Bestselling author Dorothy Allison will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) conference, July 22-26 in New Orleans.
I met Dorothy several years ago when I was a Lambda Fellow-2010, and I have always loved the raw truth and beauty that radiates from her work. Her book, “Bastard Out of Carolina,” gave me courage and inspired me to write and independently publish my own story in a novel form:“Ordinary Angels.“
“Bastard Out of Carolina” Allison’s first novel was a finalist for a National Book Award, and it won an ALA Award. She has received won numerous other awards and was described by the Boston Globe as “one of the finest writers of her generation”. But Dorothy’s work in the world of literature extends way beyond her writing.
In 1998, Dorothy founded The Independent Spirit Award, a prize given each year to an individual whose work with small presses and independent bookstores has helped to sustain that enterprise. She also serves on the Advisory board of the National Coalition Against Censorship and Feminists for Free Expression, and the advisory board of the James Tiptree Jr. Memorial Award, a prize that is presented annually to a science fiction or fantasy work that explores and expands on the contemporary ideas of gender. WisCon happens right here every year in Madison Wisconsin!
Though I will not be able to attend this year’s GCLS Conference, I would like to encourage any “lesbian writer” who might be reading this post to support or attend this conference if you are able.
Because if the craft of writing has taught me anything, it has taught me that I cannot do this alone. I truly believe few writers can. Even though the literary landscape is changing on many levels, writing and publishing has historically been a male, mainstream, enterprise. Even today, most literary awards tend to go disproportionately to men, especially white men.
Yet women writers, including those of us who identify as lesbians, continue to find our way through the cracks in the glass ceiling of publishing. So do not loose heart. Keep writing and find your people and your support.
Ten years ago I told outright by a straight, white male mainstream literary agent that though my writing was extremely strong, my work was not “commercial” enough because it contained LGBTQ characters. Therefore, he could not encourage me to send him anything else, because he probably wouldn’t consider it.
I remember feeling completely deflated at the time.
Even some of my straight women writer friends have said things like: “Annie on My Mind” has been out there for years, don’t you think the teenage lesbian niche is covered? Does your protagonist have to be a lesbian? If you want to write for children and young adults maybe you get the first book out with straight teens and then do the lesbian thing. Do you really think the young adult market is ready for an transgender protagonist? If I don’t know what intersex means, I doubt if younger readers will.”
Interestingly enough, these unconscious cultural mores or even societal unconsciousness actually creates a unique opportunity for women, specifically lesbians, to create, write and produce literary works of art that are outside the box.
Work that explores and honors our own unique voices, experiences, and perspectives.
Books that tell our stories, in our voices, for the edification of our own literary souls.
Therefore the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) the world’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to lesbian literature serves a critical social need to continue to cultivate and support a healthy vibrant and well-rounded literary world, which honors the voices of those who too often, have been silenced.
WRITE ON! My lesbian friends, the world needs our voices, our books, our perspectives, our imaginations and our presence more than ever.
MORE ABOUT THE UPCOMING CONFERENCE:
If you do get to New Orleans the conference will include Master Classes in the craft of writing; sessions and panels on a wide range of topics of interest to readers, writers and editors; author readings and chats; and their awards ceremony that honors books across all genres of lesbian fiction and creative non-fiction.
The 2015 conference theme is “Engaging the Reader” and the genre highlighted will be Paranormal. The conference includes many of the major lesbian publishing companies and top authors in lesbian literature. The GCLS conference will be held at the Hilton Riverside in New Orleans.
About the Golden Crown Literary Society (http:/Golden Crown Literary Society)
YOUNG ADULT: Goldie Nominees
|Because of Her||KE Payne||Bold Strokes Books|
|Climbing the Date Palm||Shira Glassman||Prizm Books|
|Double Exposure||Bridget Birdsall||Sky Pony Press|
|Driving Lessons: A You Know Who Girls Novel||Annameekee Hesik||Bold Strokes Books|
|Fighting Kudzu||Mystic Thompson||Musa Publishing|
|Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before||Karelia Stetz-Waters||Ooligan Press|
|Frenemy of the People||Nora Olsen||Bold Strokes Books|
|Just Girls||Rachel Gold||Bella Books|
|Lindsay Versus the Marauders||J.S. Frankel||Regal Crest Enterprises|
|Maxine Wore Black||Nora Olsen||Bold Strokes Books|
|Riding the Rainbow||Genta Sebastain||Self Published|
|The Girl With 2 Hearts||T.T. Thomas||Bon View Publishing|
|The Story Thief||Shari McNally||Bella Books|