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Introducing Lambda Literary’s 2021 Emerging Writer’s Retreat Fellows & Writers-in-Residence

Introducing Lambda Literary’s 2021 Emerging Writer’s Retreat Fellows & Writers-in-Residence

Author: Nicole Shawan Junior

July 6, 2021

The 2021 Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices’ Fellows & Writers-in-Residence will spend August 8th-14th working on their manuscripts in virtual workshops led by some of today’s leading LGBTQIA+ literary artists. Congratulations to our incoming Fellows & Writers-in-Residence!


Aroh Akunth (They/Them) is Dalit Queer Writer-Curator interested in building worlds that center the lived experience of their peoples. They are the current curator of Dalit Queer Project and Dalit Art Archive. Their current literary projects include a short story collection and a literary anthology by the Dalit Queer community. When not trying to catch up with their own thoughts Aroh is found watering their grandmothers plants. Keep up with them on IG at @dalitqueerproject @dalitartarchive @arohakunth  

Cherri Buijk (she/her) finished her MFA at Florida Atlantic University in 2020, where she wrote her first collection of short stories. She has been published in Catamaran Literary Reader, Shirley Magazine, and Foglifter (forthcoming). A native of the Midwest, she is now happy to be a Floridian who lives between an ocean and a swamp.

Arielle Burgdorf is a writer originally from Washington, D.C. They received their MFA from Chatham University in Pittsburgh where they taught in the Words Without Walls program at Allegheny County Jail and were awarded Best Fiction Thesis and the Creative Excellence Award. Their writing has appeared in Tasteful Rude, Maximum Rocknroll, Crab Fat Magazine, X-Ray Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. They are currently pursuing their PhD in Literature at UC Santa Cruz. In their spare time, Arielle loves to skateboard, volunteer with organizations supporting prison abolition, and play bass. You can find them on Instagram @jungle_of_fear

Erica Frederick (she/her) is a queer, Haitian-American writer and an MFA candidate in fiction at Syracuse University. She writes about being brought up by immigrants, brought up in brotherhood, brought up while being big in all the ways there are to be big—in body, in vitriol, in Blackness in Florida suburbia. She was the 2019 VIDA Fellow for the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival and is the 2021 winner of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation College Fiction Award. She’s a child of the internet and ran a quasi-successful fan blog in her teens. You can find her on Twitter @ericafrederick

Rose Himber Howse (she/hers) is a queer writer from North Carolina. She’s currently a Wallace Stegner fellow in fiction at Stanford University and a Steinbeck fellow in fiction at San Jose State University. She earned an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she served as fiction editor of The Greensboro Review. She has received fellowships and residencies from the Millay Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and the Jentel Foundation. Her work appears in Joyland, Hobart, The Carolina Quarterly, Sonora Review, YES! Magazine, and elsewhere. She can be found eating cheese puffs and hanging out with her tabby cat.

Marrion Johnson is a Black, queer writer based out of Oakland, California. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Marrion utilizes fiction to examine the complex realities facing Black communities including memory, lineage, and freedom. Most recently, Marrion earned his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in Fiction from Saint Mary’s College of California. During his time at Saint Mary’s, Marrion advocated for the centering of Black students, Black writing, and Black professors. He is both a Lambda Literary and Risk Press Fellow. Marrion is currently working on his first novel. Twitter: @marrrjjj Instagram: @_marrrrjjj

Jack Kaulfus is the author of the short story collection Tomorrow or Forever (Transgress Press, 2018). Their work has been published in A cappella Zoo, Heavy Feather Review, Barrelhouse, and Off the Rocks, among other journals. Their short story “Rockaway” was listed as a top ten finalist in 2021’s American Short(er) Fiction Prize. Jack was born and raised in small-town Seguin, Texas. They earned a BA from the University of Texas at Austin and sold books in Atlanta before returning to Texas in the early 2000s to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University in San Marcos. Jack teaches high school English in Austin, Texas. They’re also a Fiction Editor at Gertrude Press.

Elaine H. Kim is a queer Korean American fiction writer born and raised in the Midwest. She has won fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the NY Foundation for the Arts, and the Jerome Foundation, and has published work in Joyland, Guernica, So to Speak, and upstreet. She won an Elizabeth George Foundation award at Hedgebrook and was a Wallace Reader’s Digest Fellow at the Millay Colony. Elaine has also been supported by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace program, the Hambidge Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Edward Albee Foundation and the Blue Mountain Center.

David Paul (he/him) is a Bay Area writer and musician. He is an alumnus of the Community of Writers Fiction Workshop, where he studied with Paul Harding, Tom Barbash, and Kirstin Valdez Quade, among others. His fiction explores themes of sexual identity, displacement, and family drama. David lives in San Francisco, where he enjoys eating from food trucks, loitering in secondhand bookstores, and wishing the weather was warmer. He is currently working on a novel and a collection of short stories. His fiction has appeared in ZYZZYVA.

A.M. Rosales is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and translator originally from Cochabamba, Bolivia. They hold a literature degree from George Mason University and their favorite rodent is the capybara. Their work is interested in the mundane experiences of bodies and identities in flux, as well as gender identity at the intersection of colonial and indigenous culture. A Pride Foundation scholar and a recipient of the Oregon Literary Fellowship for Women Writers; a collaborating artist at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and a contributor of original content to the PICA blog, their work has been supported by the Precipice Fund and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. 

Hannah Suchor is a writer from Wisconsin, where they have recently returned to pursue a slower life after receiving their MFA in fiction at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. They are also an educational consultant in Shanghai. Their writing has appeared in Lunch Ticket, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, Typehouse, and elsewhere, and they are currently hard at work on a novel about living under the psychological burden of environmental disaster and a short story collection looking through the funhouse mirror of queerness. They tweet @hannahsuchor and talk about books on Instagram at @inkoneverypage.

Craig Willse (@cwillse) is an editor, writing coach and teacher living between Los Angeles and Brooklyn. His articles and essays have appeared in Truthout, Social Text, ephemera, LTTR, Loud Paper, and elsewhere. He is the author of The Value of Homelessness (University of Minnesota Press) and editor of Beyond Biopolitics (with Patricia Clough), Navigating Neoliberalism (with Soniya Munshi), and a special dossier on Born in Flames for Women and Performance (with Dean Spade). He is working on a few TV pilots and a novel about an unhappy college professor who makes a series of bad decisions. Craig is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, and Street Watch.


Danielle Buckingham, affectionately known as Dani Bee, is a Chicago-born, Mississippi-raised writer and creative based in Oxford, Mississippi. An alum of VONA and the 2020 Hurston Wright Foundation Writer’s Week, Dani’s work has been published or is forthcoming in midnight & indigo literary magazine, Raising Mothers, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere. When Dani isn’t writing or tending to her plants, you can find her talking Black spirituality, growing up in Mississippi, and pop culture on the Hoodoo Plant Mamas podcast. More of her published (and unpublished) writing can be found on her patreon. She is currently a Southern Studies graduate student at the University of Mississippi.

Maria Isabelle Carlos is a writer from Missouri. Winner of the 2021 Academy of American Poets Prize from Vanderbilt University, the 2021 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Poetry Contest, and the 2020 Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Passages North, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net. After receiving her B.A. in English from UNC-Chapel Hill as the Thomas Wolfe Scholar, Maria bartended in New Orleans before attending the M.F.A. program at Vanderbilt University. You can find Maria at

Celeste Chan (she/her) is a writer and filmmaker, schooled by Do-It-Yourself culture and immigrant parents from Malaysia and the Bronx. She founded and directed Queer Rebels, curated experimental film programs for MIX NYC, joined Foglifter Literary Journal as a board member, and toured with Sister Spit. She’s screened films in Austin, Tijuana, Berlin, and her writing can be found in The Rumpus, cream city review’s genrequeer folio, Gertrude, and Citron Review. An alumna of Bread Loaf and Hedgebrook, she’s currently writing her memoir. Her favorite color is leopard-glitter-rainbow.

Dale Corvino’s first publication under his government name was an essay about his grandmother’s friendship with Marilyn Monroe. His meditation on kink enjoys ongoing popularity with the Grindr crowd. In 2018, he won the Gertrude Press contest for Worker Names, a trio of short stories. Recent publications include a feature on Chile’s populist uprising for the Gay & Lesbian Review. His essay “You’ve Got Male” appears in the Matt Keegan project 1996. He contributed a chapter to The Routledge Handbook of Male Sex Work, Culture, and Society. Dale lives in Hell’s Kitchen with his super understanding husband, and Nadia, an Abyssinian who’s into Zoom meetings. twitter and insta: @dalecorvino

Anna Dorn is a writer and former criminal defense attorney living in Los Angeles. She has published two books (Vagablonde and Bad Lawyer) and has one forthcoming (Exalted). Anna also teaches writing online, edits manuscripts freelance, and writes for the internet. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @___adorn.

Ariel Estrella (they/them) is a queer Latinx/e scholar hailing from Queens, NYC. Ariel is pursuing a PhD in Literatures in English at Cornell University, specializing in queer of color lyricism and art. To guide their research and creative work, Ariel asks: what does lyricism offer queer creators of color in the midst of racism and cultural celebration; homophobia and queer kinship; transphobia and gender possibility? And, in turn, what do queer creators of color offer lyrical creative enterprises with their experiments in form? Ariel’s essays and poems have been featured in several anthologies; independent zines; and an undergraduate newspaper column on the politics of love. @arielmestrella

Benjamin Garcia’s first collection, THROWN IN THE THROAT (Milkweed Editions, August 2020), was selected by Kazim Ali for the 2019 National Poetry Series. A son of Mexican immigrants, he received his BA from the University of New Mexico and his MFA from Cornell University. Benjamin had the honor of being a 2019 Lambda Literary fellow, the 2018 CantoMundo Fellow at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and the 2017 Latinx Scholar at the Frost Place Conference on Poetry. He is the winner of the 2018 Puerto del Sol Poetry Contest and the 2019 Julia Peterkin Flash Fiction Contest. His poems and essays have recently appeared or are forthcoming in: AGNI, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, and more.

D. aka Derrick aka @geekandahalf (he/him) is a writer, a librarian, a fan of tacos, golden age hip-hop, coffee, and thought provoking, boundary pushing art. Born and raised in Southern California, he once thought he’d become a pastry chef. He holds degrees from SDSU, Art Center College of Design, LSU, and is an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at American University. His prose appears in Tahoma Literary Review, Orca Literary, SFWP Quarterly, Hobart Pulp, TriQuarterly, the anthology Fat and Queer, and as a finalist for contests at Indiana Review. He is an AWP Intro Journal Project Award winner, a Kimbilio Fiction fellow and an active volunteer for OutWrite DC. He loves to twirl on his haters because life is too short and thinks you should also.

Trystan Reese (he/him) is an established thought leader, educator, and speaker, focusing on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is a professionally trained anti-racism facilitator and curriculum designer, studying under Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington at the Social Justice Training Institute. Trystan has also been organizing with the trans community for nearly two decades and has been on the frontlines of this generation’s biggest fights for LGBTQ justice. Trystan launched onto the global stage as “the pregnant man” in 2017 when his family’s unique journey gained international media attention. He was invited to give closing performances for The Moth Mainstage in Portland, Albuquerque, and Brooklyn.

Court Stroud’s writing often focuses on the clash and fusion of cultures, especially at the intersection of media, entertainment, and diversity. His articles and essays appear in the New York Times, Washington Post, South China Morning Post, Forbes, Narratively and other publications. As an adjunct, he teaches at NYU, Fordham, and Columbia. In 2019, Stroud received a NY Press Association 1st Place Award for an obituary about queer comic Bob Smith. With undergrad degrees in Spanish and Journalism from UT-Austin and an MBA from the Harvard Business School, he’s worked at Univision, Telemundo, TV Azteca and CBS. His husband Eddie Sarfaty was a Lambda Literary Fellow in 2010. TW: @CourtStroudNYC

JET retells and subverts personal myths and anxieties, as well as sends dispatches to loved ones in this world and other realms. Inspired by the expansiveness of humor, speculative storytelling, zines, chapbooks, plays, and pamphlets, JET’s working on a memoir project that takes on a hybrid of those forms. JET’s a founding member of The Josie Club, a digital experience and weekend retreat for Queer Black Womxn. A MFA candidate at Columbia University’s creative writing program with a Non-Fiction concentration, JET lives in Harlem, though she was raised in New York’s Lower East side. Find JET on Instagram at @izdabes, where she has leaned into her Queer-Fashionable-Auntie-Socialite aesthetic.

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Miami. She is a fiction editor at TriQuarterly and a writer for Autostraddle. Her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Catapult, The Offing, Joyland, and others. Her pop culture writing—which usually focuses on queer film and TV—is published in The Cut, The A.V. Club, Vulture, Refinery29, Vice, and more. When she gets stuck while writing, she turns to cooking for a distraction, and she previously worked as a restaurant reporter for Eater NY. She attended the 2020 Tin House Summer Workshop for short fiction. Find her on social media @KaylaKumari


Lulu is a queer playwright raised and based in Philly. Their current plays (under development) explore modern sexuality and gender identity, hoping to engage with messiness and ambiguity. Main goal though is a good joke. Lulu studied playwriting and queer theory at Bard College, and is currently in graduate school to become a psychotherapist. Lulu is passionate about fighting for the autonomy of sex workers who use drugs through their 5+ years helping run a mutual-aid based harm reduction group. When not too burnt out and cranky, Lulu can be found watching a 76ers game while contemplating going to a queer dance party. They can also be found ranting on twitter: @queerwhosneers.

Jaime Estepa (@_jaimest) is a queer, Filipino American spoken word artist, playwright, and aspiring TV writer who grew up on unceded Southern Paiute land (Las Vegas, NV). He has performed spoken word in venues across Southern California including the La Jolla Playhouse, and his play, The Mojave, earned a staged reading at The Old Globe’s 2020 Powers New Voices Festival. In collaboration with The Old Globe and Diversionary Theatre, other short plays by Estepa appeared in San Diego’s 2020 Virtual Pride. He is descended from 20th century migrant Filipino/a/x laborers who worked on Alaskan fishing boats and the farms of Hawai’i and Northern California. He swears some must’ve been queer, too.

Rukmini Girish (she/her) grew up in Chennai, India, and lives in Chicago, Illinois. After studying sociology and creative writing (Augustana College, Columbia College Chicago), while working on as much theatre as she could, she still hasn’t shaken a fascination with how we perform our various identities. She’s published nonfiction in Essay Daily and Litro Magazine, and performed solo work at the Chicago Theatre Marathon. Her solo piece ABCD was developed through Piven Theatre’s Lab Series. Find her sitting by the lake after a long bike ride on a perfect summer’s day. @rukmini_girish

Anthony Green (He/Him) @AnthonyGreen3576 is a writer/director from Memphis, TN but resides in Washington, DC. He’s served as an English professor at both Columbia College as well as the University of Memphis. His work has been featured in Glint Literary Journal, Black Magnolias and Polychrome Ink. He’s also the winner of the DC Black Theater Festival’s One Act battle in the comedy category in 2019. His collection of short stories, #BlackGayStoriesMatter is currently available on Amazon. His final play before the pandemic, When Boys Exhale closed last year. His debut film, The Souls of Black Pebbles will be released Summer 2021. He’s the founder of Cagedbirds Productions.

Raised in Arizona, Elliot decided that 120 degree summers weren’t for him and relocated to California for college. He graduated from Pitzer College in 2018 with a B.A. in theater with a focus on playwriting. With a drive to share his story, he’s been published several times but he’s always working on something new. He’s an avid fan of exploring his own complex relationship with gender, family, and culture through writing. He enjoys playing D&D on the weekend and getting caught in the rain. Catch him on Twitter @eleldelmots.

storäe michele (she/they) is a black queer, shape-shifting, non-binary femme, afro-futurist performer + storäe-teller. their creative practice builds a present + embodied archive of black femme futures + aliveness. their first film, [the listening heart], was officially selected for film festivals internationally + domestically. her upcoming piece, [claustrophobia], is supported by Columbia University’s Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics & Social Justice. storäe, a Pratt Institute alum (MPS, ‘08; MFA, ‘21), is heavily inspired by badass femmes of the funk era + can be spotted in big hair, leopard print + bright, kaleidoscopic, fuzzy garments. follow on IG: @storae.michele

andie millares is a writer, crop top devotee, and earring maker from New Jersey. She is Kundiman Poetry Fellow and serves on the organization’s Junior Board. Currently living in Brooklyn with the world’s most handsome cats, her work has been published in Catapult, Reductress, Foglifter Journal, Underblong, and elsewhere. For thirst traps and crafts, follow her on Instagram @andiewillalwaysloveu. For thirst traps and erratic thoughts about the end of empire, follow her on Twitter @andiemillares.

Lane Michael Stanley is a transgender director, playwright, filmmaker, and producer. Lane has won Best Director from City Paper’s Best of Baltimore 2016, The Bad Oracle, and DC Metro Theatre Arts, and received the Mayor’s Individual Artist Award. Their first feature film ADDICT NAMED HAL premiered at the 2021 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Their films have shown at festivals including Toronto Short Film Festival and Big Apple Film Festival. Their plays have been produced and developed by 19 theaters in 8 states. They completed their MFA in Directing at the University of Texas at Austin. For more information, please visit and

Camille Washington is a playwright and the Co-Director of Good Company Theatre, Utah’s only Black-owned theatre. In 2019, Camille was named the David Ross Fetzer Foundation Emerging Playwright. Her play Oda Might was produced at Plan-B Theatre. She has written several pieces for Good Company Theatre, including the musical Odettes For The Holidays, the satires Catharsis and Catharsis Two, and the revue You Bet Your Black Ass, Broadway. Camille served as Curatorial Fellow for Diversity in the Arts at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN. She received her BA in Art History from the University of Utah, and her MA in Exhibition and Museum Studies from the San Francisco Art Institute.

Doctora Xingona’s ancestors bloom in her/their voice. Her songs roar an otherworldly fire against oppression, exalt queer love and liberation, and create a gripping atmosphere for healing. An expansive multimedia artist and educator, Doctora Xingona’s music, poetry, performances, films, and gatherings center transcendence, kinship, and the co-liberation and nourishment of queer and trans artists of color. She is the composer behind the award-winning performance, Quiero Volver: A Xicanx Ritual Opera, and the co-founder of the BridgeSong Fund, an emergency relief program for Western MA musicians. Her debut album, Ser Artista, produced by Seth Glier, is slated for release in September of 2021.

Megan Xotchilt (they/she/ella) is a queer Xicana from South L.A. Their playwriting explores the function of intergenerational memory in spiritual healing and cultural cuentos. Daydreaming, long-distance running, and falling on roller skates is what sustains her to be able to show up before the page. Meg has earned the Theresa Cha Fellowship from UC Berkeley, and performed a co-written piece for the 2018 UC Berkeley Vagina/Our Monologues titled, Nuestras Mujeres. You can find her on Instagram @me6gy.

Celeste Yim is a writer from Toronto, Canada. Celeste is currently a writer for Saturday Night Live. In 2020, they received an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2019, Celeste was the recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts “Canadian Women Artists’ Award for Playwriting”. Celeste was named one of “30 Canadian Women in Comedy To Watch in 2018” by Brunch Club, one of “Canada’s Top 100 Notable Women in 2017” according to Flare Magazine, and “racist to whites” by a Twitter user. Celeste is an alumnus of The University of Toronto and of the Bob Curry Fellowship at The Second City Toronto. Celeste uses they/them pronouns and the online handle @celestrogen.


MICHAEL CHANG (they/them) was awarded the Kundiman Scholarship at the Miami Writers Institute. Their poems have been nominated for Best New Poets, Best of the Net, & the Pushcart Prize. They are the author of two previous collections of poetry: DRAKKAR NOIR (which won the Bateau Press BOOM Chapbook Contest), & BOYFRIEND PERSPECTIVE (Really Serious Literature, 2021). Their collection CHINATOWN ROMEO is forthcoming from Ursus Americanus Press.

Octavio (Tavi) R. González (he/him/his) is associate professor of English and creative writing at Wellesley College. His chapbook The Book of Ours was published by Letras Latinas at the University of Notre Dame. He’s revising his new collection, “Limerence: The Wingless Hour.” Some poems appear in Lambda Literary’s Poetry Spotlight, Anomaly, La Guagua Poetry Anthology, and Retrato íntimo de poetas dominicanos. Other work appears in Puerto del Sol, The Latino Book Review, HIV±Here & Now, and Mass. Poetry on the T. Tavi once worked alongside Julian Casablancas at Elite Models. He still loves shooting Polaroids. Twitter: @TaviRGonzalez Instagram: @DistractedDoodling

Trevor Ketner is the author of 2020 National Poetry Series winner [WHITE] (University of Georgia Press, 2021). They have been published in The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, New England Review, Ninth Letter, Brooklyn Rail, West Branch, Pleiades, Diagram, Foglifter, and elsewhere. Their essays and reviews can be found in The Kenyon Review, Boston Review, and Lambda Literary. They have been awarded fellowships from Poets House, Lambda Literary, The Poetry Project, and Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. They hold an MFA from the University of Minnesota and live in Manhattan with their husband.

Natalie A. Martínez (she/they) is a queer Chicanx poet, brujx, Aries, twin, scholar and curator residing in the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish Peoples. She received her PhD from Arizona State University. Her work has been featured in Nepantla, d3ék’w, Hedreen Gallery & the Seattle Art Museum. She has received scholarships & fellowships to Penn State University, CCCCs, & Community of Writers. Her work is interested in exploring themes around legacies of cultural dispossession, racism, miscegenation, trauma, illness, queerness and the body related to her identities as a multi-racial person with roots in the four-corners region of New Mexico, Europe & North Dakota and Montana (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa).

Born and raised in “DC proper,” A.J. is passionate about teaching and the art of words & making, with the goal that all the memories and histories that are said to have “too many Black people,” are told and retold again. As a means to uphold these stories A.J. creates writings, performances, installations, objects, sounds, and visuals. These creations often revolve around an interest in water and aquatic life, escapism, Blackness, science, grief, US history, and the global future. A.J. has most recently been published in the Blueshift Journal. Whether in D.C. or in Chicago you may find A.J. carrying around a portable Black Hole while playing the harmonica, a cowbell & other percussive sounds.

H. Melt is a poet, artist and educator whose work celebrates trans people, history and culture. They are the author of The Plural, The Blurring and editor of Subject to Change: Trans Poetry & Conversation. H. Melt was an artist in residence at the Newberry Library, researching the Chicago Protest Collection. They’ve attended the Tin House Writer’s Workshop and co-founded Queeriosity at Young Chicago Authors. Lambda Literary awarded them the Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ Writers. Their next book, There Are Trans People Here, is forthcoming from Haymarket Books in the fall of 2021.

Chad Morgan’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in The Adroit Journal, Court Green, Columbia Poetry Review, Hobart, and elsewhere. A graduate of Indiana University South Bend and Columbia College Chicago, he lives in Chicago, where he spends most of his time watching television, reading celebrity biographies, and engaging in flanerie. He writes the newsletter and can be found on Twitter (@grabtheglitter) and Instagram (@theechadmorgan).

Katie Jean Shinkle (she/her) is the author of three novellas and six chapbooks, most recently Ruination (Spuyten Duyvil, 2018), Rat Queen (Bloof Books, 2019), and Will You Kiss Me Goodnight? (The Offending Adam, forthcoming). Her creative work and criticism has appeared in Flaunt Magazine, The Georgia Review, Denver Quarterly, Fugue, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere. She holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Denver, and serves as co-poetry editor of DIAGRAM. Currently living in Texas, she teaches at Sam Houston State University in the MFA program in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing. You can find her on Instagram @katiejeanshinkle.

Dior J. Stephens is a proud Midwestern (pisces) poet. He is the author of SCREAMS & lavender, 001, and CANNON!, all with Ghost City Press. Dior holds an MFA in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts and will be beginning his doctoral studies at the University of Cincinnati this fall. Dior hopes to be a dolphin in his next life. Dior’s preferred pronouns are he/they. He tweets at @dolphinneptune and Instagrams at @dolphinphotos.

Mimi Tempestt (she/they) is a multidisciplinary artist, poet, and daughter of California. She has a MA in Literature from Mills College, and is currently a doctoral student in the Creative/Critical PhD in Literature at UC Santa Cruz. Her debut collection of poems, the monumental misrememberings, is published with Co-Conspirator Press (2020). She was chosen as a finalist in the Creative Nonfiction Prize for Indiana Review in 2020, and is currently a creative fellow at The Ruby in San Francisco. Her works can be found in Foglifter, Apogee Journal, Interim Poetics, and The Studio Museum in Harlem. Mimi can be found daydreaming and hiking on an outdoor trail in Oakland.

Jesús I. Valles (they/them) is a queer Mexican immigrant, writer-performer from Cd. Juarez/El Paso. Jesús has received fellowships and support from the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Lambda Literary, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Community of Writers’ Poetry Workshop, Idyllwild Arts, Undocupoets, Tin House, and the Poetry Incubator. Their work has been featured in The New Republic, Palabritas, Quarterly West, The Adroit Journal, PANK,  NPR’s Code Switch, The Slowdown, The BreakBeat Poets’ LatiNext Anthology, and the Best New Poets 2020 anthology. Jesús is currently OUTSider festival’s OUTsider-in-residence and a first year MFA playwriting student at Brown University.

A. Light Zachary is an autistic and bigender human being in Canada. Light is currently writing two novels + a big book of poems on queer self-determination; in the meantime, you can buy their forthcoming chapbook, I build it better (Rahila’s Ghost, late 2021) and their novella, The End, By Anna (Metatron, 2016). Prior to Lambda, they most recently held a writing studio fellowship at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Light is also a teacher of writing, a consulting editor, and poetry curator of The Puritan.

Young Adult Fiction

Guthrie Blechman crosses fiction genres and forms to illuminate the joy and trauma, marginalization, power, and complexity of their trans and queer community. They’ve worked in case management and higher education and provide LGBTQIA+ sensitivity editing services. Degrees include an M.F.A. in creative writing from Columbia College of Chicago and a B.A. in psychology from Arcadia University. They are currently working on a collection of short speculative fiction and a trans-centric YA coming-of-age novel. In their spare time, they review diverse books on their website, They can be found with their partner and three cats in their Chicago apartment.

Erik J. Brown (he/him) is a writer of genre-blending books for young adults. His debut novel, ALL THAT’S LEFT IN THE WORLD, will be published by HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray in March 2022. He is a Temple University graduate with a degree in Film and Media Arts with an emphasis in Writing for Media. When not writing, he enjoys traveling (pre-pandemic), collecting disco compilations on vinyl, remodeling his haunted house, and embarking on the relentless quest of appeasing his Shiba Inu. He lives in Philadelphia with his husband. You can find his website at, on Twitter @WriterikJB, and Instagram @ErikJB.

Elizabeth Evers (she/her, @EMEvers_writer) is writer, chemist and nerd surviving in Atlanta, GA. She loves writing science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary stories involving LGBT+ characters of color and often pulls from her own experiences as a LGBT woman of color. Her goal is to explore the possibilities of human nature to find the bright spots in life, especially when dealing with tough topics like death, suicide, and depression. Elizabeth has an MFA in Writing from Savannah College of Art and Design and a Master’s degree in Chemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology. When not writing she reserves time for scientific endeavors and all things fangirl worthy.

Isaiah Holbrook holds a BA in English from Saint Francis University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Oregon State University. He’s been published in The Rumpus, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Harvard Review, CRAFT Literary, Stellium Magazine, and The Voyage Journal, where he received third place in their short story writing contest. He’s a reality TV enthusiast and can be seen buying too many books at his favorite local bookstore.

C. Julian Jiménez (he/him) is a Queer, Puerto Rican & Dominican writer. MFA – The New School for Drama. Awards: New Dramatist Residency (Class of 2025), 2019/2020 Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop Fellow at The Lark, 2018 LaGuardia Community College’s LGBTQ History Project Grant, 2015 Queens Arts Council Grant & 2009 Public Theater Emerging Writers Group. His plays include: Man Boobs,Julio Ain’t Goin’ Down Like That, Animals Commit Suicide, Locusts Have No King, Bundle of Sticks, and Alligator Mouth, Tadpole Ass. He’s a co-producer and co-writer of the hit web series, Bulk, and an Associate Professor of Theatre at Queensborough Community College. IG & Twitter @JulianChristo

Leah Johnson is the author of award-winning books for children and young adults. Her bestselling debut YA novel, You Should See Me in a Crown was the inaugural Reese’s Book Club YA pick, a 2021 Stonewall Honor Book, a Junior Library Guild Selection, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ young adult literature. It was featured on a number of Best of the Year lists including: Cosmopolitan, Amazon, Kirkus, Marie Claire, and Publishers Weekly. Her sophomore novel, Rise to the Sun is due out from Scholastic in July 2021, and the first installment of her debut middle grade series, Ellie Engle Saves Herself is slated for publication from Disney-Hyperion in 2023.

Mary Maxfield is a writer, researcher, and organizer who strives to bridge creative arts, academic inquiry, and social change. Her work includes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and explores queer experience and community formation, as well as the intersections of illness, trauma, and identity. (Bonus points for monsters or magic). Mary’s writing has appeared online at Scarleteen and in print in Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology from Middle America. Currently, Mary is a Ph.D. candidate and Dissertation Fellow in American Studies at St. Louis University, where her research examines the use of arts media—including literature—to form queer community. Find her online at

Stephan Nance (they/them), also known as Sparkbird, is a singer-songwriter and writer whose performing credits include multiple tours in Japan and Europe. Their album Look at the Harlequins! attracted the attention of Birding Magazine and the National Audubon Society with its references to 21 species of birds. Their writing has been published in The Gay & Lesbian Review. Stephan lives in Portland with their partner Adam, along with a 13-year-old Senegal parrot named Georgie, and a 42-year-old Yellow-naped parrot named Fred. Stephan is currently working on their next album and a very birdy young adult novel set in Eastern Oregon. Twitter: @HelloStephan, IG: @sparkbirdmusic

Dionne Richardson is a researcher, teacher, and former librarian. She lives in Northern Virginia and enjoys biking, hiking, and speaking Mandarin. She’s traveled around the world but likes her couch the best. She’s been writing for almost twenty years after reading the American Girl series and deciding she could write better characters and worlds. She published a short story called “Heart” in The First Line literary magazine in 2019 but has been writing a never-ending YA fantasy novel since 2011. Her favorite genres are fantasy, manga, and romantic comedies. In her spare time, she studies herbology and concocts potions in her kitchen for family and friends. Her Instagram handle is @_deerichardson_.

Nik Traxler (she/they) grew up in San Diego and Phoenix, amongst a musical family who spent most of their time outdoors. Nik received a BA in English Literature and M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Arizona State University, and later became a high school teacher. Throughout this time, Nik focused on her professional life and her students, particularly underrepresented LGBTQ+ youth in Arizona. Never giving up on the dream of creating stories of her own, a move to Brooklyn allowed Nik to step away from teaching and back into writing. Now living in Seattle, with a lot more space and trees than Brooklyn, Nik spends her time dreaming up stories about messy queers and the people who love them.

Joni Renee Whitworth (they/them) is a poet, producer, and curator from rural Oregon. They have performed at The Moth, the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts, and the Museum of Contemporary Art alongside Marina Abramovic. Whitworth served as the inaugural Artist in Residence at Portland Parks and Recreation, Poet in Residence for Oregon State University’s Trillium Project, and 2020 Queer Hero for the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest. Their writing explores themes of nature, future, family, and the neurodivergent body, and has appeared in Lambda Literary, Tin House, Oregon Humanities, Proximity Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, Eclectica, and many more.

medina (they/them) is a Honduran-American, nonbinary, demisexual lesbian. They hold a dual MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults and Nonfiction from The New School. They’ve written for Self Magazine, HelloGiggles, Bustle, Electric Literature, Them., and more. They are a We Need Diverse Books mentee. They’re represented by Verve Talent LA and Avalon. Their debut queer contemporary middle-grade book, THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU THE MOST, comes out in the Spring of 2022 via Levine Querido.


JUBI ARRIOLA-HEADLEY (he/they) is a Blacqueer poet, storyteller, & first-generation United Statesian who lives with his husband in South Florida & whose work explores themes of masculinity, vulnerability, rage, tenderness & joy. He’s a 2018 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, holds an MFA from the University of Miami, & his poems have been published with Ambit, Beloit Poetry Journal, Literary Hub, Nimrod, Southern Humanities Review, The Nervous Breakdown, & elsewhere. Jubi’s debut collection of poems, original kink, is available now from Sibling Rivalry Press. Black Lives Matter. Trans Lives Matter. Stop Asian Hate. Art is Labor. Eat the Rich. Free Palestine.

Nahshon Dion is a multi-talented writer and teaching artist from Altadena, California. Published in LGBTQ anthologies and journals, Nahshon speaks to discrimination and violence black and brown LGBTQ youth face. Nahshon has created a uniquely personal work turning her anguish into art that touches on mental health, gun violence, and state terrorism. She’s the recipient of dozens of grants, fellowships, artist residencies, honors, and awards totaling over $100,000 that provided ammunition and support towards developing and creating her gutwrenching forthcoming memoir Shootin’ Range. Nahshon’s literature shows how youth can reach their full potential and shine when their rainbow is blurred.

Nicole Shawan Junior photo

About: Nicole Shawan Junior

Nicole Shawan Junior is the Lambda Literary Program Manager.

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