The first (hopefully not the last) annual AWP off-site reading for Lambda LGBT Emerging Writers Fellows was held on February 28, at R Place in Seattle. A crowd of about 40, including but not limited to Fellows from 2008-2013, gathered together to reunite and hear readings from those who contributed introductions to 25 for 25,  An Anthology of Works by 25 Outstanding Contemporary LGBT Authors and Those They Inspired.

Ames Hawkins (2010 Nonfiction Fellow and co-editor to the anthology) and Brandy Wilson (2010 Fiction Fellow) co-hosted the event and read from the anthology and other work. They were in great company with fiction writer Monica Carter (2010/12 Fellow), poet Ching-In Chen (2008), poet Meg Day (2010), and poet Miguel Morales (2012/13), each of whom gave riveting performances, keeping the audience eager for more. 25 for 25, An Anthology of Works by 25 Outstanding Contemporary LGBT Authors and Those They Inspired.

Readers were introduced by giving their favorite queer moment of AWP–past and present. Meg Day offered that she was most excited by, “being tackled by Isaac Fitzgerald in the book room.” Miguel Morales made clear the importance of the Lambda community stating, “Having Tony Valenzuela place the LLF Emerging Fellows application in my hand. Could I get in? What would happen if I did?”

The crowd cheered in response, recognizing how these short moments have such a large impact upon our experience and lives, helping us feel at home, supported, acknowledged and among family. As a perfect example of the magic that happens at the Lambda Retreat, the evening provided a space to be oneself, a space to share and hear each other’s work, privileging that work, without unnecessary explanations or qualifications.

In addition to hearing these amazing writers read from their work, fellows were able to mingle and were afforded the wonderful opportunity to remember/ live again the life changing experience we all felt in attending the Lambda LGBT Emerging Fellows Retreat.

In the midst of a swarming sea of writers at AWP, it was great to find a queer haven full of talented writers. Special thanks go out to the Lambda Literary Foundation, Tony Valenzuela, R Place, and the fabulous fellows that made the evening a success. We hope the tradition will continue.

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  • Ron Fritsch

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