As you may already know, the first Reading Queer Literary Festival begins this week. This festival is one of the many ways we’re promoting queer literary and artistic culture in Miami—a mission we believe to be as timely as it is crucial, perhaps now more than ever.
At a time when our bourgeoning literary culture is finally flourishing, the RQ literary festival provides a space for queer readers and writers to be recognized, valued and celebrated. Amidst the many transformations of a Miami finally coming into its own, the festival also serves as a space within which to engage the queer pasts and presents of South Florida in ways that enable the dreaming of a powerful queer future for our city.
All of the events of this year’s festival are an expression of this commitment. For the inaugural reading at the Betsy Hotel South Beach, Florida-based writers Julie M. Wade, Jan Becker and Sandra Simonds give queer literature a much-needed makeover, embracing the succulent diversity of selves and experiences that make up the genre while also going beyond the confines of identity in its (re)definition. (RSVP here.)
“Cruising Hialeah or The Ghosts of Public Sex” expands this process of reinvention. As part of a larger multidisciplinary oral history project commissioned by Reading Queer, this salon, performance and video-installation inspired by the work of Hialeah-born queer scholar José E. Munoz invites audiences to remember the queer Miami that was in order to reveal the queer Miami that is and ultimately imagine the queer Miami that could be. (RSVP here.)
The final event, “Sacrilegion: The Gospel Truth”—a choral performance of African-American poet L. Lamar Wilson’s first collection of poetry—invites us to embrace our queer differences while also calling us to reflect on the pain that results from their frequent erasure under the tyranny of The Same. Straddling this line between celebration and mourning, redemption and loss, Wilson and his accompanying choir serve as a powerful capstone to the festival. (RSVP here.)
Each and every one of these events is the result of months of hard work, dedication… and some sleepless nights. We are thrilled to finally be able to see the fruits of that labor realized and hope that you will join us next week in making a new Miami possible—one that Reads as queerly as it Writes.
With utopian longing,
José Portela, Program Director
Neil de la Flor, Executive Director