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Introducing Lambda Literary’s 2016 Emerging Writers Retreat Fellows

Introducing Lambda Literary’s 2016 Emerging Writers Retreat Fellows

Author: Edit Team

April 25, 2016

2016 Emerging Writers Retreat Fellows

The 2016 class of the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices will spend a week in Los Angeles this summer, July 24-31, working on their books, collections and plays in workshops led by some of our community’s leading LGBT authors/mentors.  Read about these talented up-and-coming writers and, please, consider donating to their individual fundraising campaigns to attend the Retreat (links in bios), or to the general scholarship fund by clicking the donate button.  Congratulations to our outstanding incoming students!

Help bring these Emerging Writers to Los Angeles!

Donate to the Retreat Scholarship Fund today!




Caitlin Bagwell is a substitute teacher whose seen everything, man, seen everything, and still loves it. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch LA. You can find her work at Jaded Ibis and Lunch Ticket. She lives in Portland Oregon with her two cats Freddy and Mercury. 



Carson Beker is a writer, playwright, and storyteller with an MFA and MA from SFSU. They are the co-founder of The Escapery, an SF Bay Writing Unschool, and the former Fiction Editor of Fourteen Hills. Their work has appeared in Gigantic Sequins, Sparkle + Blink, Transfer Magazine, and Bourbon Penn. Their plays have been at the San Francisco Olympians Festival and at Z Space, and they are proud to have performed for Radar Literary Series. They have two cats, one living and one ghost. They are so excited to be a 2016 Lambda fellow in Fiction!


Marcus DegnanMarcus Tran Degnan is a current graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles in the Asian American Studies Department. He is relatively new to the West Coast, having grown up in the swamplands of Central Florida. He attended and graduated from the University of Florida in 2015, where he was engaged with social activism around Asian American issues, as well as contributed to various social justice-oriented literary outlets. He identifies as a gay, Catholic, mixed race Vietnamese American, as much of it is a mouthful to say.


Daphne Gottlieb stitches together the ivory tower and the gutter just using her tongue. She is the author of 10 books including the short stories Pretty Much Dead. Other works include Dear Dawn, letters by the “first female serial killer”, Aileen Wuornos. She is also the author of 5 books of poetry, a graphic novel, and the editor of 2 anthologies. Daphne is the winner of the Acker, the Audre Lorde, and the Firecracker Alternative Book Awards, and is a 5-time Lammy finalist. She lives in San Francisco, where she saves the world with her 3-lb toothless dog, Doomsday.

Cary Alan Johnson writes. Working from bases in Brooklyn and various cities in Africa. He was an original member of the Blackheart Collective and Other Countries: Black Gay Voices. (Yes, an O.G.) He has recently connected with brilliant brothers at the Tenth Magazine and his essay, “Mo(u)rning in America: Confessions of a Black Gay Baby Boomer” appeared in their sophomore issue. He has published poetry, fiction, and works for the stage as well as non-fiction in various anthologies including Changing Men, RFD, Go the Way Your Blood Beats, E. Lynn Harris’s In this Village, and Assoto Saint’s the Road Before Us. He is currently working on something that feels like a novel.

Juliana Delgado Lopera is an award-winning Colombian writer/educator/oral-historian based in San Francisco. The recipient of the 2014 Jackson Literary award, and a finalist of the Clark-Gross Novel award, she’s the author of ¡Cuéntamelo! an illustrated bilingual collection of oral histories by LGBT Latin@ immigrants awarded the Regen Ginaa Grant from Galería de la Raza and a 2014 National Queer Arts Festival Grant from theQueer Cultural Center. She’s the executive director of RADAR Productions


Jonathan Mack grew up on a family farm in NH, but has spent most of his adult life in India and Japan. He studied writing at Naropa and the School of the Art Institute. His story “The Right Way to Be Crippled & Naked” is the title story of an anthology of fiction about disability forthcoming from Cinco Puntos Press. Other stories and essays have appeared in Quarter After Eight, Green Mountains Review, Eleven Eleven, Epiphany, Zymbol, Gargoyle, Mary, Jonathan, Japanzine, The Tokyo Advocate, and elsewhere. He blogs at Guttersnipe Das.

Frederick McKindra, a fiction writer living in Brooklyn, NY, is working to complete his first novel on the lotto, ill-fated love, and the Great Recession in NYC. He intends this project to serve as the definitive survival guide for black Snow Qweens who look for advice on love in the works of Baldwin, the gospel powerhouses known as the Clark Sisters, and 90s RnB trio SWV. He attended Howard University in DC, received an MFA in Fiction from the New School, and regularly contributes to the Lambda Literary blog. Donate to Frederick Here!


Mike Miksche is a writer and journalist based in Toronto, Canada. He’s written for Slate, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Lambda Literary, The Quietus and Daily Xtra. His first novel, “Paris Demands,” was released last year. He’s working on his second novel based on his column, “Hole and Corner,” for Daily Xtra.




Whitney Porter is a teacher at the Writer’s Studio in New York where she is also student in the master class taught by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Philip Schultz. Her work has appeared in Ping Pong Literary Magazine, Battered Suitcase and Metazen. Originally from Houston, Texas, she now calls Brooklyn, New York her home. She holds a BA in journalism from Empire State College SUNY.


Robert Smith has most recently been published in Neutrons Protons, Bird’s Thumb Journal, JONATHAN, Wilde Stories 2014: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction, and Barney Rosset’s Evergreen Review. He was a regular contributor to SPANK Art Mag, and has been featured in several NY based queer journals, including: Ganymede, and Mary Literary, as well as a forthcoming story in the next issue of Spunk. Donate to Robert Here!





Katherine Agard grew up in Trinidad listening to the stories of her mother growing up in Ghana. She studied Visual and Environmental Studies and Social Anthropology at Harvard, where she focused on some mixture of post-colonial theory, queer studies, religion, painting and filmmaking. Her work moves between fiction, non-fiction, image-making and social practice. She is an alumna of the VONA/Voices and Callaloo Writer’s workshops.

Cooper Lee Bombardier is a writer and visual artist based in Portland, Oregon. His work appears in many publications and anthologies, most recently in CutBank, Nailed Magazine, Original Plumbing, and is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review and MATRIX, as well as the anthology The Remedy–Essays on Queer Health Issues, (ed. Zena Sharman) from Arsenal Pulp Press. He teaches writing at Portland State University, the University of Portland, at Grant High School through Writers in The Schools, and online at LitReactor. Learn more at at

Clayton Delery-Edwards is best known for his book, The Up Stairs Lounge Arson (McFarland 2014), which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Nonfiction, and which was named Book of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities—the first time an LGBT-themed book has been given this award. His work has appeared in such scholarly and popular journals as TEXT, The James White Review, The Xavier Review, and Garden Deck and Landscape Magazine. He lives in New Orleans with his husband, Aaron, and is currently working on another nonfiction book about LGBT history in New Orleans.



Candace Eros Díaz is a 2015-16 Steinbeck Fellow out of The Steinbeck Fellows Program of San José State University. She is a former San Francisco Writer’s Grotto Fellow and a proud VONA/Voices alum. She is the Coordinator for the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College of California where she received a dual-concentration MFA in creative nonfiction and fiction. She writes in the dreamy space where fact and fiction collide and is currently at work on a historical creative nonfiction novel about her women ancestors. She lives in Oakland, CA and can be found at

Kai M. Green is a writer, scholar, poet, filmmaker, abolitionist, feminist, and whatever else it takes to make a new and more just world. He is invested in the work of healing and loving Black: he is particularly interested in helping to develop healthy Black masculinities. His work and thinking on queer and trans issues within communities of color has been published widely in prominent journals and anthologies such as TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, No Tea, No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies, and many others. Dr. Green is a regular contributor to activist and grassroots publications such as the, He is also a member of BYP100, Chicago where he sits on the the healing and safety council. Dr. Green earned his Ph.D. in American Studies & Ethnicity from the University of Southern California in 2014. Donate to Kai Here! 

Tennessee Jones is the author of the Lambda Literary Award nominated collection Deliver Me From Nowhere, a ‘cover’ of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska. He is the recipient of awards from the Jacob K. Javits Foundation, the Christopher Isherwood Foundation and Hunter College, where he received his MFA in Fiction in 2010. He was also the George Bennett Fellow (Writer in Residence) at Phillips Exeter Academy, and the Philip Roth Writer in Residence at Bucknell University. He grew up in the Appalachian Mountains and currently lives in Brooklyn.


Kathleen Nacozy is a writer who focuses on justice. She began working as a journalist while attending law school in small-town Texas. Earning her law degree spurred her to write about criminal justice for dozens of media outlets. She also works as a storyteller and stand-up comedian. Kathleen has performed for Bumbershoot, Gay City, Hella Much, Hollow Earth Radio, the Links and Alliances Conference, and the Northwest Folklife Festival. She is an impassioned student and teacher of improv through a social justice framework.

Nahshon Anderson is an Afro-Indian and Latin writer with roots in East Texas where family members served in WW I & II. A Californian, Nahshon’s family was close to Rodney King. Nahshon attended California State University Los Angeles. At age 19, Nahshon survived an attempted murder, inspiring short story “Shooting Range,” which won a 2014 BRIO Award from Bronx Council on Arts. A recipient of grants from the California Arts Council and Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Nahshon has studied with writer Andrew X. Pham. A member of SAG-AFTRA, Pen America and a 2015 VONA fellow, Nahshon is currently writing a memoir.


Daniel Shannon is an essayist, editor, and software developer living and working in New York City. In addition to publishing essays on cocktail culture and LGBTQ community, he previously served as the founder and nonfiction editor of one online queer literary magazine,, and is currently working to found another, Ignota. He harbors an Indy-and-snakes-grade fear of forks with wacky tines.


Natalia_Vigil (1)Natalia Vigil was born and raised in San Francisco, the city that inspires her everyday. Her writing arises from the voices and stories of the people around her and deals in themes of loss, family, sexuality, race, and class. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and on many Bay Area stages including Curbside Splendor Press,, VONA, SOMArts, Mission Cultural Center and more. She has an MFA from Mills College and is the proud co-founder of Still Here San Francisco. You can find her curating shows in S.F. and enjoying life with her 5 younger siblings. Donate to Natalia Here!

Rosie Wilby is a London-based comedian, writer and broadcaster who has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and performed at major festivals including Glastonbury. Her solo shows have included The Science Of Sex, which she performed at New York’s Fresh Fruit Festival in 2013. Her articles have been published by The Sunday Times, New Statesman, Time Out and more. She was shortlisted for the 2014 Mslexia memoir prize for her account of 1990s London life, How (not) to make it in Britpop. She presents an award-winning LGBT magazine on Resonance FM where her guests have included Armistead Maupin. Donate to Rosie Here! 

Ashley Young is a Queer feminist poet, author and teacher. Her work has been published in three anthologies, Hot and Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press), All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color (University of Wisconsin Press) and Glitter and Grit: Queer Performance from the Heels on Wheels Femme Galaxy (Portland Studio). She a contributor at Elixher magazine‎ and has been featured in various online magazines, such as Autostraddle, Rvkvry Journal and more. She is a 2010 Voices of Our Nation’s Foundation Poetry Fellow and a 2011 Lambda Literary Foundation Nonfiction Fellow, to return summer of 2016. She taught her biomythography workshop at the Fire and Ink Conference in 2015 and performs her work at various readings throughout the country. She is currently working on a collection of poetry and prose entitled Chronicles of Bipolar Living and is completing her first novel, a biomythography entitled The Liberation of the Black Unicorn. Ashley lives in New York City with her wife, four wild cats and her sweet service dog. Donate to Ashley Here!




Damian Alexander is a writer, cartoonist, and finder of lost things who was born and raised in and around Boston, Massachusetts. He is currently working on an eclectic collection of stories for children and teens. His favorite word is juxtaposition and his written and illustrative works often go hand in hand.. His personal essays, as well as articles on children’s media have appeared on Narratively, Pacific Standard, BuzzFeed, The Mary Sue, and more. He is currently pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children at Simmons College. Visit his work at Donate to Damian Here!

Laura Carpenter lives in Anchorage, Alaska, with her wife and daughter. She survives the dark Northern winters by reading, writing, running in studded shoes, and drinking chai lattes. She works in marketing and public relations and tries to not let that tarnish her fiction too much. Her publications include Curve, The New York Times, Anchorage Daily News, Alaska Pride Blog, Naked Ptarmigan, NorthView, Inside Passages and more. Donate to Laura Here!


Kate Goka is a returning Lambda and VONA/ Voices fellow writing YA fiction and graphic novels. A life-long education nerd, Kate was a founding member of June Jordan School for Equity. She lives in Brisbane, California with her wife and three kids.


C.B. Lee is a bisexual writer and hiking enthusiast from the California coast. A first generation Asian American, Lee identifies strongly with immigrant communities and has a background working with various educational nonprofits with inner-city youth in Los Angeles. She is passionate about working in communities of color and providing a space through outdoor and environmental education where youth can be empowered in themselves and inspired to write characters and stories they identify with. Lee’s debut novel Seven Tears at High Tide was published by Duet Books in 2015 and named a finalist in the fourth annual Bisexual Books Awards. Donate to CB Here!


Paul J.S. Oliveria has been working in the field of information security for over ten years as a writer, marketer, and public speaker. He tells stories about computer malware, cybercrime, and new technologies by collaborating with cybersecurity researchers and experts. When not developing awareness campaigns on internet safety or uncovering a cybercriminal modus operandi, he binge-watches TV shows, writes reviews in a startup Filipino movie blog he co-founded, and writes snippets of stories that may or may not be based on his life. He lives in the Philippines, and is in constant search for the best pizza, burger, and chocolate.

Emil Ostrovski is a graduate of Columbia University’s Master of Fine Arts in writing program. His debut novel, The Paradox of Vertical Flight, was published in the U.S., Spain, and Germany, and his second novel, Away We Go, was released in 2016. His short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed, Prism International, The New Orleans Review, Word Riot, The Atticus Review, and other venues The author lives in San Diego, California.


Alexis Smithers is a black nonbinary writer who grew up and still lives in the DMV (D.C./Maryland/Virginia area) and creates mostly through poetry, personal essay, and fiction. A contributing editor for Words Dance Magazine, their work can be found here . Alexis advised to Winter Tangerine Review’s workshop for writers of color, interned at a non-profit advocating for people with rare blood diseases, and attended Pink Door, a women of color writer’s retreat. Currently working in food service and trying to turn all the learning they’ve done in the past four years into a tangible degree, Alexis tweets at @DangerLove12. Donate to Alexis Here!

Sophie Gertrude Strohmeier is a bilingual writer of Fiction and Non Fiction from Vienna, Austria – or Pennsylvania, depending on how you look at it. She’s the author of one surrealist Lesbian novel in German, Küss Mich, Libussa (2013). Her film reporting has appeared in European media such as FM4, The Gap, and Sissy. One of her short stories has appeared in Broad! zine. Currently she lives in the South with her wife and two cats, where Sophie is an MFA candidate in creative writing and recipient of the University of Alabama’s Alumni Award for Fiction 2016. Find out more hereDonate to Sophie Here!


Christina Tesoro is a writer, sex educator, and youth counselor at the Ali Forney Center in New York City. She is an alumna of the Black Forest Writing Seminar in 2015, where she studied fiction and creative non-fiction with Roxane Gay. She has published work at The Establishment, The Toast, The Rumpus, The Learned Fangirl, Cosmo, and Revelist. She also blogs about all things sex, sexuality, and relationship related at Along Came Poly. She tweets, sparsely, @storyqday, and is not nearly as glum as she appears. Donate to Christina Here!



Peyton Thomas is a recent graduate of the University of Toronto’s political science and sexual diversity studies program. They are a recipient of the Norma Epstein Foundation Award in Creative Writing, and their proposal on Weezer’s Pinkerton was recently shortlisted for publication in Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series. They are presently writing their first novel, and they aspire to give young queer and trans readers the happy endings they deserve. Donate to Peyton Here! 



Molly Thornton is a Seattle-based femme, writer, and poet who hails from the Land of Enchantment. She aims to write new anthems for young adults and is influenced by female friendship, queer love, and life’s gritty magic. When she’s not absorbed in editing her first novel, she is engaged in young women’s empowerment projects, or thrift shopping for leopard print garments and floral housewares.  Donate to Molly Here!



Pam is an editor in San Francisco for No Starch Press where she hopes to help incite children towards acts of math/science-related mayhem. She was a 2015 fellow, and she is thrilled to be returning! When she is not wrangling hacker chapters, she writes graphic novels, YA, memoir, and the occasional blog post. She holds her MFA in Writing for children & young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, an MA in mostly Philosophy from St. John’s College, and a BA in Physics from Wellesley College. Her writing has appeared in Odyssey Magazine and Teaching Tolerance. And her first book (Ocean Ecosystems) came out last fall.

Karen Yin is a peace-loving, riot-inciting middle child with one eyebrow permanently arched. An award-winning writer, she alternates between several writing projects about unothering: a fantasy novel from a troll’s point of view, a graphic novel about person-based love, and a collection of short tales about collapsing identities. She received a grant from Table 4 Writers Foundation in 2014 and was a Lambda Literary Foundation fellow in 2015 and 2016. A longtime editor, Karen is the creator of Conscious Style Guide, “the place to go for people words.” She also writes about language style on her oddly popular blog, AP vs. ChicagoDonate to Karen Here! 




Nico Amador was born and raised in San Diego, lived and worked for many years in Philadelphia and has recently landed in the small town of Bristol, Vermont. Nico’s writing life has its beginnings in the political community of queer and POC organizers that helped him come out and come into his work as a young activist. Since that time poetry has been a tool for exploring the complicated nature of history and for looking outside of it. His work has been published in Poet Lore, Big Bell, MiPoesias, Plenitude Magazine, APIARY, Nimrod International Journal, and Rogue State. Nico is also the co-editor of Thread Makes Blanket Press.



Portia Elan lives and writes in the East Bay, where she shares a house with one indifferent cat and one whip-smart puppy. She teaches 9th grade English and History in Oakland. Her chapbooks, “To Yield Like Water & Nothing Else,” “Ghazals for the Body,” and “Everything Here is Noise & I” (co-written with Jenny Boychuk) all circle around the intersection between the mystic and the body.


Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize and forthcoming spring 2017 from BOA Editions, Ltd. His work has previously appeared in two chapbooks and publications such as Poetry, The Massachusetts Review, Best of the Net, and The Best American Poetry. He holds an MFA from Syracuse University and is currently a PhD candidate in English and Creative Writing at Texas Tech University. Visit him at Donate to Chen Here!


Photo by Andrew Collings

Sam Corfman is a poet who writes plays as well as an MFA candidate and writing instructor at the University of Pittsburgh. Poems (will) appear in Phantom, Prelude, H_NGM_N, 1913: a journal of forms, and Twelfth House, among others, and also in OmniVerse as a finalist for Omnidawn’s chapbook prize.






Elaina Ellis is a poet and editor in the Pacific Northwest. She’s the author of Write About an Empty Birdcage (Write Bloody Publishing), the founder of TumbleMe Productions, a one-time teacher and director at Bent Writing Institute, and a founding member of the Jewish Voice for Peace Artist Council. Elaina holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles and works at Copper Canyon Press.



Janelle Fine is a queer poet, artist, and performance artist living in Boulder, Colorado with their leopard gecko named Max. They graduated with their MFA from Naropa University and currently work as a book designer. Their poetry and visual art can be found in various online and in print journals. They are the founder and editor of Le Petit Press and are always turning fellow poets’ and writers’ work into small books and art objects. They have an obsession with matchboxes and miniatures and want to spend the rest of their life handcrafting beautiful things.


Jennifer Hanks is the author of Prophet Fever (Hyacinth Girl Press). They were a finalist for Heavy Feather Review’s Double Take Poetry Prize, judged by Dorothea Lasky, and have two chapbooks, gar child (Tree Light Books) and Ghost Skin (Porkbelly Press), forthcoming in 2016. Their poetry and nonfiction appear or are forthcoming in Arcadia, Gigantic Sequins, Bone Bouquet, HOUSEGUEST, and elsewhere. An associate editor for Sundress Publications, they live in New Orleans with their fiancée and tweet @corsetofscales.  Donate to Jennifer Here!



Sally J. Johnson received her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she served as Managing Editor for the award-winning literary journal Ecotone. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in the Collagist, Bodega, the Pinch, the Manifest-Station, and elsewhere. Recently, she won the 2015 Poetry International Prize judged by Carol Frost, was a finalist for Sycamore Review’s Wabash Prize in Nonfiction, and winner of Madison Review’s 2015 Phyllis Smart-Young Prize for Poetry. She works as a freelance publicist and part-time instructor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Find her online: @sallyjayjohnson and Donate to Sally Here!

Taylor Johnson is a poet from Washington, DC. They’ve received fellowships from Callaloo, the Vermont Studio Center, and Lambda Literary. Their work appears in the most recent issue of the minnesota review. They are currently working on their first collection of poems. Donate to Taylor Here!




Steven Riel is the author of one full-length collection of poetry, Fellow Odd Fellow (Trio House, 2014), as well as three chapbooks: How to Dream, The Spirit Can Crest, and most recently, Postcard from P-town, which was selected as runner-up for the inaugural Robin Becker Chapbook Prize and published in 2009 by Seven Kitchens Press. His poems have appeared in several anthologies and numerous periodicals, including The Minnesota Review and International Poetry Review. Christopher Bursk named him the 2005 Robert Fraser Distinguished Visiting Poet at Bucks County Community College. He received an MFA in 2008 from New England College. (photo credit: John Burke)

Brian Rigg’s poems have appeared in a number of publications including: Grain Magazine, Windsor Review, Canadian Dimension, Descant, and Fireweed. They were also included in two anthologies: Ma’ka: Diasporic Juks: Contemporary Writing by Queers of African Descent and Seminal: The Anthology of Canada’s Gay Male Poets. A False Paradise, his first collection of poetry, was published by ECW Press (2001). He is currently working on a new collection of poetry, titled Guerrilla.


Julia Tranchina is a writer, poet, and municipal employee. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in places like The Rusty Toque, Bone Bouquet, Monkeybicycle, Permafrost and Juked. She was born, raised, and lives still, in San Jose, California (before it was never cool) with her wife and four-year-old twins. To find more of her work, please visit





Wayne Bund was born in Portland Oregon, and raised on a small farm in Boring. He is an interdisciplinary artist working in photography, performance, painting, and writing. He created the word Lumbertwink, which is a quarterly dance party for lovers of plaid and beards. He holds an MFA in Visual Studies from PNCA, and an MS in Teaching from Pace University. He has exhibited and performed internationally and locally. He is currently working on a full length solo performance called Sass Manifesto, about his drag persona Feyonce, Tina Turner, and Judith Butler. He currently works as a Kindergarten Teacher.

Catherine Frost is a sonically inclined playwright from Washington, DC. She recently graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California with a major in Africana Studies and a Theatre minor. Her work often focuses on radical pershonhood. Her favorite sitcoms are Smart Guy and Living Single. Donate to Catherine Here!


Keelay Gipson is a multi-disciplinary artist including work as an actor, filmmaker, director and award-winning playwright. His play What I Tell You in the Dark was recently selected as a Premiere Stages Playwriting Festival Finalist. His work as a playwright has been seen at the Wild Project, HERE Arts Center, Loft227, 133rd Street Arts Center, The Theater at Alvin Ailey, Tom Noonan’s Paradise Factory, Pace University, SCENE, The University of Houston, The National Black Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights’ Theater and New York Theatre Workshop. He is a playwriting fellow with The Amoralists Theater Company’s ‘Wright Club, a Rising Circle Theater Collective INKTank Semi-Finalist, and a finalist for NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and NYC Administration for Children’s Services Artist in Residence Program. As Co-Artistic Director of The Oneness Project he means to explore questions focusing on social injustice through various performance based mediums.

Jeremy O’Brian is a Mississippi native and Master’s candidate in African and African Diaspora Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. His work centers black queer subjects in the south, black family life, and the black everyday. He is a graduate of Tougaloo College where he co-produced his first theatrical production- Tongues Untied: A Compilation of Theatrical Acts on Black Self-Identity. His greatest hope is to create art that will have lasting implications and influences on the way black queer subjects in the south are represented and made visibleDonate to Jeremy 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 works El Niño and Housewarming had concert readings at The Culver Center for the Arts as part of the Latina/o Play Project in Riverside earlier this year. Donate to Javier Here!


Georgette Kelly is a playwright with networks in New York and Chicago. Her play Ballast was on The Kilroys List 2015 and was a finalist for the 2015 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. Her play F*ck la vie d’artiste received the 2014 Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award. Other plays include: In the Belly of the Whale, how to hero, I Carry Your Heart, and Lighthousekeeping. Her work has appeared at The Kennedy Center, NNPN, The Source Festival, The Alliance Theatre, terraNOVA Collective, Taffety Punk, Diversionary Theatre, Capital Stage, TOSOS, Prologue Theatre, New Leaf Theatre, and Chicago’s DCASE. B.A. Northwestern University; M.F.A Hunter College. GeorgetteKelly.comDonate to Georgette Here!

Hannah Merrill is a feminist playwright, religious mystic, and history enthusiast from the Pacific Northwest. She’s a fan of labor unions, folktales, and the steampunk aesthetic. As an Associate Playwright with Parley Productions, her plays Triceratops Love Song and The Orchid and the Skull have been produced as workshops. Her work often focuses on coming of age in an unjust society, playfulness as an antidote to grief, and marginalized forms of love, frequently through a lens of magical realism. Currently, she attends Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Donate to Hannah Here!

Kristian O’Hare’s plays have been produced or developed at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Ruckus Theatre, Ringwald Theatre, Ivy Theatre Company, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Sanguine Theatre Company, and Headlands Center of the Arts. His plays have been semifinalists at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and Seven Devils Playwrights Conference.  His full-length play Like Poetry had a successful run in the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival. The New York Times called it “a highly promising production…beautifully structured, with an impressive blend of poignancy and humor.”  Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of English at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN.

Photo by: Nicole Myles

Azure D. Osborne­-Lee is a theatre maker and arts administrator from South of the Mason-Dixon Line. He holds an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama as well as an MA in Women’s & Gender Studies and a BA in English & Spanish from The University of Texas at Austin. Azure is an inaugural Field Leadership Fund Arts Manager Fellow (2015-2017) as well as an alumnus of both Rising Circle Theater Collective’s INKtank (2014) and EMERGENYC, the Hemispheric New York Emerging Performers Program (2014). Azure has held playwriting residences with Brooklyn Community Pride Center (2015), New Shoes Theatre (2011), and Freedom Train Productions (2010), and he was recently awarded the 2015 Mario Fratti-Fred Newman Political Play Award for his first full-length play, “Mirrors.” He has performed at BRIC, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), HERE Arts Center, BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Learn more here. Donate to Azure Here!

Baruch Porras Hernandez is currently working on three full length plays, and a solo play. His solo play currently titled ¡Agárrate! is being developed for production by a grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission for Individual Theatre Artists. His last solo play When I Was a Color Kid debuted at Marga Gomez’s PERFORMERAMA at Oasis SF-2015. His first solo show Reasons to Stay On The Ground was performed at the National Queer Arts Festival in 2010. His first children’s play Rosita y La Llorona was produced by Sonoma State University in 2003. His ten-page play, Apex of Friendzone was recently published by The Santa Ana River Review. He has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Sonoma State University and is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry-2014. Mr. Porras Hernandez’s poetry can be found in several anthologies and regularly hosts poetry shows in San Francisco where he lives. To find out more to go to

Chris Puglisi is a playwright and poet from Phoenix, Arizona. He is a proud VONA/Voices alum. His work focuses on the intersections of blackness, queerness, and memory. He is in his fourth year at Oberlin College, where he majors in Africana Studies.


Charles Stephens is a writer and activist. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Counter Narrative Project and co-editor of the anthology Black Gay Genius: Answering Joseph Beam’s Call. His writings have appeared in the anthologies: Think Again, If We Have to Take Tomorrow, For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Still Not Enough and publications such as Georgia Voice, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Lambda Literary Review, Creative Loafing, and RH Reality Check.






Photo by: Yuska Tuanakotta

Celeste Chan is a queer artist, activist, writer, and filmmaker, schooled by DIY and immigrant parents from Malaysia and the Bronx, NY. She makes experimental and hybrid genre work. Her recent writing can be found in AWAY, cream city review’s genrequeer folio, and the Glitter & Grit Anthology. In addition to her own practice, Chan curates, collaborates, and creates platforms to amplify fellow artists. Alongside KB Boyce, she directs Queer Rebels, a queer and trans people of color arts project. She’s a contributing editor to Foglifter, a new literary journal of queer form & content. Chan is thrilled to launch new projects in 2016. She is collaborating with Elliat Graney-Saucke to create ART Heart: Children of Riot Grrrl and Beyond, an experimental documentary (est. completion 2018). Her multimedia solo show, (Re)generation, debuts June 15 and 16 at SAFEhouse (Saving Art From Extinction) in San Francisco. Learn more about Celeste here! Donate to Celeste Here!


Sarah Fonseca is a nonfictionist living in Brooklyn. Her work has been shared at the Queer Memoir Reading Series, SOLANUS, and in the digital pages of Autostraddle, Medium, and BuzzFeed. She is currently working on a collection of short essays on impostresses throughout history, both personally and culturally known. Fonseca regularly swaps her pen out for an olympic barbell. When she’s not writing for publication or tumblr, she competes in the USAPL.



Liz Demi Green is a writer, performer and educator. She is a professor at Los Medanos College and has taught Spoken Word Poetry (and others) at the San Francisco Art Institute. She is a Content Writer for The Body is Not an Apology and was a Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction. She is an Advisory Board Member of Liminal: A Feminist and Womanist Writing Space in Oakland, and is wrapping up her first novel, The Ella Verse, a YA LGBT SciFi and CliFi saga. She has been published in Sinister Wisdom, Foglifter, Truthout, TBINAA, Sparkle and Blink, and others.



Sarah Jiménez is a fiction writer obsessed with the glory and growing pains of adolescence. The young adult trilogy she is currently working on centers around teen pregnancy, and three cousins’ mutual desire of leaving behind their small suburbia hometown. Sarah received her MFA in Fiction/Creative Writing from Mills College in 2015, and is thrilled to return to Lambda as a Writer in Residence. Donate to Sarah Here!


C. Kevin Smith was a Lambda Fellow in 2007 and 2013 and is thrilled to return in 2016 as a Writer in Residence. In May, he will receive an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he is an Iowa Arts Fellow. His work has appeared in The Sun, Alimentum, and the Redwood Coast Review, and has won awards from the Arch & Bruce Brown Foundation, the Carl Cherry Center, and the Templeton Foundation. When he is not in Iowa, he lives with his husband Jeff and their cat Joshua in Big Sur, California. Kevin is also a certified instructor of Tai Chi and Qigong. 


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