What do Dorothy Allison, Angelica Houston, Justin Torres, Don Giovanni, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Randall Kenan, Eduardo C. Corral, Elizabeth Sims, Jewell Gomes, you, and me have in common?  

If you can identify most of them, or better, all of them, you might wonder how you and I fit into this elite gathering of literati. Would you like to be associated with this community? You can by supporting those whose literary goals include someday joining this group.

Let me help you.

The Lambda Literary Foundation sponsors a Writers Retreat every summer. Each year we have more and more applications for the fifty spots at the Retreat. Those who are accepted as emerging writers and complete the program are forever distinguished as Lambda Fellows. This is an honor widely acknowledged in the literary community.

It is also helpful for their writing careers…for some, very helpful. Michael Nava, not only a Lambda Retreat faculty member in 2007 but also the six-time winner of the prestigious Lambda Literary Award has recently published his latest novel,

The City of Palaces, already winning high critical praise. The New York Times Book Review calls Michael “One of our Best.” The New York Times, my friend.

Did you read Justin Torres’ prominently reviewed and internationally honored We the Animals? Justin is a LLF Fellow who worked on his novel at the LLF Writers Retreat in 2007 under the tutelage of one of our most famous and loved lesbian writers, Dorothy Allison. I just threw in Angelica Houston to get your attention; I assume you could identify her. She hasn’t attended the Writers Retreat yet, but she did produce the film based on Allison’s classic, Bastard Out of CarolinaImagine how helpful it was to the other students in the workshop when their manuscripts, along with Justin’s, were reviewed by Dorothy Allison and Michael Nava.

You might have identified Jewell Gomez as the creator of poetry or drama or fiction or non-fiction, and discovered you are correct on any of those options. You may even have seen a recent production of her drama, Don Giovanni. Like Dorothy Allison, Jewell has been a faculty member at Lambda’s Writers Retreat. Although her focus at the 2012 Retreat was poetry, she also led an open discussion for the entire class on “Finding the Genre that is Right for You.” Amazingly, she has the skills to do that, and the generosity of spirit to work with emerging writers to inspire and educate them. This year, these writers will work with one of four accomplished LGBT authors in August: Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Randall Kenan, Eduardo C. Corral, or Elizabeth Sims.

Please join me in supporting our emerging writers by donating to the Retreat Scholarship Fund which makes it possible for aspiring writers to attend who could not otherwise afford to do so.

I am proud to say that I am a Lambda Fellow as well and a member of LLF’s Board of Trustees. I also continue to support the Writers Retreat as a donor.

I made friends at the Retreat that I am certain will remain my friends for the rest of my life, and am a part of a community of LGBT writers that never existed for me before my participation at the Retreat.

Please join me in supporting emerging LGBT writers by donating to the scholarship fund. And if you are an LGBT writer, please get your writing samples ready for the 2015 Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices application.  Put that on your Bucket List!

–Jan Zivic


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  • Michael Craft

One Response to “Jan Zivic”

  1. Elizabeth Sims 4 April 2014 at 4:43 PM #

    Am honored to be in such esteemed company. Very nice post, Jan. I’ll continue to spread the word about the Foundation. Looking forward to the retreat this summer.



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