Jan 14, 2013
Lambda Literary Foundation’s 2013 Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices
I have some cool news I’ve been very excited to share with you! This coming August 2013, I’ll be teaching the Genre and YA Fiction workshop at the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices. What is this? Here are some details from the press release:
The Lambda Literary Foundation is proud to announce details for the 2013 Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices, the nation’s premier queer writers residency. The Retreat will be held July 28 – August 4, 2013 on the campus of the American Jewish University (AJU) in Los Angeles.
Faculty include Samuel R. Delany teaching the Fiction workshop, Sarah Schulman teaching the Nonfiction workshop, David Groff teaching the Poetry workshop, and Malinda Lo teaching both Genre Fiction and Young Adult Fiction. …
The Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices was established in 2007 and is the first of its kind ever offered to LGBT writers: a one-week intensive immersion in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. The retreat is an unparalleled opportunity to learn from the very best writers in the LGBT community.
Applicants of the Retreat submit twenty pages of fiction/nonfiction or 10 pages of poetry that are evaluated for craft, creativity and originality. Twelve students per workshop are accepted into the competitive program where they spend the week working on their manuscripts and attending guest lectures by publishing industry professionals. Ability to pay is in no way part of the decision-making process and scholarships are available.
I was so honored when Lambda invited me to teach the Genre and YA Fiction workshop, and now that I’ve found out who the other teachers are, I’m even more excited! I think it’s going to be a wonderful and inspiring week, and I can’t wait to find out who my twelve workshop participants will be.
I also want to say a bit about this “Genre and YA Fiction” thing, just in case it has you scratching your head on why they’re combined together. In past years, Lambda has regularly offered workshops in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry, but not always Genre or YA. In 2011, they offered a Genre workshop but not a YA one; in 2012 they offered a YA workshop but not a Genre one. This year, because I write YA and genre fiction, it seemed ideal to offer both at once.
This doesn’t mean that applicants need to write YA genre fiction (e.g., YA fantasy or YA sci-fi). Applicants can write genre fiction for adults (mystery, fantasy, romance, science fiction, horror), or YA fiction of any genre.
Personally, I think genre fiction and YA have a lot of common elements, including lively pacing and interesting plots, likable characters and immersive worlds. At least, this is what I love when I read genre fiction and YA! This doesn’t mean they can’t also be literary, but I believe that story is of primary importance in these categories, and that’s what I can’t wait to talk about with the workshop participants: story, story, story.
I’m also excited to teach Genre and YA because it allows me to mash up all my favorite reading and writing experiences. My first job was actually working as an editorial assistant at Ballantine Books, where I edited mystery fiction. I love a good crime novel! I’m also a longtime fantasy and science fiction reader and writer, and I think every book is better with romance. And of course, YA can include any or all of these storytelling elements.
Finally, I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to work with other LGBT writers. When I was deciding whether or not I was ready to teach this workshop, I went googling for the experiences of previous Emerging Writers Retreat participants. I was so inspired to hear about how so many felt a sense of real community at this retreat, and it reminded me how wonderful it can be to create in a space of common experience. I think that all too often, as a writer who is also gay, the gayness can be an uncomfortable label of difference. At this retreat, we all have that label, which means we can largely ignore it and focus on the work. Bonus: if you want to write about LGBT characters, I doubt anyone will think it’s a bad idea.
So … are you an emerging LGBT writer who wants to spend a week immersed in a workshop about genre and YA? Go here to apply by April 1, 2013!