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2023 Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices Faculty

Victor I. Cazares

Playwriting Faculty

(they/them) Victor is a non-binary Poz Queer Indigenous Mexican Artist (enby PQIMA for short) who has had stints at Yale, Brown and other less prestigious centers of rehabilitation. Like any border child, they were born twice: once in El Paso, Texas and another in San Lorenzo, Chihuahua. They teach a tuition-free class for emerging immigrant playwrights as part of PEN America’s DREAMing Out Loud program. Plays include: the New York Times Critic’s Pick american (tele)visions and Pinching Pennies with Penny Marshall (NYTW); Ramses contra los monstruos, We Were Eight Years in Powder, and «when we write with ashes». Victor was most recently the Tow Playwright-in-Residence at New York Theatre Workshop. @thejoyofvictor

K-Ming Chang

Speculative Fiction Faculty

K-Ming Chang is a Kundiman fellow, a Lambda Literary Award finalist, and a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree. She is the author of the New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice novel Bestiary (One World/Random House, 2020), which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award. In 2021, her chapbook Bone House was published by Bull City Press. Her most recent book is Gods of Want (One World/Random House, 2022). Her next books are a novel titled Organ Meats (One World) and a novella titled Cecilia (Coffee House Press). She can be found birdwatching in California.

Candice Iloh

Young Adult Fiction Faculty

Candice Iloh is a first-generation Nigerian American writer from the Midwest by way of Washington, D.C. and Brooklyn, New York whose books center home, self-awareness, and black sustainability. They are a proud alumna of the Rhode Island Writers Colony and their work has earned fellowships from Lambda Literary, VONA, Kimbilio Fiction and a residency with Hi-ARTS, where they debuted their first one-person show in 2018. Candice became a 2020 National Book Award Finalist and in 2021, a Printz Award Honoree for their debut novel, Every Body Looking. Break This House is their second novel.

Ashton Pina


Ashton Pina (He/King) is an outrageous storyteller who is deeply committed to amplifying the voices of diverse characters and creators. His award-winning first feature, Nana’s Boys (Inside Out, NewFest & aGLIFF) was acquired by Breaking Glass Pictures. Ashton’s short films, In The Paint (Outfest) and FAYTH (Pan African) are available on YouTube. He received an MFA in Film from The City College of New York, MBA in Media Management from Metropolitan College of New York and studied Acting at Florida International University. Ashton supported Radha Blank on The Forty-Year-Old Version as Director’s Assistant and has been blessed with amazing opportunities like working with Lena Waithe and Beyoncé. With a fierce passion to empower the next generation of storytellers, he supports LGBTQ+ youth filmmakers through the Queer Storytelling Project and recently launched a non-profit to award scholarships to HIV+ college students.

Meredith Talusan

Nonfiction Faculty

Meredith Talusan (she/they) is the author of the critically-acclaimed memoir Fairest from Viking/Penguin Random House, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist. She has also contributed to many books and her essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Nation, WIRED, SELF, and Condé Nast Traveler, among other publications. Her fiction is also published or forthcoming in Guernica, Boston Review, Epoch,The Rumpus, Grand, Catapult, and BLR. She has received awards from GLAAD, The Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. She is also the founding executive editor of them, Condé Nast’s LGBTQ+ digital platform, where she is currently contributing editor.

Jeanne Thornton

Fiction Faculty

Jeanne Thornton is the author of Summer Fun, winner of the Lambda Literary Award, as well as The Dream of Doctor Bantam and The Black Emerald. She is the editor, with Tara Madison Avery, of We’re Still Here: An All-Trans Comics Anthology, and the copublisher of Instar Books. Her work has appeared in n+1, Harper’s Bazaar, WIRED, The Evergreen Review, and other places. More information is available at

Phillip B. Williams

Poetry Faculty

Phillip B. Williams is the author of Mutiny, winner of the 2022 American Book Award, and Thief in the Interior, which was the winner of the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a 2017 Lambda Literary award. He is also the author of the chapbooks Bruised Gospels and Burn. Williams’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Callaloo, Kenyon Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and others. He is the recipient of a 2020 creative writing grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a 2017 Whiting Award, and a 2013 Ruth Lilly Fellowship. He serves as a faculty member at Bennington College and Randolph College low-res MFA.

Marcelo Hernadez Castillo

Virtual Multi-Genre Cohort

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of Children of the Land: a Memoir; Cenzontle, which was the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. prize; and Dulce, winner of the Drinking Gourd Prize. He is a founding member of the Undocupoets, which eliminated citizenship requirements from all major poetry book prizes in the U.S,  and was recognized with the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers award. He was the first undocumented student to graduate from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan. He currently teaches in the creative writing program at St. Mary’s University, and the Ashland Low-Res MFA Program, as well as poetry workshops for incarcerated youth in Northern California as the Yuba and Sutter County poet laureate.

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