Next month I’ll be leading a week-long fiction workshop for the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Emerging Voices Retreat. Here are the people I’ll be teaching:
|Monica Carter, a 2010 PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow, has been published in Black Clock #12 and Pale House II. She is working on her novel, Eating the Apple, set in 1930’s Manhattan which tells the story of an aging, alcoholic lesbian writer caught in a love triangle.|
|Traci Castleberry lives in Tucson with her Lipizzan mare Carrma and writes M/M romance as Nica Berry. She’s writing a fantasy novel set in Edo-era Japan in which a female role-actor with multiple personalities falls in love with a healer who possesses a power society doesn’t want him to have.|
|Marisela Chavez works as a Writing Specialist at the San Antonio Community College Writing Center and as a freelance writer and editor. Currently, Chavez is working on a novel set in New Mexico, her home state. She lives in San Antonio with her partner Sarah.|
|Dario Dalla Lasta (aka DJ Dario Speedwagon) spins for queers all over New York City and also performs legal work for Broadway shows. He self-published the erotic novel The Three Red Lines last year and is working on a second book with a sci-fi bent entitled The Force of Destiny.|
|Chuck Forester, returning LLF Retreat Fellow. Chuck is a Wisconsin raised, East Coast educated, San Francisco resident since 1971. He’s a writer, poet, memoirist and novelist. Active in local and national GLBT community, Chuck has bee partnered five years with John Cadle.|
|Liz Demi Green is a writer, performer, and community college educator based in Oakland, California. A graduate of Vassar and Mills, she is a playwright, a poetry slam champion, and a prose stylist. She is at work on her first novel, The Ella Verse (LGBT Young Adult SciFi).|
|Mark Hardy’s debut novel, Nothing Pink, is on the American Library Association’s 2009 Rainbow List and currently being adapted for the stage. After years of work in New York City Public Schools, Mark now teaches second grade in North Carolina.|
|Billie Mandel is a fire-breathing femme novelist, transported half a lifetime ago from New York to the Bay Area. Excerpts from her novel-in-progress, tentatively titled The Possibility, have been previewed at the National Queer Arts Festival, Ladyfest Litfest, and SFinX.|
|Jarrett Neal earned an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA in English from Northwestern University. A writer of fiction, poetry, essays and screenplays, he has just completed his first novel, A Dangerous Man. He lives in Oak Park, IL.|
|Eric Nguyen is a writer from Maryland. He is currently working on a short story collection.|
|Steven Tagle is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker. He has been published in Spork and The Rumpus, and his documentaries have aired on Current TV. He is currently finishing his first novel, a coming-of-age story about a high school shapeshifter.|
|Dr. Brandy T. Wilson was a fiction finalist for the 2007 Astraea Lesbian Writers Award. Her work has been featured in Ninth Letter and From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction. She lives in North Dakota with her partner and is completing her first novel.|
Why am I telling you all this? So that you can help, of course.
This economy sucks. It’s especially tough on artists. You can double that trouble for emerging artists. Triple it for emerging queer artists. It’s hard to believe in yourself and your work when you don’t, quite, have enough money to cover bills. When you’re living in isolation. When you’re committed to writing and you’re writing night and day and all your friends are saying, “So why isn’t your book in Barnes and Noble yet?” And if your laptop or your car breaks down, you’re screwed. Than along comes this once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend a week with people just like you–queer writers figuring out how to make it work, somehow–a chance to learn and to build community for a lifetime. Only there’s time off work to be covered, and travel, and food, and the cost of a room…and suddenly you don’t know if it’s possible.
These writers are paying as much as they can. LLF has persuaded Amazon.com to help with a generous grant. The rest is up to the queer community and to the writing community. Five years from now, ten years from now, do you want new voices telling you new stories? Do you want to pick up a novel and fall into it, to see your life differently, just for a little while? Do you want to know you’ve helped a new generation bring their fresh perspective to the world?
Then contribute to LLF’s scholarship fund: $5, $50, $500, it’s all good. And remember there are poetry fellows and non-fiction fellows to support, too: thirty-three Emerging Voices getting ready to speak their truth. Look at their faces. We all need what they have to say. Please help.