Writers Wo Chan, Nicole Shawan Junior, and LeKesha Lewis Join Lambda Literary
Author: Sue Landers
March 30, 2021
Lambda Literary is delighted to announce its new staff members: Wo Chan, Nicole Shawan Junior, and LeKesha Lewis.
On their hiring, Executive Director shared, “We are incredibly fortunate to have such brilliant and dynamic queer artists join Lambda to lead several of our most dynamic programs: the Lambda Literary Review, the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, and the Lammys.
Wo Chan (they/them) will become the next editor of the Lambda Literary Review, a comprehensive source for LGBTQ book reviews and news, visited by over a quarter million visitors annually. Wo shared, “I’m excited to bring my attention to the Lambda Literary Review and to Lambda’s many celebrated socials. Pitch your reviews, essays, spotlights, and interviews–let’s talk books on Twitter forever 📚 💕!”
Wo is a poet and drag performer. They are a winner of the 2020 Nightboat Poetry Prize and the author of TOGETHERNESS (2022). Wo has received fellowships from MacDowell, New York Foundation of the Arts, Kundiman, The Asian American Writers Workshop, Poets House, and Lambda Literary. Their poems appear in POETRY, WUSSY, Mass Review, No Tokens, and The Margins. As a member of the Brooklyn based drag/burlesque collective Switch N’ Play, Wo has performed at The Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA PS1, National Sawdust, New York Live Arts and elsewhere.
Nicole Shawan Junior
Nicole Shawan Junior (she/they) joins Lambda to lead the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices, the only writing residency in the country exclusively for emerging LGBTQ authors. Nicole attended the retreat as a Lambda Fellow in 2019. About the experience, she said, “In this space where queerness was law and gender was respected, every writer—emerging and emerged—inspired the next. Each workshop, panel, reading, conversation, connection left me undone. I’m thrilled to join Lambda Literary as its Programs Manager. I look forward to curating rigorous literary arts experiences that center craft and community through the Writer’s Retreat and other programs.”
Nicole is a cultural worker, community builder and counter-storyteller. Prior to joining Lambda Literary, Nicole founded Roots. Wounds. Words.—an organization that provides pedagogy, publication and performance opportunities to BIPOC storytellers. Nicole’s writing appears in The Feminist Wire, ZORA, Gay Mag, SLICE Magazine, Kweli Journal, Color Bloq, and elsewhere. A 2019 Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices fellow, Nicole has also received residencies and fellowships from Hedgebrook, PERIPLUS, NYFA, RADAR Productions and the San Francisco Public Library’s James C. Hormel LGBTQIA Center, and more. She is the editor in chief of Black Femme Collective, associate nonfiction editor at Slice Magazine, and has guest edited at The Rumpus.
LeKesha Lewis (she/her) will direct all aspects of the Lambda Literary Awards, the most prestigious prize in LGBTQ books. On the unique place the Lammys hold in our cultural landscape, LeKesha shared, “We have never lived in a time where LGBTQ+ authors and creators didn’t grant us their powerful insights and imaginations or impact us with their art. It’s truly a privilege to be involved with Lambda in a time where we can celebrate them openly, and I look forward to contributing to that work.”
LeKesha is an award-winning SF/F writer and editor, and serves as a founding creator, Art Director, and Project Manager for the World Fantasy Award-winning and Hugo Award-nominated FIYAH Literary Magazine. Other hats include service as the Grant Administrator for the Speculative Literature Foundation, FIYAHCON Director, Chair of the 56th Annual Nebulas Conference, and researcher for the LeVar Burton Reads podcast. She is the author of A Ruin of Shadows as well as a number of pieces of lauded and long-listed short fiction and poetry. She lives in Georgia with her coffee habit and an impressive Funko Pop! collection.
Lambda Literary will celebrate the 33rd Annual Lambda Literary Awards (aka “The Lammys”) online on June 1, 2021, at the organization’s first-ever virtual ceremony. Lambda’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices will be held in August 2021.