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Introducing Lambda Literary’s 2019 Emerging Writers Retreat Fellows

Introducing Lambda Literary’s 2019 Emerging Writers Retreat Fellows

Author: William Johnson

July 3, 2019

The 2019 Class of the Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices will spend a week in Los Angeles, August 4-11, 2019 working on their manuscripts in workshops led by some of our community’s leading LGBTQ 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!

FICTION – Faculty: Tim Murphy

Jamiece Adams is a queer writer and high school teacher based in Chicago. She earned her MFA in fiction at Columbia College Chicago. Recently she worked on a multidisciplinary project, Take Care, which examined the roles of intimacy and correspondence; her poem is featured in the limited-edition artist book. Currently, she’s working on a collection of short stories that examines the nature of childhood, friendship, and family by questioning the ways that “home” constructs who we are and who we aren’t. Some of these stories have been published in Hair Trigger, Rabbit: Nonfiction Poetry Journal, The Lindenwood Review, and forthcoming to Hypertext Magazine.

David Aloi is a writer living in Los Angeles. He received his MFA in fiction from California College of the Arts and has worked at McSweeney’s, ScholarMatch, Medium, and Grindr. His writing has appeared in The Rumpus, Flaunt, INTO, Cuepoint, and Switchback, and is forthcoming from CutBank Online. He was recently awarded a 2019 MacDowell Fellowship for fiction and is currently finishing a book of stories about modern (gay) life.

Joe Baumann’s fiction and essays have appeared in Electric Literature, Electric Spec, On Spec, Barrelhouse, Zone 3, Hawai’i Review, Eleven Eleven, and many others. He is the author of Ivory Children, published in 2013 by Red Bird Chapbooks. He possesses a PhD in English from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. He currently teaches and directs the creative writing program at St. Charles Community College in Cottleville, Missouri.
Scott Broker is a queer writer currently based in Columbus, Ohio. His work has been a finalist for the Iowa Review Fiction Prize, an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s “Fiction Open” Contest, and a nominee for two Pushcart Prizes. His stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Catapult, Hobart, Passages North, The Rumpus, and DIAGRAM, among others. Currently, he is an MFA candidate in fiction at Ohio State University. More information can be found at, or on Twitter @scottjbroker.
Joseph Cáceres is a writer from New York whose work investigates the relationship between language, race, (homo)sexuality, and capitalism in America. His fiction has been published in Slice, Cosmonauts Avenue, and CURA Literary Magazine. He is currently working on a novel.
Chekwube Danladi was born in Lagos, Nigeria and raised in Washington, D.C. and West Baltimore. Their chapbook, Take Me Back, was included as part of the New-Generation African Poets: Nne boxset. They have received support from Callaloo, Kimbilio, the Vermont Studio Center, Hedgebrook, and the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. They are currently at work on a novel about queers living in Abuja, Nigeria.
Jeremy Lybarger is a writer and editor in Chicago. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Esquire, The Paris Review, The Nation, The Baffler, Art in America, OUT, Mother Jones, The New Republic, The California Sunday Magazine, and many others. He is the features editor at the Poetry Foundation and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. He is currently working on a novel and a collection of short stories.
Damitri Martinez is a writer from Denver, Colorado. He was a high school English teacher for six years before he decided to fully embrace creative writing. He holds a BA and MA in English Literature. His first publication was with Lambda-nominated Foglifter Press, and he has a second, forthcoming story appearing in the 2019 Fall issue of Foglifter. He continues to write short stories and work on his novel, among other creative projects.
Eloghosa Osunde is a writer and visual artist. She’s a 2017 recipient of the Miles Morland Scholarship, which was awarded to her to write her debut novel. Her writing has been published in a number of places, including Catapult, Longreads and Berlin Quarterly, and her visual art exhibited across four continents. She is also working on a short story collection, and is now represented by the Wiley Agency. When not in her work, Eloghosa can be found on a dancefloor somewhere, moving into the morning. You can find her work at
Joshunda Sanders is the award-winning author of five books, most recently I Can Write the World, a book for children praised by international bestselling author Jacqueline Woodson as “lovely and timely.” She has won fellowships and scholarships to attend the Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing, Hedgebrook and Key West Literary Seminars. In 2018, she won a fiction grant award from the Bronx Council on the Arts. She lives in New York City.
Anthony Veasna So is a queer boy, a Cambodian-American son of former refugees, and a graduate of Stanford University. From Stockton, CA, he was raised on stories of the Khmer Rouge Genocide that often, somehow, ended on a joke. His prose and comics have appeared in n+1, Hobart, and Ninth Letter. Currently, he is a PD Soros Fellow and an MFA Candidate in Fiction at Syracuse University, where he was awarded a University Fellowship and the Joyce Carol Oates Award for Fiction. He is at work on a novel and a collection of stories interspersed with comics.
Milo Todd writes trans historical fiction based on people and events that have often been distorted, erased, or cis-washed. He’s presented at Muse and the Marketplace and the Boston Book Festival, and is an instructor at GrubStreet in Boston. He’s an alum of GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator Program, where he worked as a Pechet Fellow on THE FALCON OF DOVES, a work of historical fiction about a trans pirate and his surrogate cis father.

YOUNG ADULT – Faculty: Benjamin Alire Sáenz

J K Chukwu is a half Nigerian, half Detroitian writer from the Midwest. Her writing is rooted in examining the strangeness, depravity, and trauma that is contained in everyday life. Currently, she is attending Brown University for her MFA in Fiction. Her audio essay “Love Sounds”, published by A Velvet Giant, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has presented her writing and art at University of Wisconsin-Madison, National Louis University, UC Berkeley, and the University of Maryland. Her personal essay is forthcoming in the Black Warrior Review. Find her on Twitter @sadgrossbitch.
Hannah Abigail Clarke is here and queer, etc. They have been previously published in PRISM international and Portland Review, and his first novel, The Scapegracers, debuts in 2020 via Erewhon Books with two sequels to follow. They’re attending the University of Chicago come fall to pursue a Master’s Degree, specifically studying the interrelatedness of monstrosity and queerness in fiction. She reads tarot for cash in her spare time.
Tiff Ferentini is an Associate Editor at Penguin Random House, Advocacy Chair of Penguin Random House’s LGBTQ Network ERG, Marketing Manager for Monkey Business: New Writing From Japan, and former President of the LGBTQ Writers Caucus of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). A graduate of Manhattanville College’s MFA Program, their writing has appeared in The Gambler; Off the Rocks: The LGBTQ Anthology of Newtown Writers Press; and Songs of My Selfie: An Anthology of Millennial Writing. They are currently working on their debut novel, the first book in a young adult historical fiction trilogy. They live in New York and on Twitter @Ferenteeny.
John Gregan‘s writing career peaked in the eighth grade, when his crush read one of his short stories and texted him “Haha that was cool.” Since then John has graduated from college, won a queer studies writing contest, and written a novella, but nothing has ever beaten that middle-school high. Still, he remains hopeful for his next project, a YA novel about a trans teenager traveling from Los Angeles to Roswell in search of aliens.
Naseem Jamnia received their AB from the University of Chicago and MS from DePaul University, both in the biological sciences, and left their neuroscience PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania after the 2016 US presidential election. They’re the coauthor of Positive Interactions With At-Risk Children (Routledge, 2019), were the 2018 Bitch Media Fellow in Technology, and have written for outlets like The Washington Post, The Rumpus, Cosmopolitan, and more. A native Chicagoan, Naseem now lives in Reno with their spouse, dog, and two cats, where they’re working towards their fiction MFA at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Charles Jensen is the author of the poetry collection Nanopedia and six chapbooks of poems. His first collection, The First Risk, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. He received the 2018 Zócalo Poetry Prize, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, the 2007 Frank O’Hara Chapbook Award, the Red Mountain Review Chapbook Award, and an Artist’s Project Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. His poetry has appeared in American Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Field, The Journal, New England Review, and Prairie Schooner. He lives in Los Angeles and directs the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension.
Waverly SM is a queer, agender, autistic writer living in Oxford, England. They studied English Literature at Cambridge University, where they worked on martyrdom in medieval saints’ lives and on madness in the works of Tennessee Williams. Their work can be found all over the internet, and will appear in Stim: An Autism Anthology in 2020. They’re currently working on a YA novel about queer kids fighting a god at the end of days, in which the real cosmic horror is the ambient trauma of living in the world. They live on Twitter at @waverly_sm.
Charlie Miller is a New York born, Boston based, and Baltimore bound writer, scholar, educator, and aspiring disney villain who is dedicated to youth and youth literature from many angles. He received his BFA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College in 2014 and just graduated from Simmons University with an MLS and an MA in Children’s Literature. He is interested in representations of queerness, mental illness, disability, and religion in youth literature, particularly in fantasy and horror. Right now, he is working on a novel about a queen bee, a doppelgänger, and the complexities of trans male experience.
Jazlyn Patricio-Archer is a queer, mixed Filipina from the Bay Area. Jazlyn writes fiction for young queer romantics of color. She believes deeply in writing stories where we get to be happy and alive, brown and queer, all at once. In addition, she is a femme urban farmer, taiko player, and pop music evangelist. Jazlyn is currently at work building a cookware brand that centers on storytelling and product-making around immigrant and indigenous food traditions launching this August.
Khaliah Peterson-Reed is from Newark, New Jersey. She lived in Washington D.C. while she earned her B.A. in English at Howard University. She currently lives in Los Angeles and is a PhD student in English Literature at the University of Southern California. Her work has focused on mental health, specifically the mental health of African American teens and young adults including but not limited to depression, anorexia, and PTSD. In 2016 she won first place in the Tuckson Health Connections 2016 Healing Stories contest for her short story “Jagged Little Girl.” When she isn’t writing, she’s handmaking journals that she’ll never have the time to write in.
Joseph Jess Rey is a queer Chicano writer, born and raised in Los Angeles. He recently received his B.A. in Literature from UCLA, where he presented about Queer Latinx Characters in YA at the QScholars Research Symposium, as well as a spoken-word piece at UCLA’s first Latino Film Festival. He writes fiction and poetry but is currently working on a poetry collection that focuses on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and race criticism. He plans to contribute many queer stories to the world! Find him talking about Buffy or queer things on twitter @JosephJessRey.
Todd Wellman received his MA in writing from UW-Milwaukee and served as fiction editor for cream city review. Current manuscripts: a middle-grade fantasy that reveals where flight really comes from; several picture books that celebrate quirks; a young-adult novel that may or may not feature real magic spells; and a horror screenplay buzzing with some nasty toxic masculinity. Writing has appeared in The James Franco Review, Lunch Ticket, Indie Next Lists, The Missouri Review blog, and more. By day, Todd supports a Milwaukee-area nonprofit leadership program; and implores people to shop at independent bookstores. Twitter: @toddwe // Web:

NONFICTION – Faculty: Linda Villarosa

Tahirah Alexander Green Living in their hometown of Washington, DC, Tahirah is a literary artist and cultural organizer. As a writer, they’re passionate about celebrating Black queer weirdos in their work. When they’re not creating, Tahirah is binge reading comics and proselytizing about the joys of snuggles. Learn more about them at, and support them at
Thomas Dai lives and writes in Providence, Rhode Island, where he is working towards his Ph.D. at Brown. Before moving to the Ocean State, he taught English in China, got his MFA from the University of Arizona, and studied Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. His writing and photography have appeared or are forthcoming in Guernica, The Southern Review, Lithub, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. You can find out more about his work at
Vero González is a queer femme-inist writer and translator from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She has a MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop (Dean’s Graduate Fellow) and a BFA from Pratt Institute (Thesis Prize in Fiction).  She has received support from A Room of Her Own Foundation (Touching Lives Fellow, 2015) as well as Hedgebrook and the Rona Jaffe Foundation (Hedgebrook/Rona Jaffe Inaugural Fellow, 2018). Vero is currently a Neighborhood Programs Fellow for GrubStreet.  She lives in Boston, where she is working on a hybrid book about intergenerational trauma, colonialism, and healing.
Faylita Hicks is a writer and mobile photographer living in San Marcos, Texas and writing nonfiction/poetry about social media and social justice for the queer black femme. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Sierra Nevada College in 2018 and is the Managing Editor of Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She was a finalist in the 2018 PEN America Writing for Justice Fellowship and Palette Poetry’s 2019 Spotlight Award. She is a 2019 Jack Jones Literary Arts “Culture, Too” Gender/Sexuality Fellow and her work has appeared in Slate, HuffPost, POETRY, The Rumpus, The Cincinnati Review, and others. Her debut poetry collection, HoodWitch, is forthcoming Fall 2019 from Acre Books.

DeLon Howell lives and writes in Los Angeles, where he works in communications, occasionally participated in readings, and workshops regularly with a trusted crew of talented writers. His work has appeared in Hypertext Magazine, snapdragon: a journal of aft & healing, Stonecoast Review, Tahoma Literary Review, and Wanderlust Journal. He has previously been a recipient of the Esalen Emerging Writers Fellowship.

Nicole Shawan Junior (Smith College BA | Pace University MST | Temple University JD) was born & bred in the bass-heavy beat & scratch of Brooklyn, where the Bed-Stuy cool of beautiful inner-city life barely survived the cripplings caused by crack cocaine. She’s a multi-genre counter-storyteller, felon and womynxst. Her writing is featured in Gay Magazine, For Harriet, The Feminist Wire, and more. The Hurston/Wright Foundation, African Voices, Black Film Space, and others have supported her work. She’s a 2019 NeON Arts Teaching Artist grant recipient, a SAFTA Fellow and a 2018 finalist for The Brooklyn Arts Festival’s Nonfiction Prize. Learn more by visiting

Tovah Leibowitz is a film and television editor, essayist, and screenwriter based in Brooklyn, NY. He has worked with legendary producers Spike Lee, James Cameron, Amy Schumer and his most recent editorial credits include Comedy Central’s Broad City and tbs’ Search Party. His essays have been featured on Autostraddle, Harlot Magazine, and Fist Zine. Tovah is currently

working on a forthcoming memoir on trans-sexuality, pornography and pleasure, and new modes of sexual emancipation that do not demand redemption or redress.

Charlotte Marchant was born and raised in New York with working class activist roots. She is a Lesbian still trying to figure out the world but now seeing it through the lens of a 70 year old. She has a blog/memoir based on 100 letters from her father written from 1963-1976 and on her own activism in the Sixties. She has read excerpts to enthusiastic audiences at Dixon Place in NYC and in San Francisco. Check out her blog at and sign up for future posts.

Martin Padgett has written books, features, product reviews, and news for 30 years, and still finds a blank page invigorating—and intimidating. He is the editorial director for Internet Brands Automotive, where he runs websites that include TheCarConnection, GreenCarReports, and MotorAuthority. He has written for Details, Outside, BusinessWeek, Men’s Health and Creative Loafing, on topics that have ranged from single mothers in pursuit of sole custody, to the prison labor that trains wild horses for adoption, the novel legal defenses of Atlanta strip clubs, the best dive bars in the French Quarter (RIP Flanagan’s), and the economic effects of self-driving cars. He earned his MFA in narrative nonfiction writing from the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He lives in Atlanta and Pensacola Beach with his husband, three cats, and an overflowing file of future story ideas. He will forever be #TeamKatya.
Sabrina Sarro Quick-witted and emotionally investigative, Sabrina can often be found rocking their poly-chromatic flower clogs and utilizing their sharp teeth. They are a fierce person of color who brings an unmatched sense of charisma and curiosity to all situations. They currently live in NYC and work as a program coordinator and psychotherapist. They have been a participant of the Santa Barbara’s Writers’ Conference, the Yale Writer’s Conference, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. They have received scholarships/fellowships from The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing and the Squaw Valley Writers’ Conference.
Zach Shultz is a higher education administrator in New York City and a freelance writer. His work has appeared in the Rumpus, Brevity, Entropy, Huffington Post, INTO, The Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide, and more. He received a master’s in Latin American Studies from Tulane University in New Orleans and a bachelor’s in Spanish and Sociology from the University of Kentucky. He’s currently working on a book-length project about AIDS and gentrification in New York City told through the story of one almost famous playwright and historical preservationist who died in the 90s.

POETRY – Faculty: Danez Smith

Maya Arthur is a writer and novice archivist/artist/researcher. She completed her BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania in May 2018. During her time at Penn, she gardened in a Victorian cemetery, started a zine library, discussed witches at length, and held seances. Her writing seeks to find cohesion through the collision and estrangement of genre, perspective, and mobility. She currently publicizes books in New York but will soon be returning to her favorite city—Philly!

Levi Bentley is an artist member at Vox Populi. They teach workshops, most notably through Bluestoop, write for Artblog, and make publications with friends. “Bucolic Eclogue” was released from Lamehouse Press in July 2016.  Chapbooks “Obstacle, Particle, Spectacle,” “&parts”, and “Stub Wilderness” were released from 89plus/LUMA Foundation, Damask Press, and Well Greased Press, respectively. Vitrine released their tape “Red Green Blue.” Poems have appeared through Apiary, Bedfellows, BlazeVOX,  Elective Affinities, Fact-Simile, Gigantic Sequins, Madhouse, Maestra Vida, Magic Pictures, Painted Bride Quarterly, Stillwater Review, The Wanderer, and a variety of other venues.

Cori Bratby-Rudd is a queer LA-based writer and co-founder of Influx Collectiv(e)’s Queer Poetry Reading Series. She graduated Cum Laude from UCLA’s Gender Studies department, and received her MFA in Creative Writing from California Institute of the Arts. She has been published in Ms. Magazine, The Gordian Review, Califragile, PANK Magazine, Entropy, Crab Fat Magazine, among others. She won the Editorial Choice Award for her research paper in Audeamus Academic Journal and was nominated as one of Lambda Literary’s 2018 Emerging Writers. Her manuscript Dis/owned: Confessions of a Frankgaybe is a semi-finalist for YesYes Book’s 2019 Pamet River Prize. You can find her at

Imani Davis is a queer Black miracle from Brooklyn. A Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, they are a recipient of fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Stadler Center for Literary Arts. Their poetry appears with Rookie, PBS News Hour’s Brief But Spectacular Series, The Adroit Journal, Winter Tangerine, and elsewhere. Notably, they have performed at the Teen Vogue Activism Summit, the Apollo Theater, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Nuyorican Poets Café. They currently study at the University of Pennsylvania, where they serve as Outreach Coordinator for the Kelly Writers House. For more of their work, see

Kay Gabriel is a poet and essayist. She’s the author of Elegy Department Spring / Candy Sonnets 1 (BOAAT Press, 2017), the finalist for the 2016 BOAAT Chapbook Prize selected by Richard Siken. She’s also a 2018-19 Emerge-Surface-Be Fellow at the Poetry Project and a PhD Candidate at Princeton University. With Andrea Abi-Karam she’s co-editing an anthology of radical trans poetics, forthcoming in 2020 from Nightboat Books. Find her recent work in The Brooklyn Rail, Salvage, The Believer, and Social Text.

Benjamin Garcia works in HIV/HCV/STD and opioid overdose prevention in the Finger Lakes region of New York. He had the honor of being the 2017 Latinx Scholar at the Frost Place, 2018 CantoMundo Fellow at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and winner of the 2018 Puerto Del Sol Poetry Contest. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in: The Missouri Review, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Kenyon Review, Crazyhorse, and Best New Poets 2018. Find him on twitter: @bengarciapoet

MARS Marshall is a writer and cultural organizer born and raised in Detroit. Their work has been published in Obsidian Literature & Arts for the African Diaspora, Michigan Quarterly Review: The Mixtape, Foglifter Journal, Gertrude Press, and elsewhere.

Matthew Thompson is a writer & filmmaker from Cleveland, Ohio living in Brooklyn, NY. Poems, essays, and his mama’s church plays brought him to writing. Also can’t discount the time he spent riffing in highschool math classes. Born out of midwest existential worlds his work thinks through sanity, sex, religion, music, nostalgia. Matthew is a graduate of The New School’s writing program. You can find his things in The Seventh Wave, Racebaitr, NBCC blog, Brooklyn Magazine, Juked Poetry, and elsewhere. Matthew has performed and shown his filmwork across the U.S. and internationally including: Melrose Ballroom, Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, Pratt Institute, Godsbanen Museum, and Apache Cafe. Matthew is currently a Writer-In-Residence at Teachers & Writers Magazine. Also mentoring with St. Ann’s School and Urban Word NYC. Connect with his headspace @blondemattmatt on Instagram and Twitter.

Jesús I. Valles is a queer Mexican immigrant, educator, storyteller, and performer based in Austin, Texas, originally from Cd. Juarez, México. As an actor and theatremaker, Jesús is the recipient of four B. Iden Payne awards, including Outstanding Original Script and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for their autobiographical solo show, (Un)Documents. (Un)Documents was also nominated for five Austin Critics’ Table Awards, including the David Mark Cohen Award for Best New Play. Jesús is a recipient of the 2019 Letras Latinas Scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, a poetry fellow at Idyllwild Arts Writers Week, and a recipient of a 2019 Fine Arts Work Center scholarship. Jesús is also a 2018 Undocupoets Fellow, a 2018 Tin House Scholar, a fellow of The 2018 Poetry Incubator, the runner-up in the 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Contest, and a finalist of the 2016 Write Bloody Poetry Contest. Their work has been published in The Shade Journal, The Texas Review, The New Republic, Palabritas, The Acentos Review, Quarterly West, and The Mississippi Review. Jesús is a proud member of The VORTEX Repertory Company, Shrewd Productions, and executive board member for Teatro Vivo, and has also worked with Scottish Rite Theater, Lucky Chaos, and Glam Fam.  Jesús currently teaches social and emotional learning to high school students, focusing on those recently arrived to the U.S.

Syd Westley (they/them) is a queer, mixed-race, non-binary poet currently pursuing their BA from Stanford. They are from the Bay Area, have lived on stolen Ohlone land all their life, and are very interested in the trans-generational effects caused and sustained by Japanese American internment. They love lavender and sleep and are (and always will be) mourning the loss of their recently passed grandmother, Edna Mashihara.
Mia S. Willis is a Black performance poet from Charlotte, North Carolina. Their work has been featured by or is forthcoming in FreezeRay, Curating Alexandria, WORDPEACE, Peculiar, Foothill, Button Poetry, and Slamfind. Mia was the recipient of the 2018 Foothill Editors’ Prize for their poem “hecatomb,” which was subsequently nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for inclusion in Best New Poets 2018. They ranked fourth out of 96 femme poets at the 2018 Women of the World Poetry Slam and placed fifth out of 150 poets at the 2018 Southern Fried Poetry Slam. Mia was a member of Tender Bitch, the winning team at the 2018 Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam Tournament, and they are the first two-time Capturing Fire Slam Champion (2018, 2019). Mia was also named a 2019 Lambda Literary Fellow in Poetry as well as the 2019 Young Artist Fellow at ChaShaMa’s ChaNorth residency in Pine Plains, NY. Their debut poetry collection, monster house., was the 2018 winner of the Cave Canem Foundation’s Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize and is available now with Jai-Alai Books. Connect with Mia on Facebook and Twitter (@poetinthehat).

PLAYWRITING – Faculty: Mfoniso Udofia

Nissy Aya is a Black girl from the Bronx. She and all her younger selves tell stories and tall tales. They lead workshops, too. As an artist and cultural worker, we believe in the transformative nature of storytelling, placing those most affected by oppressive systems in the center, and examining how we move forward through healing and joy. We explore history/memory, time travel, and both the absence and presence of love. The love is mutual between her and a bunch of organizations, feel free to ask which.

John Bavoso is a Washington, DC-based playwright, book and theatre reviewer, marketer, and aspiring wrangler of unicorns. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, a Pinky Swear Productions company member, and the recipient of District of Columbia FY18 and FY19 Arts and Humanities Fellowships. His plays have been produced and/or developed in DC, Virginia, New York, Colorado, Texas, California, Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Washington, Illinois, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, and Arizona; Toronto, Canada; and Gold Coast and Sydney, Australia. For more info, please visit

Darcy Parker Bruce is a playwright and educator from New Haven, CT, and a graduate of the MFA Playwriting program at Smith College. Darcy was the recipient of a 2017 Tennessee Williams Scholarship through the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and was granted ATHE’s 2018 Judith Royer Award For Excellence in Theater, which brought new play SOLDIER POET to Boston. SOLDIER POET was also the 2018 Connecticut State Recipient of Portland Stage’s Clauder Prize. Their play EAST OF THE SUN was published in Summer of 2017 through Applause/ Hal Leonard’s Best American Short Plays. Darcy has most recently been commissioned by Chester Theater Company to write a play for their 2020 Season.

Rhonda Gibson Focused, career minded television writer and playwright, seeks like-minded individuals. Must enjoy creating content for a diversified audience. Must love witty drama and exploring the complexities of the human condition. Horror fans with an ironic sense of humor are welcome to apply. RG is a New York based artist and recipient of UCLA’s Extension’s Phyllis Grebur Award for Television Writers. She is currently working on her third TV pilot. RG is grateful to explore her first full-length play at Lambda Literary’s Writers Retreat this fall. You can support Rhonda here.

Chanel Glover is a former lawyer and special education teacher, with a current focus on screenwriting, playwriting, music, & fiction. In May 2014, she completed an MFA in playwriting at Ohio University. Chanel was a featured playwright in terraNOVA Collective’s Groundbreakers Playwrights Group in 2015. She’s screenwriter for the SEX IS A GOD THING (2014) viral short, and for the upcoming digital series, premiering at the Black Harvest Film Festival in August 2019. Chanel served as co-host/producer of the podcast, OVERQUALIFIED & DRUNK (2016 – SOULE LGBT). She is also co-writer and producer for the quasi-animated digital series, SASHA & CONDI (late 2019).

Edwin Alexis Gómez is a Los Angeles based Queer Nicaraguan-American writer, performer and director. His body of work blends the exquisite pain and resounding beauty of love and life, and becomes its own mythology. Gómez’ one-act play Flower of Anger opened this Spring as part of Q Youth Foundation’s Eastside Queer Stories Festival. His micro short “Quédate Callado” won a Grand Jury Award at the 2018 Outfest Fusion Film Festival, and his second short film “La Sad Boy” was recently named an official selection of this year’s Outfest Film Festival where it will have its world premiere. Gómez is currently working on his forthcoming book of poetry La segunda muerte y otras cosas olvidadas, and is in pre-production for his short film “Joyride” which received a Latino Public Broadcasting grant and follows two teenage sisters who break their grandmother out of her senior living facility for one last joyride.

Shannon TL Kearns is a transgender man who’s playwriting is obsessed with big questions told through small stories. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Uprising Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN. He was awarded a spot in the HBMG Foundations’ Winter Playwright Retreat in 2018 and 2019. He was a finalist for the Equity Library Theatre of Chicago’s Reading Series, the 2019 TransLab, and the American Stages 2019 New Play Festival. Shannon’s plays include Line of Sight, Twisted Deaths, The Resistance of My Skin, and Who Has Eyes To See. 

Sophie Kim (she/her) is an activist, poet, playwright, and filmmaker from Los Angeles. She will attend Harvard University in fall 2020. Kim is the 2018-2019 Los Angeles County Youth Poet Laureate, and her debut poetry book, Sing the Birds Home, comes out June 29, 2019. She recently performed for an audience of over 900 at the 2019 Equity Summit, presented by the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations. She has also performed in support of the California Association of Human Relations Organizations (CAHRO), the LA LGBT Center, and the Los Angeles Public Library.

Kim has also had three original 1-act plays produced at the Harvard-Westlake Playwrights Festival, one of which was named a Finalist in the 33rd Annual California Young Playwrights Contest, an award given to 10 out of 432 submissions. She has participated in the Iowa Young Writers Studio and the Winter Tangerine Online Summer Workshop, and competed in the 2018 Get Lit Classic Slam at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.

Kim has also received multiple awards for her short documentary and experimental films (one of which incorporated original slam poetry). Find her at

Brandon Riley–a Memphis, Tennessee native–is an alumnus of The University of Memphis with a BFA in theatre performance and a BS in chemistry. Recently earning his MFA in dramatic writing at Arizona State University, he has had his plays read and developed in various cities from Phoenix, Arizona to his hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Awards that he has won while a graduate student includes the ASU Special Talent Award, ASU Eirene Peggy Lamb Fellowship, ASU Claire and Henry Sargent Fellowship in Theatre, and the 2018 Fade to Black Theatre Festival Winner. He currently lives in Tempe, Arizona.

Andrew Rosendorf‘s work has been produced or developed at La Jolla, MCC, KC Rep, Signature Theatre, the National New Play Network, Nashville Rep, City Theatre, Geva Theatre, Actor’s Express, and Local Theater Company. He is an alum of NNPN’s Playwright-in-Residence program, the Ingram New Works program, terraNOVA Collective’s Groundbreakers Playwrights Group, and has been a SPACE on Ryder Farm, Tofte Lake Center, VCCA, and MacDowell Colony Fellow. He was a previous McKnight and Jerome Fellow at The Playwrights’ Center. His play, Cottontail, was a runner-up for the Yale Drama Series Award. MFA: The New School for Drama, Playwriting.

Phillip Christian Smith is a runner-up for the inaugural Risk Theatre Modern Tragedy Competition, 2019 Finalist for The Dramatists Guild Fellowship, 2019 Semifinalist for The O’Neill (NPC) and PlayPenn. He has been a semifinalist for Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries (ASC), finalist for Trustus, playwright in residence of Exquisite Corpse and founding member of The Playwriting Collective. His work has been supported by Primary Stages (Cherry Lane) ESPA, Fresh Ground Pepper, the 53rd Street New York Public Library, Forge, Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre. MFA in acting Yale School of Drama, University of New Mexico BFA in acting.


Danny Thanh Nguyen’s short stories and personal essays have appeared in The Journal, South Dakota Review, Entropy, New Delta Review, Gulf Coast, and other magazines. He is editor of AS IS, an anthology of Vietnamese American art and literature, and has been awarded fellowships from Kundiman and Voices of Our Nation Foundation (VONA). Danny recently received an individual artist grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission for his collection of essays about parallel survivalism between Southeast Asian American refugee communities and queer leather communities in the post-AIDS epidemic era. He runs a social media persona project he calls “Sluterary Thirsterature” on Instagram: @engrishlessons.
Lourdes Dolores Follins is a Black queer femme who comes from a long line of intrepid women and working-class strivers. She has published several articles and book chapters about LGBTQI people of color’s health, is the lead editor of the award-winning, ground-breaking book, Black LGBT Health in the United States: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation (Lexington Books, 2016), and was recently published in Rigorous. Lourdes Dolores’s development as a creative nonfiction writer was enhanced by a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellowship. She is using her Lambda Literary Writer-in-Residence to complete a wry and moving memoir about her relationship with her mother.
Aurielle Marie is an essayist, poet, and activist hailing from the Deep South. She’s received invitations to fellowships from Lambda Literary, VONA Voices, and Tin House. Her work is featured or forthcoming in The GuardianAllure MagazineAdroit Journal, Vinyl Poetry, and BOAAT. Aurielle writes about Blackness, bodies, sex and pop culture from a Black feminist lens. Follow her: YesAurielle
William Johnson photo

About: William Johnson

William Johnson is the former Deputy Director of Lambda Literary.

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