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PRESS RELEASE: Meet The Lambda Fellows & Scholarship Recipients of the 2023 Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices

PRESS RELEASE: Meet The Lambda Fellows & Scholarship Recipients of the 2023 Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices

Author: Chloe Feffer

July 12, 2023

July 12, 2023

Publicity Contact: Chloe Feffer, Program Manager, Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices
Phone: (213) 277-5755

100 Emerging LGBTQ Writers to Join Lambda Literary’s 2023 Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices

New York, NY—For over 30 years, Lambda Literary has championed LGBTQIA+ books and authors based on its belief that lives are affirmed and culture preserved when our stories are written, published, and read. Since 2007, Lambda Literary has offered the Writer’s Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices—the nation’s premier LGBTQIA+ writing residency, which brings together emerging poets, playwrights, screenwriters, essayists, novelists, and memoirists in a safe, welcoming, and love-centered community.

Our fellows have the opportunity to make connections, form a community, workshop writing under the tutelage of our talented faculty, attend a variety of panels and craft talks, and participate in a public reading of their work. This year, the Writers Retreat is offering a hybrid model, boasting representation in 7 genres with 8 cohorts. The in-person Retreat will be held at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia Pennsylvania, from July 30-August 5, and will run concurrently to the online Retreat. 

Lambda Literary is pleased to announce the 2023 Fellows and Scholars to attend its prestigious Writer’s Retreat, which will be held virtually from July 30-August 6, 2023.


The 2023 Fellows to study fiction under Jeanne Thornton’s tutelage are

Ash B. Alpert
aureleo sans
Benedict Nguyễn
Chad Koch
Charlie Sorrenson
Chibuike Ogbonnaya
Eliana Ramage
Gin To
Logan Hoffman-Smith
Maya Chesley
Natasha Dennerstein
Nathan Xie
Omaria Sanchez Pratt
The Writer in Residence representing Fiction is Natasha Dennerstein


The 2023 Fellows to study nonfiction under Meredith Talusan’s tutelage are:

Amanda Wong
Amy Estes
H Conley
Jennifer Thuy Vi Nguyen
Juliana Feliciano Reyes
Kou Thao

Maximillian Matthews
MK Thekkumkattil
saahil m.

Serena Lukas Bhandar
Stefani Echeverría-Fenn
The Writer in Residence representing Nonfiction is Steffan Triplett


The 2023 Fellows to study playwriting under Victor I. Cazares’ tutelage are:

Abe Zapata Jr.
Becker Grumet
Brian Dang
Derick Edgren Otero
Dhari Noel
Dr. Christy Rodriguez de Conte 
Esmé Maria ng
James La Bella 
Johanna Keller Flores
Molly Herron Bicks 
Ro Reddick
siri gurudev


The 2023 Fellows to study poetry under Phillip B. Williams’ tutelage are:

Eduardo Martinez-Leyva
féi hernandez
Jade Yeung
jason b crawford 
Mia S. Willis
Nathan Alexander Moore
River Ying Dandelion
Taylor Alyson Lewis
Ugochukwu Damian Okpara
Zack Lesmeister


The 2023 Fellows to study screenwriting under Ashton Pina’s tutelage are:

Aamina Khan
Adrian Khactu
Chloe Samillano
Danielle S. Mooney
Drew Burnett Gregory
Georgie Morvis
Jaime Estepa
Jawni Han
Paris Crayton III
Penny Molesso
Vernon Jordan, III
William Koné
The Writer in Residence representing screenwriting is Azure D. Osborne-Lee

Speculative Fiction

The 2023 Fellows to study speculative fiction under K-Ming Chang’s tutelage are:

Amina Kayani
Chi Siegel
Chloe Colbert
Crystal Odelle
Diamond Braxton
Dri Tattersfield
Jiaqi Kang
Mohwanah Fetus
Nic Anstett
Si-Min Chong
Subraj Singh
The Writer in Residence representing speculative fiction is Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Virtual Multi-Genre

The 2023 Fellows to study virtually in a variety of genres under Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s tutelage are:

Alfredo Trejo III
Alli Cruz
Arianna Monet
Chelsea T. Hicks
Daniel Garcia
Frank Kensaku Saragosa
hannah harris-sutro
hanta t. samsa
Irene Villaseñor
Max Pasakorn
Monterica Sadé Neil
Seren Kilig
Willow Watson

Young Adult Fiction

The 2022 Fellows to study young adult fiction under Candice Iloh’s tutelage are:

Aileen Johnson
Alex Fallgren
Alex Romero
Amelia Diaz
Amina Awad
Dimitri Moise
Jada R.
John Anthony Loffredo
Leilani Lamb
Matt Ford
Seanan Forbes
Thalia Stafford
The Writer in Residence representing Young Adult Fiction is Miriam Zoila Pérez

Scholarship Winners

The following donor-funded scholarships provide Retreat Fellows and Writers in Residence with financial support to attend the Writers Retreat without cost. Recipients are selected from a myriad of applicants who meet each scholarship’s respective criteria. We are grateful to all of our supporters who make this possible.

The Academy Scholarship
The Academy Scholarship, offered by the Academy of American Poets, supports a woman and/or femme poet who attends the 2023 Writers Retreat. 

The Virtual Scholarship recipient is Jade Yeung.

Jade Yeung (they/she) is a demi-agender Toishanese American writer and artist from Brooklyn, NY. They are the author of ANTI, a chapbook from Black Warrior Review. Find them at

The Jeanne Córdova Words Scholarship
The Jeanne Córdova Words Scholarship, in memory of the beloved activist and author, is given annually. The scholarship is awarded to a lesbian-identified queer or trans woman of color working on text with lesbian content in any of the workshop categories excluding poetry. 

The 2023 Jeanne Córdova Words Scholarship recipient is Miriam Zoila Pérez.

Miriam Zoila Pérez (@miriamzperez) is an award-winning queer Cuban-American writer and activist. Their non-fiction reporting and essays have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times and Roxanne Gay’s bestselling anthology Not That Bad. 

The Justin Chin Memorial Scholarship
Sponsored by Alexander Chee and Christine Hyung-Oak Lee, The Justin Chin Memorial Scholarship is offered annually in memory of the late author Justin Chin and supports queer, Asian American Pacific Islanders writers who write queer content in any genre. 

The 2023 Justin Chin Memorial Scholarship recipients are Logan Hoffman-Smith and Chrysanthemum.

Logan Hoffman-Smith is a queer trans Chinese American Adoptee and a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. They love cats and mid-tier steakhouses. Find them @shrimpchiffon on Instagram and Twitter!

Chrysanthemum is a poet, performance artist & community historian based in Providence, RI. A lifelong lisper & full-fledged fruit, she moonlights from the underbelly of queer & trans health systems. (@chrysanthemvm_) 

Lili Elbe Scholarship 
Honoring the life and legacy of transgender pioneer Lili Elbe, the annual Lili Elbe Scholarship recognizes a trans Lambda Literary Fellow in any genre whose work shows considerable talent and promise. A Danish trans woman, Lili Elbe was one of the earliest recipients of gender confirmation surgery. The scholarship is sponsored by David Ebershoff, whose first novel about Elbe, The Danish Girl, won the Lambda Literary Award for transgender fiction and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film.

The 2023 Lili Elbe Scholarship recipient is Taylor Alyson Lewis. 

Taylor Alyson Lewis (he/him) is a poet originally from Atlanta. He holds a B.A. in English from Spelman College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Camden. At Rutgers, he taught first-year composition and was a research assistant at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice. He has also been a visiting instructor in creative writing at Bryn Mawr College. He was the recipient of the 2020 Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing Queer Writer Fellowship in Prose and the 2017 Edith A. Hambie Poetry Prize. His work appears or is forthcoming in Nat. Brut, Poetry Online, Columbia Journal, and elsewhere. His debut chapbook, Milk River, is forthcoming from KERNPUNKT Press in 2024. He now lives in Philadelphia.

The Nancy Garden Scholarship
Sponsored by Sylvia and emily m. danforth, the Nancy Garden Scholarship honors the memory of author and activist Nancy Garden and annually supports a Fellow in the young adult fiction cohort. 

The 2023 Nancy Garden Scholarship recipient is John Anthony Loffredo.

John Anthony Loffredo is an accomplished playwright and graphic novelist whose work aims to bring romance to queer stories and explores the intersection between queerness and survival. @_johntony_

The Scholarship Scholarship
The Scholarship Scholarship supports a Black trans woman and/or femme who attends the 2023 Writers Retreat. 

The Virtual Scholarship recipient is Willow Watson.

Willow (she/her, they/them) is a Black transfemme poet, narrativist, and creative hailing from the Black Midwest via unceded Mississiauga, Kaskakia, and Erie territory (Cleveland, OH). Find her on Twitter @willowsgr0ve.

The Stone Soup Community Press Scholarship
Sponsored by Stone Soup Community Press, a nonprofit publisher that believes the diversity of the LGBTQ community should be reflected in the stories being published, the Stone Soup Community Press Scholarship supports a lesbian or queer-identified woman in the fiction or young adult fiction cohorts.

The 2023 Stone Soup Community Press Scholarship recipient is Amina Awad.

Amina is a Palestinian writer who currently resides in Boston. Her writing is rooted in a desire to magnify the voices of young Queer Muslims struggling with mental illness. Her writing leans into the Palestinian tradition of storytelling as a means of resistance and connection. When not ranting about imperialism, Amina can be found watering one of her fifty plants named after some of her favorite characters. She is in her second year of her Master of Social Work degree at Boston College. Amina is the co-author of two children’s books written in English and Arabic, exploring storytelling and displacement. Amina can be found on instagram @aminaawado 

Emerge Editorial Scholarship
The Lambda Literary Emerge Editorial Scholarship recognizes a Fellow who has an interest in literary editing and whose past work shows considerable promise. The 2023 Emerge Editorial Scholarship Fellow will edit this year’s Emerge anthology. The Lambda Literary Emerge Editorial Scholarship recognizes that if we want LGBTQIA+ writers to feel at home in the literary landscape and for publishing to be full of our many perspectives, we must provide LGBTQIA+ writers the opportunity to learn about and take part in the editorial process. 

The 2023 recipient of the Lambda Literary Emerge Editorial Scholarship is Jennifer Thuy Vi Nguyen.

Jennifer Thuy Vi Nguyen (@jtvnguyen) is a queer, Vietnamese American nonfiction writer who splices essays with jest and graphics.  Her work has appeared in Foglifter, the Ponder Review, and New Rivers Press as the winner of the 2014 American Fiction Award.

Donation in honor of the engagement of Kristen Arnett and Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya
Jami Attenburg has generously donated one tuition scholarship to the general scholarship fund in celebration of her good friends and Lambda Literary family Kristen Arnett and Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya. Congratulations on your engagement, Kristen and Kayla!

Additional Scholarships
Lambda Literary received donations from many generous donors to cover the full tuition of nineteen 2023 Fellows. The Fellows supported by these donations are: 

Alfredo Trejo III
Amelia Diaz
aureleo sans
Becker Grumet
Charlie Sorrenson
Dr. Christy Rodriguez de Conte
Daniel Garcia
Frank Kensaku Saragosa
Jada R
Max Pasakorn
Mohwanah Fetus
Monterica Sadé Neil
Paris Crayton III
River Ying Dandelion
Ro Reddick
Seanan Forbes
Stefani Echeverría-Fenn
Subraj Singh
Ugochukwu Okpara

@alfredotrejoIII is a queer scholar & artist, born & raised in LA. He is currently working on his PhD at UCLA. Alfredo has been thriving with HIV for a decade, sharing his story and advocating for people living with HIV.

Amelia Diaz, she/her, is a blind, lesbian Latina with an MA in English, a passion for reading and writing queer YA fiction, and a love of French and music. Find her on Twitter @Braillethrulife.

Becker Grumet (they/them) is a writer + producer of plays and musicals, as well as a psychotherapist. They are also the lead facilitator of Art Time Presents’ Peer Support Group for Gender Expansive Artists. 

Charlie Sorrenson is a queer, trans writer who grew up in Indiana and New Zealand. A third-year fiction candidate at UC Irvine, his work is published or forthcoming in Apogee, Tor, and Lightspeed magazines. Find him on Instagram @charliesorrenson.

As a queer theater artist and scholar, Dr. Rodriguez de Conte’s hybrid artistic identity values creative process and critical academic conversation. Her artistry and scholarship reflect her feminist queer camp aesthetic.

Jada R (she/they) is a St. Louisian YA fiction writer who is passionate about collaborative and genre defying projects. She loves touching moss, watching cartoons and writing stories with her younger sister in mind.

Frank Kensaku Saragosa (@fks.writer) is a San Diego based writer who uses hybrid, experimental and cross-genre forms to explore homelessness, addiction, criminality and incarceration. 

Max Pasakorn/@62purcenthomo (he/she/they) is a Thai-born, Singapore-based essayist and poet. Honestly, Max is here to fuck shit up and have a good time. Read Max’s work in Speculative Nonfiction, Chestnut Review & more.

Mohwanah Fetus (she/they) is a writer, slow reader of fiction, and prosciutto aficionado. A Brooklyn native living in Chicago, they received their Ph.D in English Literature while writing speculative fiction to ground them during their graduate studies. They planned to be a professor of literary studies but their first love was writing fiction, not critiquing it. In 2022, they were a finalist for Salt Hill Journal’s Arthur Flowers Flash Fiction Prize for their work Pistachio Ice Cream. Their writing has been featured by publications such as, SUNY Press, and Queenies, Fades, and Blunts. When not doing Fanonian philosophical takes on their favorite anime or playing Legend of Zelda, you can find them reading by Lake Michigan. They are currently slowly writing their Caribbean revenge love story. You can follow them on Instagram @mo_garyne and Twitter @comfyblkwriter. 

Monterica Sadé Neil (@blackstaryouare) received her MFA from Louisiana State University. They’ve been a Tin House Scholar & a Philip Roth Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University. She is currently at work on a memoir.

Paris Crayton III is an award-winning playwright, actor, and director, who is now venturing into the TV/Film space.  He was one of ArtsATL “30 under 30” and Atlanta Journal Constitution’s “Artist to watch.” Creative Loafing named him 2014’s “Best Local Playwright”  Critics have called him “a powerful dramatist” and praised him as “One of the most important playwrights of our time.” His plays have been presented/workshopped by Classical Theatre of Harlem, NewYorkRep, Aurora Theatre, Clark University, Rising Sage Theatre, Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, and more. 

River Ying Dandelion (he, him, keoi 佢) is a poet, educator, & healing practitioner. A Tin House resident & Kundiman fellow, River has performed & presented his work globally from Dodge Poetry Festival to University of Havana. @rivertransforms
Twitter: @rivertransforms
IG: @rememberingourlight & @rivertransforms

Ro Reddick (she/her) is a queer Black playwright and songwriter.  She is a 3rd year MFA student at Brown. She likes to write off-kilter, dark comedies, the theme songs to your late-capitalist nightmares.

Seanan Forbes (they; @seanan) is a disabled, trans nonbinary writer, poet, and storyteller. Their habits include travel, dark chocolate, tall ships, and climbing inappropriate objects such as meteors.

Stefani (she/they) is a 36yo anti-capitalist dyke, mother, teacher & housing justice insurrectionary. Her work’s been included in Sinister Wisdom, Eidolon, Sententiae Antiquae & National Queer Arts Festival. She tweets @ArsHoetica & instas @IstaMulier

Subraj Singh (@subrajsingh1) is a fiction writer from Guyana. He is currently studying for his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland. His work is forthcoming in Columbia Journal and AGNI. 

Ugochukwu Damian Okpara is the author of the poetry collection, In Gorgeous Display (Fordham Uni. Press, Sept 2023).  His work appears in Poetry Magazine, Poetry Wales, The Republic, and elsewhere. (Twitter: ug_damian)

To learn more about the Fellows and Writers in Residence, visit our website

In community,

Chloe Feffer
Program Manager
Lambda Literary

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