more the questions become compounded.  Queer writers, for example, may wonder about the nature of queering characters – must we always “queer” them?  Or are those characters “queer enough”?   Others may wonder about the “ethics and politics” of writing about family members, particularly when those family members are “politically vulnerable.”  And what about when you want to break away from your own identity and write outside your own race, gender, or ethnicities?   As one panel puts it, our personal “experiences (re)shape and complicate our writing both in terms of form and subject.”  The questions, as you can see, are seemingly endless.

Lucky for us that these 5 panels offer up some answers (or at least promise some insightful discussion!):

The Politics of Queering Characters

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Shameless plug: If you want to hear from your blog master in person, you know where to find me!

For queer writers, creating a queer character is a political act that involves conscious decisions and unexpected obstacles. How can we tell when our characters are too queer or not queer enough? What other complications may arise when we try to define our audience and their expectations? How do we choose to out ourselves and our characters in our work? This panel considers the politics of queering characters within fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry.  Panelists: Samantha Tetangco (that’s me!), Marisa P. Clark, Lisa D. Chavez, Lori Ostlund, Jervon Perkins

Details: Thursday, 10:30 am to 11:45 am, Marquis Salon 1 & 2, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

In the Box/Out of the Box: Writing With/Against Your Gender/Race/Ethnicity/Etc.

As fiction writers, we often feel pressure to write inside the confines our own experience, as defined by our ethnic identity, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, and so on. This panel explores the edges and interstices of that pressure. In what contexts is it acceptable to write outside such confines? In what contexts is it not? What does “diversity” mean when creating a fictional world? As writers, who has cultural permission to press past the confines of one’s own identity? Panelists: Bich Minh Nguyen Nguyen, Luis Alberto Urrea, Kelly Luce, Rob Spillman, Christian Kiefer

Details: Thursday, 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm, Room 202A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

Gender and Genre: How Do Our Prejudices Affect Our Preferences?

Do gender stereotypes influence literary tastes? Does a love poem from a male-identified poet seem more tender because it defies common gender assumptions? Does a critique from a female-identified writer feel more barbed for the same reason? What about writers whose identities or work blur society’s imposed gender distinctions? Join this panel as we explore whether we value writing more or less because of the perceived gender of the author, including how that may affect publishing decisions. Panelists: Jill McCabe Johnson, Kevin Clark, SJ Sindu, Viannah Duncan, Martha Amore.

Details: Saturday, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm, 2017 Marquis Salon 9 & 10, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two

Queering Masculinities

This cross-genre panel—comprised of writers who identify, previously identified, or live(d) as male—considers how we, as trans folk, gender nonconforming individuals, and/or cis men have experienced and challenged our relationships to masculinity. To explore how these experiences (re)shape and complicate our writing both in terms of form and subject, each panelist reads some pertinent work and comments on the roles their (dis)affiliations with masculinity played in shaping it. Panelists: Charlie Bondhus, Michael V. Smith, Jarrett Neal, CJ Southworth, Joy Ladin

Details: Saturday, 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm, Liberty Salon I, J, & K, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

Poets Mothering Otherwise: Race, Disability, Queerness

What are the ethics and politics of writing about our children when our families are politically vulnerable? Questions of censorship, privacy, and children’s rights resonate differently in poetry of witness or advocacy than in memoir or confessional work. As queer mothers, mothers of color, and mothers of children with disabilities, what do we refuse to write about our families? What may we, must we, share as poets of witness? And how do we tell the difference? Panelists: Joelle Biele, Amanda Johnston, Hoa Nguyen, Deborah Paredez, Lisa L Moore

Details: Saturday, 4:30 pm to 5:45 pm, Room 203AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

The Buried Seeds: 5 Panels About the Ignored, Unseen, or Historically Invisible

They tried to bury us.  They didn’t know we were seeds.

I saw this sign at the Oakland Women’s March on Saturday, and it has stuck with me since.  I’ve found myself repeating these words to myself over and over again.  There is power, I’ve understood, in that which others attempt to keep hidden.  As writers, we have the added advantage of letting those seeds sprout into story.  We put those stories on paper and add water.  We nurture the stories as they develop.  This is one of the great powers of story – through our words, we are able to endure, to rise, to grow.

If you are a member of this caucus, you probably understand what it means to be metaphorically buried.  But even within our sphere, there are groups that are less visible, whether because of a combination of othernesss or because the group operates in less traditional (and often invisible or less respected) forms.  From a panel about creating community outside of academia to another that hails “voices that have rarely been heard” to others about publishing these voices and their varied forms (and another about keeping those voices in print!), together, these 5 events highlight branches of our caucus everyone should check out!

Liberate Literature: Creating an Artistic Culture Outside of Academia

Academic affiliation is not an option for many people of color, economically poor, geographically isolated, or traditionally excluded groups. Panelists show how systems used for community organizing can be shifted to grassroots artistic organizing in the form of cultural centers, worker centers, readings, & workshops. Community building around art and literature creates a means of access for under-served communities. Attendees will leave with tangible solutions and plans for action.  Panelists: Jennifer Fitzgerald, Rodrigo Toscano, Rosalyn Spencer, Ailish Hopper, Rosebud Ben-Oni 

Details:  Thursday, 9:00 am to 10:15 am, Liberty Salon I, J, & K, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

Ensuring/Enduring Presence: Transgender People of Color—Artists, Editors, and Publishers

Trans artists/editors/publishers of color shepherd daily into the world innovative work that is highly crafted. Immersed in our present material conditions, decolonially reimagining our pasts and futures, temporally/geographically refiguring the wheres and whens of our storied bodies, responding to calls issued by our communities as we issue our own, this panel posits the possibilities of our presence, our generative genealogies, and the care with which we consider our compositional/communal praxis. Panelists: Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, Ryka Aoki, Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko, A.J. Alana Ka’imi Bryce, Max Wolf Valerio

Details:  Thursday, 3:00 pm to 4:15 pm, Room 102A, Washington Convention Center, Level One

 

Bringing LGBTQ Folk Forms into Our Literature

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I stole this cool image from their FB Group!  Visit HERE to add the panel as a FB event!

Zines, drag performance, oral history, feminist spoken word, and even 1950s and 1960s men’s physique magazines are among the folk forms that infuse LGBTQ writing. How can we reappraise these less celebrated forms and draw on them to energize the words we write today? This panel’s writers—invigorated by engagements around race, immigration, DIY, and queer punk ideologies, gender nonconformity, and other considerations—show how we can re-imagine and recast these vital forms in our own work. Panelists: Tom Cho, Derrick Austin, Juliana Delgado Lopera, Michelle Tea, Sassafras Lowrey

Details: Friday, 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm, Room 208AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

I Sing the Body Queer and Crip

Due to ableism, homophobia, and transphobia, the voices of LGBTQIA and disabled poets have rarely been heard. The panel I Sing the Body Queer and Crip will focus on the intersectionality of disability and queer poetics. Each panelist will read their poetry for five to seven minutes; then talk from five to seven minutes about their work. The remainder of the panel will be Q&A with the audience.  Panelists: Kathi Wolfe, Meg Day, Lydia X. Z. Brown, Raymond Luczak, Donna Minkowitz

Details: Saturday, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm, Room 207A, Washington Convention Center, Level Two

Recovering Out of Print Queer Literature

The publications of many important LGBTQ writers have fallen out of print and become inaccessible to readers today. This situation poses special challenges for LGBTQ authors published by small independent presses. As readers, editors, and publishers, how can we uncover and restore LGBTQ writing in danger of being lost? How can this work be brought to new readers’ attention? With our AWP audience, we will reflect on the recovery of this marginalized literary history, culture, and community.  Panelists: Philip Clark, Lisa C. Moore, Julie R. Enszer, Jan Freeman, Stephen Motika

Details: Saturday, 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm, Salon F, Washington Convention Center, Level One

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