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The Writers’ Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices
By far one of the most important initiatives the Lambda Literary Foundation undertakes is to support our up-and-coming writers. In the long run, maybe it’s our most important job. We do so through The Writers’ Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices — this year in Los Angeles August 6-13. After 4 years of existence, our Retreat has earned a sterling reputation, and for good reason.
The Retreat is unlike any other writing program in the world. It’s the only residency established specifically for promising LGBT writers. Classes are taught by a brilliant and diverse faculty, themselves all successful LGBT writers. The sad truth is, many who want to come to the Retreat just can’t afford it.
By offering scholarships, we make sure that all the very best aspiring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender writers can attend. They need your support today. Your contribution to the Retreat Scholarship Fund is critical to the program’s continuing success.
The “Retreat” – a misnomer, really, since one student delighted in calling it a “queer writers’ boot camp” — gathers LGBT writers from every walk of life for one rigorous, immersive week. Lives are changed. Students arrive with manuscripts in hand, a novel or short story collection, a book of poetry or a memoir, a mystery or young adult novel that will soon extend the fabric of our literature.
At “boot camp” they polish their craft. They work on plot, develop more convincing characters and explore their own distinctive voices. Teaching is personalized. They gain a better understanding of what works and what might need re-working. Besides one-on-one instruction, students forge connections to publishing industry professionals, and most importantly, build a community of peers on whom they’ll depend for years of encouragement, inspiration and friendship.
A writer’s life is full of challenges. Lambda’s emerging voices Fellows come from big cities and rural towns all over America. In many of these places the LGBT community is still under a lot of pressure, subtle and not-so-subtle. When a writer is committed to our queer literary traditions — to stories of unconventional lives and social struggle, to girl-meets-girl and first gay love — work becomes so much harder in isolation.
A gift to the Scholarship Fund will give a talented LGBT writer a real chance for professional growth and personal achievement. Our Lambda Fellows go on to achieve an impressive record of publication and community involvement. They are both prolific artists and ambassadors of the literary arts.
Your generous donation to the Retreat Scholarship Fund will give these shining artists a leg up in their careers, and – not a small side benefit! – it will empower them as agents of social change. Remember, they’re the ones who’ll be telling our stories and continuing our fight for LGBT equality and freedom.
As the Foundation prepares to host the 23rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards next month in New York to honor the best LGBT books of the year, please help us cultivate the next generation of Lammy finalists and winners. You can make a direct, meaningful difference in the life of a writer by making a tax-deductible contribution to the Scholarship Fund.
All my best,
Want to know how important this really is? Listen to what some of our Fellows have had to say:
“Too many times in my life, I have felt shame for being who I am. I have felt shame for being a writer because in our society it has the stigma of someone who is selfish. I have felt shame for being queer because in our society being queer is ‘a choice’ and this implies that I could choose another way if only I weren’t so selfish. I have felt shame for being poor because in our society it seems more important to chase dollars than dreams. Being accepted and being able to attend the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Emerging Voices Writers Retreat changed my life.”
“It is a week that I will never forget filled with memories of new friendships, new ideas, and new community. The entire week I was there, I felt no shame. Instead, I felt pride, hope and happiness because I was one of the lucky ones chosen. …I felt accepted, nurtured and supported. … I felt rich with community, obligation, and honor. Your contributions and support made this all possible for me and others. I wanted to let you know that I am grateful. I am proud. I am a queer writer and a better one than I was a week ago because of you.”
“I don’t think I can ever thank you enough (as well as the scholarship donors, who helped this working class kid come in the first place), nor do I think you’d ever know how much Lambda means to young, queer writers like myself”
“My week in L.A. was nothing less than life-changing. I left feeling sad to leave such a great place…and to leave such a supportive group of friends. But today, about 3000 miles away, I feel optimistic about my writing and future and my place in a community..”
“Being a 2010 LLF Fellow at the Writers’ Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices has changed my life. Don’t worry, I haven’t evolved into a wild-eyed hermit with ink-smudged fingers and flayed strips of greasy hair sticking out of my head.
“Instead, I’ve grown into something extremely powerful and unique – an original voice. Discovering a distinct point of view that’s mine and mine alone, …After the past week, I can admit to myself the one thing I’ve never been able to before – I am a writer. There, I’ve finally come out.”