In August the Lambda Literary Foundation will hold it’s fifth Emerging Voices writers’ workshop/retreat for quiltbag writers. (LLF uses the term LGBT but I prefer quiltbag, a word I’ve been using for five or six years* because, frankly, it’s just a hell of a lot easier to say than “L,G,B,T”. And it’s more inclusive. For more on this see a recent piece by Julia Rios.)

I’ve taught the fiction workshop at the Emerging Voices retreat** because I believe that it’s vital we nurture our voices. If you can spare any money, please give to LLF now. Your gift will support students directly. You’ll feel fantastic, you’ll be making a huge difference in some individual’s life, and you’ll be growing our culture. It’s simple: without support from you, none of this is possible. Queer books save queer lives. Please take a moment to read Tony Valenzuela’s thoughts on the matter:

Emerging writers need professional instruction and mentoring. They need to learn the basics, including writing query letters, finding an agent, using social media, and understanding trends in a publishing industry still in transformation. They need all of these tools – and more. They need a community of supportive mentors and peers committed to sharing the LGBT experience in a publishing environment that doesn’t always feel welcoming of our stories.

Lambda’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices provides participants with all of this. Entering its fifth year, the Writers Retreat – July 28 to August 4 in Los Angeles – is unlike any other writing program in the world, the only residency specifically for promising LGBT writers. The Retreat is a one-of-a-kind experience that combines rigorous instruction from teachers who are also leading writers, and a veritable fellowship of peer support. This year’s extraordinary faculty includes Dorothy Allison who will teach the Fiction workshop; Alex Sanchez, Young Adult Fiction; Cris Beam, Nonfiction; and Jewelle Gomez, Poetry.

Applying to the Retreat is a daunting task for many emerging writers who simply can’t afford the tuition. Yet they may be among the most promising of our future writers. You can make it possible for them to attend. Your gift to the Retreat Scholarship Fund can advance their future, and ours.

After four successful years of offering the Writers Retreat, this is what we know about our graduating Fellows. They’re deeply committed to their lives as writers and to telling our stories as LGBT people. They give back to their communities as influential leaders, outspoken advocates, and inspiring artists. They’re prolific writers with an impressive record of publishing.

With your help we can offer scholarships and, together, invest in our literary community’s future by making sure the most talented lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender writers attend. For this reason, your tax-deductible contribution to the Retreat Scholarship Fund is crucial to the program’s success.

You can make a direct, meaningful difference in the life of a writer by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Retreat Scholarship Fund today. Consider funding a full scholarship of $1650 (tuition, room and board) to bring a talented emerging writer to Los Angeles this summer. Please give whatever you can – $50, $100, $250 – and NOTE: every dollar will go directly to our community’s most promising writers!

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Thank you for your support. We could not do this work without you. It is that simple.

* I used it a lot in email, though because of various hard drive failures over the years (before Dropbox, sigh) the earliest example I can find is in this essay, “War Machine, Time Machine,” written in 2007.
** My account of that week is “Fire in their bellies and mouths filled with light.”