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Amazon.com Renews $25,000 Grant to Lambda Literary’s
Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices
Continues its support of the world’s premier LGBTQ writers residency
Lambda Literary, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization advancing LGBTQ literature, is pleased to announce the renewal of a grant of $25,000 from Amazon.com for a sixth year in a row, a continuation of Amazon.com’s support for the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. This year’s Retreat will be held June 22nd through June 29th, 2015 on the campus of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.
Lambda Literary’s Writers Retreat is the only residency in the world established specifically for talented, emerging LGBTQ writers. Since 2007 when the program began, Lambda has graduated over 300 Fellows from its summer Retreat. For one rigorous, immersive week, Retreat students in fiction, genre fiction, nonfiction, poetry – and beginning summer 2015, playwriting – work on their manuscripts or plays in small, individualized classes, gain mentorships, forge critical connections to publishing industry professionals, and build a community of peers on whom they’ll depend for years of encouragement, inspiration and friendship.
“Amazon.com’s generous grants have helped the Writers Retreat establish a stellar reputation nationwide as we aim to give a leg up to our community’s most talented up-and-coming writers,” said Tony Valenzuela, Lambda Literary’s Executive Director. “Amazon.com’s support reflects its commitment to nurturing emerging voices in the LGBTQ community.”
“Amazon is thrilled to continue its support for Lambda’s one-of-a-kind retreat, which offers talented LGBTQ writers a rare opportunity to receive rigorous mentoring from some of the finest writers working today,” said Neal Thompson, manager of Author & Publishing Relations for Amazon.com. “More than just helping emerging writers tell their stories, the retreat helps develop the building blocks of a writing career.”
Amazon.com’s $25,000 grant is a significant contribution to the mission of Lambda Literary. As in years past, the grant will enable promising emerging writers to participate through scholarship funds. Without a scholarship, many students would not otherwise be able to attend the Retreat in Los Angeles. Amazon.com’s support ensures that these talented writers can confirm their spot in a workshop.
The Writers Retreat provides an unparalleled opportunity to learn from the very best writers in the LGBTQ community. This year’s main faculty:
Justin Torres (Fiction Workshop) is author of the best-selling novel We the Animals, which won the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and has been translated into fifteen languages. He has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Tin House, The Washington Post, Glimmer Train, Flaunt, and other publications, as well as non-fiction pieces in publications like The Guardian and The Advocate. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and most recently a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard. The National Book Foundation named him one of 2012’s 5 Under 35. He has been the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Rolón Fellowship in Literature from United States Artists, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. He currently teaches at Columbia University, Lesley University’s Low Residency MFA Program, and The Writers’ Foundry MFA Program at St. Joseph’s College. Justin is currently a 2014-2015 Cullman Center Fellow at The New York Public Library.
Linda Villarosa (Nonfiction Workshop) is a journalist, author, editor, novelist and college professor. She runs the journalism program at the City College of New York in Harlem and teaches writing and media studies. For several years, she edited the health pages of The New York Times and later spent six years as a contributing New York Times reporter. As the executive editor of Essence Magazine she wrote or edited a number of award-winning articles. Linda has also contributed to Glamour, Health, Latina, Ms., O Magazine and Vibe. She writes for The Root, Slate, AfterEllen and The Amsterdam News. Near the start of the AIDS epidemic, as a beginning reporter for Essence, Linda wrote the first article to examine HIV/AIDS in an ethnic publication. A number of years later, two of her stories on African-Americans and HIV/AIDS appeared on the front page of The New York Times. Linda has authored/co-authored a number of books, including Body & Soul: The Black Women’s Guide to Physical Health and Emotional Well-Being, which sold over 200,000 copies. Her first novel, Passing for Black, was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. Most recently, she wrote autobiographical essays for the anthologies Here Come the Brides and The Letter Q.
Sara Ryan (Genre Fiction Workshop) is the author of the YA novels Empress of the World (Lambda Literary Award finalist, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Oregon Book Award winner, Booklist Top Ten Teen Romance) and The Rules for Hearts (Oregon Book Award winner, Junior Library Guild selection), and the graphic novel Bad Houses (TIME Magazine Top Ten Graphic Novels & Comics of 2013, USA Today Best of 2013 Comics & Graphic Novels). Her shorter comics include the Eisner Award finalist “Me and Edith Head.” She lives in Portland, Oregon with a cartoonist and a cat, and works as the Teen Services Specialist for Multnomah County Library.
Kazim Ali (Poetry Workshop) is currently on the faculty of Oberlin College where he is associate professor of Creative Writing and Comparative Literature and the Director of the Creative Writing Program. His volumes of poetry include Sky Ward, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry, The Far Mosque, The Fortieth Day, and the poetic memoir Bright Felon, Autobiography and Cities which was finalist for the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry, the Lantern Award in Memoir and the Asian American Literary Award. He has also published the novels Quinn’s Passage, named one of the Best Books of 2005 by Chronogram, and The Disappearance of Seth and Wind Instrument. He is the author of three collections of essays, Orange Alert: Essays on Poetry, Art and the Architecture of Silence, Resident Alien: On Border Crossing and the Undocumented Divine, and Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice. He is the translator of Water’s Footfall and Oasis of Now: Selected Poems, both by Sohrab Sepehri, as well as the novel L’Amour by Marguerite Duras. He is the founding editor of the small press Nightboat Books as well as the Series Editor for the Poets on Poetry Series from the University of Michigan Press.
Cherríe Moraga (Playwriting Workshop) is playwright, poet, and essayist whose plays and publications have received national recognition, including: a TCG Theatre Artist Residency Grant, the NEA’s Theatre Playwrights’ Fellowship, two Fund for New American Plays awards, the Pen West Award, a Drama-logue and Critic Circles Award, two Gerbode-Hewlett Playwrights Collaboration Awards, and several Creative Work Fund and MAP Fund Grants. In 2007, she was awarded the United States Artist Rockefeller Fellowship for Literature (Drama) and is a recipient of The American Studies Association Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013, she received the “Pioneer” Award from Lambda Literary. Moraga is the co-editor of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, which won the Before Columbus American Book Award in 1986. She is the author of several titles, including Waiting in the Wings – Portrait of a Queer Motherhood (Firebrand, 1997). In 2011, Duke University Press published her most recent essay collection, A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness: Writings 2000-2010. Her three volumes of drama are published through West End Press of Albuquerque, New Mexico. They include: Heroes and Saints and Other Plays; Watsonville/Circle in the Dirt; and, The Hungry Woman. A Bay Area playwright, Moraga plays have been developed and presented in San Francisco and throughout the Southwest, as well as in Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle and New York. In 1995, “Heart of the Earth,” Moraga’s adaptation of the Maya Popol Vuh, premiered at the Public Theatre. Her most recent play, NEW FIRE-To Put Things Right Again (with visual artist, Celia Herrera Rodríguez), had its world premiere at Brava Theater Center in January 2012, where over 3,000 people witnessed the work in its 10-day run. For over 15 years, Moraga has served as Artist in Residence in Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University, with a joint appointment in Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity. She is a founding member of La Red Xicana Indígena, a network of Xicanas working in education, the arts, and international organizing.
Distinguished guest faculty, whose names will be announced at a later date, will also present workshops and lectures.
Lambda Literary is one of a diverse range of not-for-profit organizations receiving support from Amazon.com for programs dedicated to developing new writers and creating and publishing new works. Other recipients include:
The Kenyon Review, One Story, Writegirl, Narrative Magazine, Copper Canyon, The Loft Literary Center, Seattle Arts & Lectures, Pen American Center, the New York Writers Coalition, National Novel Writing Month, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, Hedgebrook, 826 Seattle, the Alliance for Young Artist and Writers, Girls Write Now, Public Space, Slice, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Bomb, Brooklyn Book Festival, Words Without Borders, The Moth, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, Milkweed Editions, Coffee House Press, Graywolf Press, The Moth, Clarion West, Center for the Art of Translation, Shared Worlds, the Center for Fiction, Archipelago Books and the Asian American Writers Workshop. All of these organizations share Amazon.com’s dedication to fostering the creation, discussion, and publication of new writing and new authors. Learn more at www.amazon.com/authorgrants.