Introducing Lambda’s 2015 Emerging Writers Retreat Fellows
Author: Tony Valenzuela
March 30, 2015
The 2015 class of the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices will spend a week in Los Angeles, June 22–29, 2015 working on their manuscripts in workshops led by some of our community’s leading LGBT authors/mentors. Read about these talented up-and-coming writers below and, please, consider donating to their individual fundraising campaigns to attend the Retreat, or to the general scholarship fund. Congratulations to our incoming students!
This year’s workshops are: FICTION, NONFICTION, POETRY, GENRE FICTION, AND PLAYWRITING
FICTION – FACULTY: JUSTIN TORRES
Emma Copley Eisenberg writes fiction, nonfiction, and journalism. She has an MFA in fiction from the University of Virginia and a BA from Haverford College. She can be found in Charlottesville, VA, or moonlighting in Pocahontas County, WVa, Chelsea, and West Philadelphia. Her work has appeared in Gulf Coast, The New Republic, Salon, The Rumpus, Autostraddle, Cutbank, Five Chapters, and others, and has won awards from Narrative and The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. Say hello @EmmaEisenberg.
Keith Jarrett lives in London, UK. Former UK poetry slam champion and Rio de Janeiro International Poetry Slam Winner 2014, he writes performance poetry and short fiction and teaches as part of a pioneering Spoken Word Educator programme. He is now working on his first novel, a tale written partly in verse. Donate to Keith Here!
Militza Jean-Felix is a Haitian-American writer and visual artist from Boston. She has a BFA and studied art, history, and literature at The Pont Aven School of Contemporary Art in France and the Ludwig Foundation in Cuba. She then moved to San Francisco and got her MFA in Writing from the California College of the Arts. Her MFA thesis focused on her family’s experience during the earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010 and the perilous journey of a ten-year-old boy searching for his family at its’ epicenter. While attending CCA, she was invited by the Atis Rezistans to contribute her work as a part of the official selection of the 2nd Ghetto Biennale; A Salon des Refuses for the 21st Century in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. She has shown her work in Haiti, Korea, France, and the United States. When she’s not writing or painting, she’s most likely chillin’ with her little buddy, a gentle kitty named Mr. Pants.
Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela’s writing has been recognized by The Leeway Foundation, Hedgebrook and others. Her poetry and prose has appeared in Make/shift, As Us Journal, The Rust Belt Rising, Aster(ix), Big Bell and elsewhere. She is the founder Thread Makes Blanket, a small press with some big publications including Dismantle: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices Writing Workshop for which she also served as an editor. Marissa also a fiction editor at APIARY magazine and a member of the Rogue Poetry Workshop. She teaches at the Community College of Philadelphia. Thread Makes Blanket.
Rahul Kanakia’s first book, a contemporary young adult novel called Enter Title Here, is coming out from Disney-Hyperion in August ’16. Additionally, his stories have appeared or are forthcoming Clarkesworld, The Indiana Review, Apex, and Nature. He holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins and a B.A. in Economics from Stanford, and he used to work in the field of international development. Originally from Washington, D.C., Rahul now lives in Berkeley. If you want to know more you can visit his blog at http://www.blotter-paper.com or follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/rahkan
William Lung is an MFA student and adjunct lecturer at the City College of New York where he’s been a recipient of the Stark Short Fiction Prize. He is a returning fiction fellow and his work is forthcoming in Gaslight, the LLF’s inaugural anthology of work from the retreat.
Marcos L. Martínez is a returning Lambda fellow and received his MFA in Fiction at George Mason University. He is the Editor for Stillhouse Press, an independent press affiliated with GMU’s Creative Writing Program. As a Sally Merten Fellow, he has taught creative writing to high school students and adults throughout Northern Virginia. His work has appeared in The Washington Blade, RiverSedge, and Whiskey Island. Current projects include his novel, Embarkations (or, Boating for Beginners), and Cleave: The Journals of Caine Lance Calletano, a companion book of poetry told through the voice of his novel’s main character. A native of Brownsville, TX, Marcos lives in Alexandria, VA with his husband Wayne. Donate to Marcos Here!
Originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Ed came to Australia for a visit in 1995, fell in love with the rowdy, sophisticated locals, and now calls Australia home. He teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne, where he lives in a palace in the sky with Cory, his partner of ten years, and a little moppet called Poppet. Ed is currently writing a thesis on Brazilian writer Caio Fernando Abreu and the emergence of the AIDS epidemic in Brazil. He imagines that field research will be necessary, and looks forward to exploring archives and old newspapers in some glorious marble library in downtown Rio de Janeiro by day and improving his Portuguese with the aid of caipirinhas by night. He is forever working on his first collection of short stories. Ed’s short stories have appeared at blithe.com, questions.com.au, Mini Shots, Poslink, and in Cleis Press’ Best Gay Romance and Best Gay Erotica. Donate to Ed Here!
Jess Pane is a bookseller in Brooklyn, NY where she is the letters assistant for The Rumpus’ Letters in the Mail and volunteers for One Teen Story. Jess’ work has appeared on Everyday Genius and forthcoming on the podcast The Other Stories. She’ll be starting an MFA in Fiction in the fall. Donate to Jess Here!
Brandon Taylor is a PhD student in biochemistry at The University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received a B.S. in Physical Science from Auburn University, at Montgomery. His writing deals in themes of exile, family, and the intersections of sexuality, race, and class. Donate To Brandon Here!
Jeanne Thornton is the copublisher of Instar Books and Rocksalt Magazine, as well as the author of The Dream of Doctor Bantam (Lambda Literary Award finalist for 2012) and The Black Emerald. She draws the comics Bad Mother and The Man Who Hates Fun, is working on an LA novel about the Beach Boys or reasonable facsimiles thereof, and she lives in New Orleans. More info is at fictioncircus.com/Jeanne.
NONFICTION – FACULTY: LINDA VILLAROSA
Kayla Rae Candrilli received a Bachelors and Masters in Creative Writing from Penn State University and is a current MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. Candrilli was awarded first place in Vela Magazine’s non-fiction contest and is featured or forthcoming in the Chattahoochee Review, Puerto del Sol, Dogwood, Pacifica Literary, and others. You can read more of their work here and here. Donate to Kayla Here!
Erica Cardwell is a black queer essayist, educator, and cultural critic. Her work is centered on deconstructing the imagery and social perspectives of women and queer people. She writes about art, identity, language, and race. Her essays and reviews have been featured in The Feminist Wire, Ikons Magazine, In the Flesh Magazine, Bitch, and forthcoming for Hyperallergic. Throughout New York City, she has shared her work at La Galleria, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Brecht Forum, Heels on Wheels OpenToe Peepshow, Raw Fiction, and Queer Memoir. Currently, she is pursuing an MFA in Writing at Sarah Lawrence College while overseeing the arts, culture, and women’s programming for LGBTQ youth at The Hetrick-Martin Institute. Erica lives in Astoria, Queens. She tweets at @EricaCardwell Donate to Erica Here!
Sossity Chiricuzio is a queer femme outlaw poet, a working class sex radical storyteller. What her friends parents often referred to as a bad influence, and possibly still do. Recent publications include: Adrienne Journal, Wilde Magazine, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and The Outrider Review. Producer/MC of the X-Rated open mic Dirty Queer for over 8 years, sainted by the Portland Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, and all around catalyst. She is currently working on multiple projects including a hybrid memoir, and is a contributing columnist at PQmonthly.com. You can find out more about her work and projects online at: Sossity Writes. Donate to Sossity Here!
Sara David received her degree in Gender and Sexuality Studies from Brown University, where she wrote a thesis about women of color feminist organizations and social media. Currently, she works in LGBT youth advocacy with the It Gets Better Project. You can find her writing in the Guardian, Autostraddle, Medium, and Thought Catalog. Donate to Sara Here!
Anton Dela Cruz is a writer based in Columbia, South Carolina by way of New York. He is a Nonfiction Reader for Tayo Literary Magazine. A VONA/Voices fellow, his writing explores the intersection of science and culture. He can be found on the internet at antondelacruz.com, where he blogs on the odd occasion.
Todd Gastelum is a California-born writer and editor living in Mexico City. A lifelong scribbler, his only paid work to appear in print is gay erotica, which he peddled to smut mags before the internet killed them off. He has recently overcome his animosity toward digital media and publishes regularly on Medium.com. Todd writes non-fiction about identity, ethnicity, sexuality, class, cities, and food. A former teenage gay rights activist, he never thought he’d live to see same-sex marriage legalized in the US. A half-breed Mexican-American, he has lived in Mexico as an ambivalent immigrant for the past decade. Todd has a degree in geography from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He’s a recovering misanthrope who longs for the burritos and bánh mì of his homeland.
Lamya H is a queer, brown, angry muslim living in New York with her cat. Bios are her least favorite thing to write as they fuel her existential crises. Her work has been published in Black Girl Dangerous, The Islamic Monthly and Tanqeed.
Mel King grew up in Albany, New York. He received his Bachelor of Arts from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study with a concentration in gender, queer theory, and grassroots organizing. Post-undergrad, he worked at Empire State Pride Agenda, serving as Executive Assistant, Administrative & Development Associate, and finally Network Coordinator. He has written short stories whenever and wherever he could, publishing in Mason’s Road, Wilde Magazine, and T(OUR) Literary Magazine. His writing focuses on queer identity, trauma, Judaism, and the intersections of memory and fiction in family life. Currently working on a collection of short stories and a memoir, he is pursuing his passion for writing full time as a Truman Capote Fellow in fiction in the Creative Writing MFA program at Rutgers University, Newark. Donate to Mel Here!
Laura Rena Murray is an investigative journalist who tackles public interest and accountability stories that highlight corruption, mismanagement or human rights violations across the world. She has written for The New York Times, the Guardian, Al Jazeera America, San Francisco Chronicle, SF Weekly, 100Reporters and the Center for Public Integrity. Her work has been recognized by the Overseas Press Club, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Daniel Pearl Investigative Journalism Initiative, Nation Institute, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Ragdale Foundation and National Lesbian and Gay Journalism Association. On Twitter @laurarenamurray Donate to Laura Here!
Sylvia Sukop grew up in rural Pennsylvania and lived in Boston and New York City before settling in Los Angeles. In 2009 she received PEN Center USA’s Emerging Voices Fellowship and is now working on her first book. Her personal essay, “Pioneers on the frontier of faith: How a handful of audacious Angelenos sparked the movement for LGBT inclusion in mainstream religion that led to a nationwide civil rights sea change,” was published this spring in LAtitudes: An Angeleno’s Atlas (Heyday, 2015). She has a bachelor’s degree from Bucknell University and a master’s through a joint program of New York University and the International Center of Photography.
Suzanne Rush is a writer and journalist hailing from Los Angeles, California. She has been published in LA Weekly, SF Weekly, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Santa Fe Reporter, youtalkingtame? and Record Collector News, as well as the websites After Ellen (Fake Gay News) and Boy are my arms tired. She won a spot in the California Arts Council Working Class Writers workshop at The LAB, San Francisco, taught by Dorothy Allison and is a Recursos de Santa Fe Best New Fiction winner. Suzanne is currently conducting a series of interviews with astrologers — among other things.
Jeffrey Wolf grew up in Boston and attended GWU. He moved to NYC to get his MA in Psychology from The New School just five years after Stonewall, and less than a decade before ‘gay cancer’ began to devastate our community. After a career on Madison Avenue (not as a writer!) Jeffrey relocated to sunny SoCal, where he is now a self-proclaimed Reformed Mad Man. He has published several short stories and was a semi-finalist for The James Kirkwood Award for fiction at UCLA in 2014. Jeffrey is currently working on a memoir, A Very Bad Boy- The Story Of A Gay Baby Boomer Who Lived To Tell His Story.
GENRE FICTION – FACULTY: SARA RYAN
Meghan Allen grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania where you’re more likely to find wild elk than a bookstore. She studied social work at Elizabethtown College before returning to her hometown to work as a family social worker for a non-profit organization. Meghan is at work on her first novel.
Isabel Galupo is a second-generation queer writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She works as an Executive Assistant for the Nick Jr. show Dora and Friends: Into the City and is studying to get her MFA in Writing for Children at The New School. When she’s not writing, you can find Isabel missing her stop on the train because she’s too engrossed in a novel, Facetiming with her four younger sisters, and eating her way through Manhattan with her two lovely roommates. Donate to Isabel Here!
M-E Girard is a writer of YA fiction about teen girls who kick ass in a variety of ways. Some facts about M-E: She’s Canadian, speaks French, was a fellow of the YA workshop of the 2013 Lambda retreat, spends hours playing video games, has 2 chihuahuas, should stop eating so many carbs and cheese, buys too many books, and still plays with dolls. Her debut novel GIRL will be released in the fall of 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins.
Kate Goka is a writer and VONA fellow currently working on The Infinity of You, a math-infused, Cyrano de Bergerac-inspired graphic novel love story between two high school girls. Kate is also a married, Queer Asian mom living in the suburbs of San Francisco and can parallel park her old-skool minivan like nobody’s business. If there’s anything she hates with a passion, it’s all those newfangled minivans with their slow-ass automatic doors.
Leah “Parker” CT Goodreau is an artist and writer from Rhode Island. Like the state, they are small and have an unnecessarily long name. A long-time fan of fantasy and children’s literature, they have written several young adult manuscripts, now in various stages of not-quite-right-yet. In the spare time they force themselves to make every week, they write and draw a webcomic about superpowers and lying. They co-own four oddly named cats.
Catherine Healy’s work has appeared in Geez Magazine and the Lambda Literary Award-nominated anthology Here Come the Brides!: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from Swarthmore College and is now completing a Master of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, in preparation for ordination as an Episcopal priest. Catherine’s interests include alternatives to capitalism, the transformative power of fiction, the boundless grace of God, and making the world a safer place for kids.
A graduate of University of California, Santa Cruz, Caitlin Hernandez’s essays, poetry, and prose have been published in several anthologies and on the web sites WordGathering and The Mighty. She has written a short musical and two plays, which were produced by CRE Outreach’s Theatre By the Blind, the only theatre troupe in the country comprised solely of blind actors. When not working toward her masters degree in special education, reading and writing young adult fiction, or singing with her a cappella group, Caitlin enjoys eating coffee ice cream with Oreos and trying not to trip people with her rainbow cane. Donate to Caitlin Here!
Sarah C. Jiménez is originally from Chula Vista, San Diego’s border-town to Tijuana, and has lived in San Francisco for the past twelve years. She is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing/Fiction Prose at Mills College, and is currently finishing her manuscript – a young adult novel about Latinas in the ’burbs. Jiménez has facilitated several writers workshops with middle school students, and advocates for the educational development of Latino youth in her community. She lives with her partner of ten years (her biggest fan), and their two cats.
Jasmine Molina Reading or writing biographies are dreadful, so please hold on. My life is simple like any other college student’s life I go to school, work, and study. I am majoring in biology to be a soon wildlife veterinarian. My family is the most important part of my life. Writing has recently become part of my daily life even when I am not writing. Life has been challenging now since all I can ever think about is continuing a story or creating new ones while trying to study for another future. Donate to Jasmine here!
Niki Smith: Artist, writer, lover of fine comics (and some pretty trashy ones too). She lives in New Jersey with her wife and likes to flee to Europe when she can. Her comic SomeDidRest.com updates weekly. Find her online here.
Watts decided to leave behind more than a decade of teaching last Spring to write. So now she splits her time freelancing for educational publishers and slinging cheese & charcuterie around at a small cut-to-order cheese shop in Santa Fe, NM. In her free time she writes graphic novels, teen fantasy, memoir, and the occasional blog post about childhood adversity or the art of open, honest discussion. She holds her MFA in Writing for children & young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, an MA in old, dead white guys from St. John’s College, and a BA in Physics from Wellesley. Donate to Watts Here!
Karen Yin is a peace-loving, riot-inciting middle child with one eyebrow permanently arched. An award-winning writer of short tales and a novel about person-based love, she considers the boxes drawn around us to be curious fictions. Karen received a writing grant from Table 4 Writers Foundation last year and is a 2015 Lambda Literary Foundation fellow. In her life as an editor, she is the creator of Conscious Style Guide, an online resource for kind, empowering, and inclusive language. She writes about language style on AP vs. Chicago and is a columnist for Copyediting newsletter. Donate to Karen Here!
POETRY – FACULTY: KAZIM ALI
Annah Anti-Palindrome is a bay-area based musician/Optical Sound-Smith, writer, and queer/femme antagonist who hails from the working-class craters at the base of the Sierra Foothills. Annah performs using a variety of different mediums including a Line 6 (DL4) looping system, kitchen utensils, gas-masks, raw eggs, blood pressure cuffs, found objects, her body (mostly her throat), and more! As part of the 2014 National Queer Arts Festival, Annah co-edited Passage and Place, a queer anthology on Home. Annah is also the co-editor of 1-2-3 Punch: How Misogyny Hurts Queer Communities, curator for the East Bay’s monthly event, Culture Fuck!, and a collective member of Deviant Type Press. She holds an MFA in poetry from Mills College. Her written work has been published in Transfer literary magazine, Buckets Kicked: Writings on Radical Grief, and in the QZAP archives (Queer Zine Archive Project). She is currently working on a collection of poems tentatively called Resisting Palindromes. Donate to Annah here!
Bryan Borland is founding publisher of Sibling Rivalry Press, founding editor of Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry, and author of the poetry collections My Life as Adam and Less Fortunate Pirates: Poems from the First Year Without My Father. He’s been honored three times by the American Library Association through inclusion on its “Over the Rainbow” list of recommended LGBT reading: as a poet for Adam and as an editor for Joy Exhaustible: Assaracus Presents the Publishers and Lady Business: A Celebration of Lesbian Poetry. He lives in Arkansas with his husband and co-publisher of SRP, Seth Pennington. Donate to Bryan Here!
Sara Brickman is a queer Jewess author, performer, and activist from Ann Arbor, MI. The 2014 Ken Warfel Fellow for Poetry in Community, Sara was named the winner of the Split This Rock Poetry Contest by Natalie Diaz. She is the recipient of a grant from 4Culture, and has attended Bread Loaf and the TILL Writers Convergence. An Artist Trust EDGE fellow, her work has been published or is forthcoming in Muzzle, Bestiary, Hoarse, The New, Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls, and more. A teacher with Writers in the Schools and the 2013 Rain City Women of the World Slam Champion, Sara has performed her work at venues across North America. In 2010 she founded a multimedia reading series in her living room called The Hootenanny, to showcase groundbreaking writers and performers. She lives and writes in Seattle, WA. Donate to Sara Here!
Emily Jaeger is a returned Peace Corps volunteer and backyard organic farmer who dreams in four languages. Currently, an MFA candidate in poetry at UMASS Boston, she is co-editor/co-founder of the Window Cat Press, a zine for young, emerging artists. The recipient of the Mary Curran scholarship for writing, her poem “Mercenary” was nominated for the Pushcart Award and her work has been published in Arc, Broad!, Broadsided, Cecile’s Writers Magazine, the Jewish Journal and Zeek. Donate to Emily Here!
Kelly McQuain’s poems and stories have appeared in Painted Bride Quarterly, Redivider, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Kestrel, The Pinch, Asssaracus, A&U, Kin and Mead, as well as in numerous anthologies: The Queer South, Between: New Gay Poetry, Best American Erotica, Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books, and Skin & Ink. His chapbook, VELVET RODEO (2014), won Bloom magazine’s poetry prize and went on to receive two Rainbow Award citations. He has twice received fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. A former comics illustrator, he now hosts Poetdelphia, a literary salon in the City of Brotherly Love where he teaches at Community College of Philadelphia. Kelly McQuain Donate to Kelly here!
Ife-Chudeni A. Oputa is currently completing an MFA in Poetry and an MA in African American and African Diaspora Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. She is a Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow. Her poetry and prose has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Gabby, Some Call it Ballin’ and elsewhere. She is a native of Fresno, CA.
C. Russell Price is a genderqueer poet originally from the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia (Glade Spring) and now calls Chicago home. Price currently works with TriQuarterly and StoryClub Magazine. Previous publications include Assaracus, Court Green, MiPOesias, North Chicago Review, Weave, and elsewhere. He’s been a finalist for the Edes Award for Emerging Artists, The Russell Prize, and the Boston Review/Discovery Prize. He holds a BA from the University of Virginia and an MFA from Northwestern University. He paints, plays piano, and works on recycled art installation pieces on Chicago’s north side. He’s been a featured performer at The Poetry Foundation, Molly Malone’s, This Is Not An Intervention, Homolatte, Sunday Salon, and other venues in the Windy City.
sam sax is a 2015 NEA Fellow and a Poetry Fellow at The Michener Center for Writers where he’s the associate poetry editor at Bat City Review. He’s the two time Bay Area Grand Slam Champion + the author of the chapbooks, A Guide to Undressing Your Monsters (Button Poetry, 2014) + sad boy / detective (Winner of the Black Lawrence’s 2014 Black River Chapbook Prize). His poem Kaddish won Red Hen Press + The Los Angeles Review’s 2014 Wild Light Poetry Contest and he has work forthcoming in Boston Review, Minnesota Review, Ninth Letter, Normal School, Rattle, Salt Hill + other journals.
Lauren Shufran received her MFA from San Francisco State University in 2008 and is currently a PhD candidate in Literature at UC Santa Cruz. Inter Arma, her first full-length book, won Fence Books’ Motherwell Prize, and was published in 2013.
Imani Sims, M.A. is a stiletto loving Seattle native who spun her first performance poem at the age of fourteen. Since then, she has developed an infinitely rippling love for poetry in all of its forms. She believes in the healing power of words and the transformational nuance of the human story. Imani is the founder of Split Six Productions, an interdisciplinary art production company that works towards connecting artists and collecting POC stories for production on stage. Her book Twisted Oak is available on Requiem Press and her second collection Beloved:Collision is available via Amazon.
Paul Tran is a Vietnamese American historian and poet living in Brooklyn, NY. He won “Best Poet” and “Pushing the Art Forward” at the 2013 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, as well as awards and fellowships from Kundiman, Poets House, the Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and Lambda Literary Emerging LGBTQ Voices. His poems appears in CURA: A Literary Magazine for Art & Activism, Nepantla: A Journal for Queer Poets of Color, and RHINO, which selected him for the 2015 Editor’s Prize. He currently works at New York University and coaches the Barnard/Columbia University slam team. Visit him at iampaultran.com or @speakdeadly.
Mat Wenzel is a student of poetry in Ashland University’s low-residency MFA program. He teaches high school English at DaVinci Academy of Science and the Arts in a converted canning factory in downtown Ogden, UT. Mat’s current writing explores the space and conflict created between his faith and sexual identity. He currently has 17 stamps in his National Parks Passport. Donate to Mat Here!
PLAYWRITING – FACULTY: CHERRÍE L. MORAGA
Heather María Ács is a West Virginia raised, Brooklyn-based, mixed race Anglo-Chicana theatre artist, independent film actor, and high femme drag performer. Her work has been featured in festivals, theatres, galleries, conferences, and universities internationally. She is the Co-Director of Heels on Wheels, a queer femme-inine spectrum, all genders performance group, that tours annually and hosts a monthly artists’ salon in Brooklyn. Heather has worked with Mx. Justin Vivian Bond, Nao Bustamante, Lois Weaver, J. Ed Araiza (SITI Company), Steven Soderbergh, and Paula Pell (SNL). Heather has worked as a teaching artist in NYC public schools for over a decade.
Laura Araujo S. is a Mexican-born Chicana educator and writer living in the Inland Empire, Califas. Although her love for literature and writing has been a life-long passion, she recognizes she is a late bloomer and is eager to share the long awaited writings and art projects stirring within. Her works explore the connections that present themselves through the act of writing, body politics, borders, memory, and identity. When she is not at a workshop fixing something, creating something with her hands, or learning a new skill, then she’s with familia. Orale. Donate to Laura here!
librecht baker is a writer, member of the Dembrebrah West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, in Long Beach, CA, as well as a Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA/Voices) alumnae. She has a MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. Her poetry is included in CHORUS: A Literary Mixtape (MTV Books) and is forthcoming in Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices (Trans-Genre Press).
Celeste Chan is an experimental artist, writer, and organizer. A Lambda Literary fellow & VONA alumni, her writing can be found in Ada: Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, As/us journal, Feminist Wire, Hyphen Magazine, Matador, and the forthcoming Writing the Walls Down anthology (Trans-Genre Press). She recently received a Hedgebrook residency, a SF Writers’ Grotto fellowship, and a San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Grant. Her films have screened in CAAMFest, Digital Desperados, Entzaubert, Frameline, Heels on Wheels, MIX NYC, National Queer Arts Festival, Queer Women of Color Film Festival, and Vancouver Queer Film Festival, among others. Alongside KB Boyce, she co-directs Queer Rebels, a queer and trans people of color arts project. She has presented and curated in the SF Bay Area, NYC, Seattle, Bloomington, Seoul, Glasgow, Berlin, and beyond. She lives in San Francisco. www.celestechan.com Donate to Celeste here!
Maya Chinchilla is an Oakland-based Guatemalan femme writer, video artist, educator and author of The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poética (Kórima Press, 2014). Maya writes and performs poetry that explores themes of historical memory, heartbreak, tenderness, sexuality, and alternative futures. Her work —sassy, witty, performative, and self-aware— draws on a tradition of truth-telling and poking fun at the wounds we carry. Born and raised in Long Beach, CA, by a mixed class, mixed race, immigrant activist extended family, Maya has lived and loved in the Bay Area for the second half of her life. Her work has been published in anthologies and journals including: Mujeres de Maíz, Sinister Wisdom, Americas y Latinas: A Stanford Journal of Latin American Studies, Cipactli Journal, and The Lunada Literary Anthology, and is quoted (and misquoted) in essays, presentations and books on U.S.-Central American poetics; Chicana/Latina literature; and identity, gender, and sexuality. Maya is a founding member of the performance group Las Manas, a former artist-in-residence at Galería de La Raza in San Francisco, CA; and La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley, CA; and is a VONA Voices, Dos Brujas and Lambda Literary Fellow. She is the co-editor of Desde El Epicentro: An anthology of Central American Poetry and Art and is a lecturer at San Francisco State University, UC Davis and other Bay Area colleges. For more info about her events go to www.mayachapina.com Donate to Maya Here!
Catherine Frost is a playwright from Washington, DC. She is graduating from Pomona College with a major in Africana Studies and a Theatre minor. Her work often focuses on radical personhood and sound is an important element in her art. Her favorite sitcoms are Smart Guy and Living Single. Donate to Catherine Here!
Javier is a playwright, drag performer and producer. Javier’s performance work has been presented at colleges, clubs, theaters, and on city streets across the Southwest, on the East coast and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. His plays has been developed and presented at El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista, Brava Theater Center in San Francisco and at AS220 in Providence, RI. His most recent show, LAST CALL was developed as part of the Teatro Lab residency in 2012. His lives with a spoiled chihuahua that keeps him company while he pursues an MFA in Playwriting at UC Riverside. Donate to Javier Here!
Zavé Martohardjono is a multidisciplinary Brooklyn-based artist who calls New York City, Indonesia, and Canada home. Zavé makes performance, video, installations and also curates. His work centers on fractured and liminal experiences of borderland identities, exploring mixed-race, multi-national, queer, and trans subjectivity. His work can be viewed on zavemartohardjono.com. He’s shown at Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, Bowery Poetry Club, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Bronx River Art Center Gallery, Center for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, Chashama 540, Dixon Place, La MaMa E.T.C., Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts, Rats 9 Gallery, SOMArts, and the Wild Project. His videos have screened at film festivals in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Montréal, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Zurich, and Jakarta. In collaboration, he’s had the pleasure of performing for Lawrence Weiner, Mariangela Lopez/Accidental Movement, Ximena Garnica, Vanessa Anspaugh, Malik Gaines and Alexandro Segade, devynn emory, and J. Dellecave. In ocmmunity, he’s collaborated with MIX Queer Experimental Film Festival, Helix Queer Performance Network + Brooklyn Arts Exchange, FIERCE, Theater Transgression, Into the Neon, and New Children/New York. Zavé works in civil rights advocacy and digital media. He received his B.A. from Brown University (2006), his M.F.A. in Media Arts Production from the City College of New York (2009), and participated in the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics’ EMERGENYC Program (2011). Donate to Zavé Here!
Azure D. Osborne-Lee is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist and theatre maker. This past winter Azure’s writing was presented as part of The Fire This Time Festival and National Black Theatre’s Keep Soul Alive! Mondays. This spring you can find him leading the Voicebox Workshops at Brooklyn Community Pride Center. Come summer he will receive a reading at 2econd Stage Theatre. Azure was also recently a member of Hemispheric Institute’s EMERGENYC and Rising Circle Theater Collective‘s 2014 INKtank. He has been selected as a finalist for National Black Theatre’s I AM SOUL playwriting residency and Soho Rep’s Writer/Director Lab. Learn more here. Donate to Azure here!
Seth Tankus began his writing career in an unexpected way: writing lyrics to songs for his high school band when he was 15. Thinking nothing would come of it, he attended Cornish College of the Arts to pursue his first passion, musical theatre. This quickly turned around, and by his junior year he was accepted into the Cornish original works program and hasn’t stopped writing since. He has had his work produced with Fantastic Z Theatre, Seattle 1-Minute Play Festival, Annex Theatre, RiOT Productions, Gay City Arts, ‘Mo Wave Queer Arts Festival, and readings with MAP Theatre and Fuse Theater Ensemble in Portland, OR. He loves cats, loud music, black licorice, queerness. He is excited and honored to join Cherrie Moraga and other queer writers on this retreat.
Herukhuti. Writer, performance artist, cultural studies scholar and activist. Author of Conjuring Black Funk: Notes on Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality, Volume 1. Co-editor Recognize: The Voices of Bisexual Men, a Lammy finalist. Goddard College professor of interdisciplinary studies. Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner. National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellow. Neo-traditional African priest and Bodeme. PhD human and organizational systems. MEd curriculum and instruction. BA psychology and political science. Playwright and director in the 1st New York International Fringe Theatre Festival. Founder and Chief Erotics Officer, Center for Culture, Sexuality and Spirituality. Editor-in-Chief Sacred Sexualities. Experiments with forms, structures and energies. Donate to Herukhuti Here!
Nia Witherspoon is a multidisciplinary artist-scholar producing work at the intersections of indigeneity, queerness, and African diaspora epistemologies. Working primarily in the mediums of vocal and sound composition, playwriting, and creative scholarship, Dr. Witherspoon’s work has been recognized and supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Astraea Foundation, Theatre Bay Area, and the National Queer Arts Festival. Her original play, The Messiah Complex, a multi-temporal meditation on the loss of parents in black and queer diasporas, was developed at an AIR Space Residency (San Francisco), featured in the Company of Angels’ NAACP-nominated Black Women: State of the Union (Los Angeles), and invited to staged readings at The Painted Bride Art Center (Philadelphia) and the National Black Theatre (New York). Messiah was also performed at New York’s prestigious Downtown Urban Theatre Festival (HERE Art Center) where it received the Audience Award and placed second for Best Play. Witherspoon’s work as a vocalist, both independently and with acclaimed ceremonial-music duo SoliRose, has spanned stages, ceremonial spaces, and activist organizations from the San Francisco Bay Area to Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Beirut, and her creative non-fiction is most recently featured in Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Thought. Witherspoon has forthcoming publications in the Journal of Popular Culture and Women and Performance, and she is currently at work on a book project, “The Nation in the Dark: Reparations of Ceremony in Diaspora,” which asserts that nationalism, far from being dead, is essential to radical women of color re-envisioning indigenous religions. She received a B.A. from Smith College and a PhD in Theatre and Performance Studies from Stanford University. Donate to Nia Here!
WRITERS IN RESIDENCE
Laura Chandra is a born and raised Bostonian and a returning Lambda Fellow from the 2013 Genre/YA workshop. She spends her days in the finance world and her evenings and weekends plotting, writing, and revising.
Twig Delujé is a trans* identified fiction writer with a blue-collar, Midwestern/Ozarkian upbringing. His stories revolve around the topics of class, gender, and queer survival while broadening the dialogue around the rural queer experience. He currently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
A returning 2008 LLF fellow, Elisa Ardis Garcia is a freelance essayist and fiction writer with a professional background in finance and an educational background in theatre. She is currently working on her debut novel.
Gibrán Güido was born in San Diego and raised in San Ysidro, California. He is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Literature at the University of California, San Diego. As a doctoral student, his thesis and dissertation reflects a vein of an emerging area of scholarship, known as Jotería Studies, focusing particular attention to the ways pain and trauma has come to impact the lives of young gay men of color and formulate a sensibility of consciousness-raising. Currently, Gibrán is co-editing with Adelaida R. Del Castillo the forthcoming anthology titled, Fathers, Fathering and Fatherhood: Queer Chicano Desire and Belonging. He is also the co-editor of the anthology titled: Queer in Aztlán: Chicano Male Recollections of Consciousness and Coming Out which was a Lammy Finalist for LGBT Anthology of the year.