Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices: 2016 Information and Application

Lambda Literary believes Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer literature is fundamental to the preservation of our culture, and that LGBTQ lives are affirmed when our stories are written, published and read.

The Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices is the first program of its kind ever offered to LGBTQ writers: a one-week intensive workshop immersion in fiction, genre fiction, nonfiction, playwriting or poetry. An unparalleled opportunity to learn from the very best writers in the LGBT community, Lambda’s Writers Retreat is open to emerging LGBTQ writers of any age and from any country.

To insure the quality of Lambda Literary’s Writers Retreat, applicants will be screened. Space is limited to 12 students per workshop. Some publication history is desirable but not required. Ability to pay fees will in no way be part of the selection process.  Scholarships are available.


January 5 Applications in Fiction, Nonfiction, Young Adult Fiction, Poetry and Playwriting due by or before January 5, 2016.
March 1 Acceptances will be emailed on or before this date. Scholarship recipients are notified. Acceptance package includes full details on housing, transportation, and schedule.
April 1 A nonrefundable deposit of $350 is due to reserve your spot in the Writers Retreat.
June 1 Second installment of $350 is due (or balance on fees).
July 17 Final payment due.
July 24 Travel day: Writers Retreat begins.
July 31 Travel day: Writers Retreat ends.


Fiction Workshop — Andrew Holleran
Nonfiction Workshop — Sarah Schulman
Playwriting Workshop — Robert O’Hara
Poetry Workshop — Joy Ladin
Young Adult Fiction Workshop — Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Past faculty have included Dorothy Allison, Jewelle Gomez, Alex Sanchez, Claire Carmichael, Nicola Griffith, Ellen Bass, Bernard Cooper, Elana Dykewomon, Katherine V. Forrest, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Cris Beam, Ellery Washington, Carla Trujillo, Eloise Klein Healy, Fenton Johnson, Michael Nava, D.A. Powell, Samual Delany, Sarah Schulman, Malinda Lo, David Groff, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Elizabeth Sims, Randall Kenan, Eduardo C. Corral, Justin Torres, Linda Villarosa, Cherrie Moraga, Kazim Ali, Sara Ryan and John Rechy, among others.


Scholarships are available.  Lambda Literary provides personalized fundraising pages to all incoming students to help you raise your fees.

*Please note that all students are required to stay on campus.  Commuting is not allowed.

TUITION ($850): Covers workshops with faculty, all readings, lectures, and presentations by guest faculty.

ROOM & BOARD ($800): Housing and meals begin with dinner on Sunday, July 24 and conclude after breakfast on Sunday, July 31, 2016. Prices include three meals per day. We will make every effort to accommodate dietary restrictions. Standard rooms are two bedroom apartments with double occupancy in each room, air-conditioned with private bath.

PRIVATE ROOM (additional expense): Single bedrooms in shared apartments (of 2 people) are available on a limited basis and at an additional expense of $200.  Single apartments are available at an additional expense of $400.


THE CAMPUS: University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles

TRANSPORTATION: USC is nearest Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)


The application to attend the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices is online below. Before you begin, please prepare the answers to the longer questions in another place so you can copy and paste them into the application (and so you won’t accidentally lose them).  You cannot save an application in process.  Here is a list of what you should prepare:

For All Workshop Applications:

  1. List of publications: Please list any publications of your work during the past two years, including anthologies, literary journals, magazines, websites, and books. Publications are not required for acceptance. (Max: 1,000 words)
  2. Artistic/Biographical Statement: Please tell us about yourself, what project you’re working on, and why and how the Writers Retreat would be helpful to you. (Max: 1,000 words)
  3. Writing Sample: Attach a writing sample in DOC, RTF, or PDF format. For Fiction, Nonfiction, or Genre: 25 pages maximum (standard manuscript format preferred). For Playwriting, a 10-page excerpt/2,000 words from a full-length work, short play or piece of theatre. For Poetry: 10 pages maximum. The sample should match the workshop to which you are applying, meaning please send a fiction sample for the Fiction Workshop, a Nonfiction sample for the Nonfiction workshop, etc.

For Scholarship Applications:

  1. Scholarship Statement: Please tell us how a scholarship will enable you to attend the program. (Max: 1,000 words)
  2. Personal Budget: Please list your monthly income and expenses.
  3. Financial Documents: Please attach proof of income materials, such as a pay stub or tax return. These materials should be scanned as a PDF. If you cannot scan the materials, you can take hi-res photos of the documents with your camera phone. The full document must be legible. Max file size is 2MB. If photos are not an option, please mail hard copies to: LAMBDA LITERARY, 5482 Wilshire Boulevard #1595 Los Angeles, CA 90036.

For Anthology Editorship Scholarship Applications:

Lambda Literary offers a full scholarship including tuition, room & board (not travel) to applicants interested in the position of Editor of the Fellows Anthology. Only one Editor will be chosen. The annual e-book anthology showcases writing by participants of the Emerging Writers Retreat to be published in the first quarter of the following year. Duties include creating a publication timeline, collecting submissions from workshop participants, editing and asking for rewrites, collecting bios, writing an introduction and bibliography, and creating an edited, final, error free copy. The Editor does not need experience with the technical aspects of building an e-book.  If you are applying to the editor scholarship, it is highly recommended you also apply for a regular scholarship in the event you do not get the editor position.

  1. Cover Letter: Please tell us why you would like to receive the Anthology Editorship Scholarship and please highlight any relevant experience. (Max: 1,000 words)
  2. Resume/CV: Attach your resume/CV in DOC, RTF, or PDF format. 2MB maximum file size.

Application Fee

There is an application fee of $25 for each workshop to which you are applying. Please pay online or send a check/money order payable to: Lambda Literary Foundation, 5482 Wilshire Blvd #1595, Los Angeles, CA 90036. This fee may not be waived. If you apply to more than one workshop, each application requires a fee.

If you have any questions, please contact Kyle Sawyer, Program Coordinator, at admin@lambdaliterary.org.