- Writers Retreat
- Writers in School
- OUR SUPPORTERS
We are thrilled to introduce to you the 2012 class of the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices. Hailing from three countries and 16 U.S. states (and from as far away as England!), these poets, fiction and nonfiction writers will spend July 28 – August 4 in Los Angeles for a week that is guaranteed to be transformational to their literary careers. These emerging writers are among the LGBT community’s most gifted and will be working on their book projects-in-progress with this year’s exceptional Retreat faculty: Dorothy Allison (Fiction), Cris Beam (Nonfiction), Jewelle Gomez (Poetry) and Alex Sanchez (Young Adult Fiction).
Learn more about LLF’s Emerging Writers Fellows by reading their bios below. Please support these talented writers today by making a donation to the Writers Retreat Scholarship Fund. You will also find links at the end of some emerging writers’ bios where you can donate toward their personal fundraising efforts.
Alysia Angel is a southern-bred Lakota, and a working class queer high femme. She is self-published in chapbooks entitled “what i do when you’re not looking”. She is also published in Femme Family zine, Salacious Magazine, Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love & Fashion, Bay Woof Magazine, Cactus Heart Magazine, Curve Magazine, Say Please, a Cleis Press anthology, and is a 2011 and 2012 Lambda Literary Fellow. www.alysiaangel.com
Kevin Brannon is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas. He moved to New York City in 2002 following two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Estonia. His experiences writing about LGBT communities of faith in Manhattan and the Bronx as a student at the Columbia Journalism School have informed his interest in the intersection of race, religion and sexuality in American culture. These themes have also provided the focus for his studies as an MA candidate in English, also at Columbia. Kevin began work on his first novel in the winter of 2011 after a long hiatus from fiction writing. He is also an avid movie-goer and an unrepentant consumer of crime and suspense fiction.
Jade Brooks is a writer, editor, and activist who lives in Durham, NC. She does work for make/shift magazine, Duke University Press, Southerners on New Ground, and other brave folk here in the South. She comes from the blackberry wilds of Oregon.
Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Monica Carter currently resides in Los Angeles, California where she recently finished the PEN Center USA’s Mark program for Emerging Voices alumni. A PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow 2010 and a Lambda Literary Foundation Emerging GLBT Voice 2010, her fiction has appeared in Strange Cargo, An Emerging Voices Anthology, The Rattling Wall, and the current Spring issue of Bloom. She is finishing her novel, In the Life, and a collection of short stories. She is accepting believers at www.monicacarterthewriter.com.
Bryan Castille is a fiction writer from St. Louis, Missouri. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Upernavik Artist Residency in Greenland and from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He’s currently working on a novel.
Cheraé Clark is a recent graduate from the University of Kansas where she studied English and French. Though she is a Kansas native, she was greatly influenced by living in England for two years, where she developed a penchant for accent imitation. Over summers, she helps teach English and creative writing to gifted youth in middle and high school and she moonlights as a personal trainer. She’ll spend her newfound freedom writing and finding ways to help teens in Kansas City find creative emotional outlets. She’s been published in KU literary magazines Comma, Splice and Kiosk and has presented her stories on masculine-of-center queers at KU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Kenny Kruse is a first-generation Utahn from Park City. He is currently getting his MFA at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where drivers do not use blinkers. He is a classical pianist and avid swimmer and has a rare condition in which his body is unable to conserve water. His spirit animal is Wolf. When not writing postcards, he might be working on his novel, essays, fictions, or poems. His work can be found in Neon, SOFTBLOW, and Artichoke Haircut.
Nancy Agabian is a nonfiction writer and performer based in Queens, New York. She is the author of Princess Freak (Beyond Baroque Books), a collection of poetry and performance texts on sexuality and rage, and the Lambda Literary Award-nominated Me as her again (aunt lute books), a memoir about the influence of her Armenian family’s dark history on her bisexual coming-of-age. A Fulbright scholar to Armenia in 2006-07, she is currently working on “The Fear of Large and Small Nations”, a nonfiction novel about the contradictions between political ideals and personal liberation in the fight for social change. nancyagabian.com
Sailor Holladay is a writer, artist, and teacher living in San Francisco while pursuing an MFA Creative Writing Nonfiction degree at Mills College in Oakland. Sailor’s writing and art have appeared in Gay Genius comics anthology, When Language Runs Dry #3, The Encyclopedia Project Vol. F-K, Chronotopia at the 2010 National Queer Arts Festival, Colony Collapse Disorder Radio, Enough.org, Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing up Working Class, and elsewhere.
Karman Johnson-Vega is a credentialled Teacher Librarian serving two high schools in California. She spent three decades instructing an award-winning Fine Art and Graphic Design program for high school and college students. She is also a survivor of a violent crime, an experience which informs both her art and her writing. Karman believes she lived in order to tell her story to help others facing similar challenges. She is a recipient of the Wayne Thiebauld Undergraduate Fellowship in Art at University of California Riverside, where she earned a Bachelors degree in studio art and art history. She also holds a Masters Degree in Library Information Science from San Jose State University. She owns a home with her partner, Roz, that they share with a Rottweiller, and three tiny toy poodles. www.facebook.com/KarVega.AuthorIllustrator
Nikkya Martin is a mom, a wife, and a writer currently working on creating and publishing her first work, a memoir. Her memoir chronicles her life from birth to her journey through parenting with her wife, Dinushka. She lives in Stamford, Connecticut and is passionate about making a difference in the world not only through her writing but also in her professional life. She is a graduate from Bard College with a BA in Humanities, and she also has a Masters in Counseling from Mercy College. Nikkya and her family recently moved to Connecticut from New York. When not writing, Nikkya can be found perusing Connecticut real estate, reading, and deepening her spirituality through yoga and church. Her motto in life is: the mind is a fragile organ, we must water it with positive thoughts, happiness, and nurturing people.
Julian Shendelman is an aspiring memoirist who spends most of his time talking about food, having existential crises, and fixing his hair. Having graduated from Mills College with a degree in Queer Studies in 2011, he now spends his days assembling sandwiches in Philadelphia, journaling extensively, and plotting his return to Oakland to pursue an M.A. in Human Sexuality Studies at SFSU. Julian has published poems in The Walrus, displayed photographs in San Francisco, and screened videos in The Netherlands, Germany, and of course, the Bay Area. You can find his photography at queerlens.tumblr.com and his writing at ashandbone.tumblr.com.
Ennis Smith is an MFA graduate of the New School’s creative writing program, where his work won him the National Arts Club Literary Scholarship in Nonfiction. His memoir piece, The Super with the Toy Face, was published in the anthology New York: Lost and Found (WW Norton, Thomas Beller, editor); another memoir piece, The Rapunzel Effect, was recognized as an outstanding work of nonfiction by In Our Own Write. Other publications: Boys in the City (Bruno Gmünder Verlag GMBH, publishers), the literary journal Ganymede; Attitude: The Dancer’s Magazine, where he’s been an associate editor and dance critic since 2006. For his volunteer work with LIFEBEAT/Musicians Against AIDS, Ennis was the featured subject on PBS’s In the Life. He currently teaches writing at SUNY Empire State College in New York.
Erika Turner is an awkwardblackgirl with strong feminist leanings and a love for people of any gender. She was raised in Las Vegas and studies in Massachusetts with the full intention of returning to her birthplace of California. Erika has written columns for QWOC Media Wire and is a 2011 Point Scholar. She is usually a writer of short stories but also enjoys writing essays, memoir pieces, and terrible poetry. Sometimes a femme but always fabulous, Erika spends most of her time wishing she could be a host on HGTV and staring blankly into her refrigerator. She is currently interning as a PR agent.
Nic Alea is a poet based in San Francisco. They received their BA in creative writing from San Francisco State University. They co-host a bi-monthly reading series called New Poetry Mission focusing on the production of new work. They co-facilitate a creative writing workshop at Solano Juevnile Detention Center and perform at various reading series around the Bay Area. Nic has self published three chapbooks, Arcana, P.S. Crater Face was Here, and This Crumbled Bell Tower. Their work has appeared in the Evergreen Review, >kill author, and the Minetta Review. Nic is a crafter, a tarot card reader, and will be working on their manuscript, Things We’ll Never Speak Of, while at Lambda.
Megan Backer is a queer poet and spoken word artist from Rochester, NY. Upstate New York’s inclement weather has forced her into the seclusion of academia where she teaches English and Women’s Studies at the SUNY College at Brockport. She most recently participated in the Juniper Writing Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Ever-dutiful in the “publish or perish” realm, shortly after she received her MA in Creative Writing, her work will be published in the upcoming literary anthology Off the Rocks.
Vanesa Evers is currently an MFA Poetry Candidate at Sarah Lawrence College, Class of 2013. Her writing challenges stagnant and “conservative” paradigms. Through her poetry, she frees her readers/listeners. There is nothing that can’t be written.
Bridget Birdsall (MFA Vermont College) author, teacher, queer-loving salad-bar spiritualist seeks to connect hearts with words and art. Bridget made a mid-life decision to overcome dyslexic challenges and pursue her passion for writing, especially Young Adult (YA) lit and poetry. Today, she is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships. Her YA novel August Atlas, about the challenges facing an intersexed teen, is seeking a publisher under the representation of the Jonathan Lyon’s Literary Agency. Her debut novel, Ordinary Angels, a story about siblings surviving the death of a sibling is available at Amazon.com. Her BirdSpeak blog is at: bridgetbirdsall.wordpress.com
Jef Blocker works as a recruiter for a non-profit and as Store Manager at Bound To Be Read Books in East Atlanta Village. His short fiction, essays, and poetry have won several writing contests. Jef participated in the Perfect Pitch at the 2004 and 2006 Atlanta Film Festivals. He’s a graduate of Orson Scott Card’s 2011 Literary Boot Camp, and was a finalist in the 2012 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. Jef writes a humor blog at www.CultofJef.com. He’s the 17th biggest Bananarama fan in the world and frequently does his cat’s evil bidding.
Christina Clover is a femme writer from England. She is currently completing a MA degree at the prestigious Bath Spa University and hopes to embark on a PHD course next year. She is working on “Riding the Line,” a Young Adult novel which introduces a teenaged girl coming to terms with her sexuality, after experiencing a devastating crush on an older woman. Christina has a young daughter and a house filled with pets. She has travelled around Europe and Africa, and is looking forward to extending her lesbian arms to the United States.
Lydia Eato Harris, a diary/journal writer from the age of seven, draws on her eclectic life experiences to energize her fiction writing. Born on Long Island, she has written, sang, and worked her way through Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, and Florida where she lives with her husband and her partner. Lydia has a Bachelor’s and two Master’s degrees. She particularly enjoyed her seventeen years in Alaska. She also enjoyed her time in Oregon’s high plateau desert as “Motorcycle Mama” working with veterans and children. She’s a reviewer of Young Adult fiction for Lambda Literary Online.
Miguel M. Morales lives in Kansas and embraces his farmworker/child laborer past. As a journalist, he earned the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award. Miguel serves on the Latino Writers Collective board and is featured in its anthologies: Primera Página: Poetry from the Latino Heartland and Cuentos del Centro: Stories from the Latino Heartland. His work also appears on the Latino Literature website, La Bloga; in From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction; and in the forthcoming To the Stars Through Difficulty: 2012 Kansas Renga and Joto: An Anthology of Queer Ch/Xicano Poetry. Learn more at TrustMiguel.com
Rachel Pepper is the author of several nonfiction books including the recently released anthology, Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children (Cleis, 2012). She is the long standing book editor of Curve magazine and an award winning, widely published journalist. Having recently gone back to school to get her Master’s degree in counseling, Rachel is also an MFT Intern practicing in the Bay Area, specializing in the mental health needs of the transgender, LGB, and transitional age youth communities. Rachel is currently working on her first young adult novel.