Reading Queer

RQ Writing Academy: 2016

The Reading Queer Writing Academy aims to inspire and prepare members of the queer community to tap into the powerful potential inherent to the act and the art of writing. Consisting of a series of distinct workshops spread out throughout the calendar year, the Academy will serve as a platform for writers of all walks of life to explore, pursue and perfect the craft in its myriad forms. As an expression of our conviction that writing is a right, not a privilege, all workshops are open to the general public regardless of an individual’s ability to pay.

All Reading Queer workshops are free and open to the public. However, we depend on your donations to support our programming.  Make a donation today.


2016 Writing Academy Schedule


RQ presents “Screenwriting from the Fringes” with April Dobbins

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Have you always wanted to write a film script, but have no idea where to begin? Are you an artist who would like to segue into motion pictures? This workshop is for those who dream of the big screen. Participants will receive a crash course in script formatting and character development with a particular focus on characters from groups who are often underrepresented and/or misrepresented in Hollywood. We will briefly read, watch, and discuss a few scenes from popular films, reengineer those scenes, and begin work on an original short screenplay. This workshop is in collaboration with Girls & Gear—a film initiative that aims to diversify the film industry at every level.

DATE: Saturday, November 5th, 2016
TIME: 10am – 1 pm
LOCATION: O Cinema Wynwood, FL 

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April Dobbins is a filmmaker, writer, and photographer. Her short films have screened at festivals across the country, including the Los Angeles Black Film Festival, Las Vegas Black Film Festival, Oklahoma Urban Festival, Key West Film Festival, and the Baltimore International Black Film Festival, to name a few. Her print work has been featured in a number of publications, among them Harvard University’s Transition magazine and the Philadelphia City Paper. She is a recipient of the S. J. Weiler Fund Award and Cannonball Miami’s 2016 WaveMaker Grant. She is currently producing Alabamaland, a feature-length documentary that chronicles her family’s life and history in the rural South.


“Creating Queer Voice in the Poem”: A Writing Workshop with Parker Phillips”

Whose voice speaks to readers in a poem? Typically the “poet’s” or a dramatic persona the poet has created. “Creating Queer Voice” though teaches queer writers tactics for writing voices based on lived experiences of creative self formation, non-binary gender expression and gender transition. Writing prompts will guide participants to queer the voices in original poems through the use of tone, dramatic irony, performativity, engagement with history and politics, disclosing (or not) communal knowledge, storytelling and rhetorical shifts. Other topics can include the risks and rewards of displaying the queer and/or trans self in poetry as well as how poetry can uniquely articulate transgender perspectives and feelings. We will read work by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, TC Tolbert, Terrance Hayes, Danez Smith, Frank O’Hara, Jewelle Gomez and others.

DATE: Saturday, June 18, 2016
TIME: 1 pm
LOCATION: LGBT Visitor Center Miami Beach 1300 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33138.

E. PARKER PHILLIPS is a teacher, writer and performer who works across the genres of writing, kink and performance. Parker received their BA in Chinese from Yale and an MFA in Creative Writing from FIU, teaching at FIU and Broward College before opening a BDSM and fetish studio in Miami in 2014 where Parker produced over 100 events ranging from fetish theater to educational classes on the technical and mental aspects of BDSM. Parker’s poems have appeared in Hinchas de Poesia and Tigertail’s Miami Poetry Collective. Parker has also performed at the Miami Book Fair and BFI’s Weird Miami Bus Tour.

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“ZINES, QUEENS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN”

Emanuel Ribas

Reading Queer teacher Emanuel Ribas

with Emanuel Ribas and J.V. Portela

Miami is a city in between and its queer world is no exception. Caught between the vibrant beach subcultures of a bygone golden age and the murky cocktail of a future that threatens to swallow us, it seems we’re rather stuck, our past forgotten on the sand, our present vodka-soaked and trapped in bars, our future underwater. ‘Zines, Queens and Everything in Between is a generative workshop that seeks to break this present stagnancy through critical discussion and creative experimentation. We’ll use recordings from the Reading Queer Oral History Project and materials sourced from the HistoryMiami archives to plumb the depths of South Florida’s queer pasts for new ways to cruise ahead, and use free writing and experimental zine forms to record our bold new visions for Miami’s queerest future.

Participants can opt to have the ‘zines they create during this workshop be permanently archived at HistoryMiami, where they will serve to inspire future experiments in South Florida queer world-making.

DATE: May 22, 2016
TIME: 12-3 p.m.
LOCATION: HistoryMiami


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EMANUEL RIBAS is a Cuban-American artist born and raised in Miami. He is a full-time student at New World School of the Arts, and a slave to the restaurant industry – until further notice. Emanuel, also known as Emi, or Manny comes from a Christian middle class Cuban machista background, and is one of two openly gay members in his family. His work explores human behavior, the idea of death, and semiotics through different mediums and artistic styles. In the last two years his work has been exhibited at Guccivuitton Gallery (now called VersaceVersaceVersace), and in the NWSA Rising Star Show.

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Reading Queer teacher Jan Becker.

Reading Queer teacher Jan Becker.

“BOOT CAMP FOR QUEER WRITERS” with Jan Becker

This queerly manic writing workshop is an intensive, prompt-driven poetry and flash non-fiction workshop. The term ‘boot camp’ may sound intimidating, but the only real order is, “permission to write freely.” This workshop is designed to help free writers from their individual closets and get their words down on the page. The fast-paced writing prompts are designed to disengage writers from the nagging, negative voice that plagues and prevents us from accessing what poet Maria Mazziotti-Gillan calls “the wise person who lives within our bellies.”

DATE: Saturday, October 1 & 2
TIME: 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
LOCATION: Pridelines @ 6360 NE 4th Ct, Miami, FL 33138


JAN BECKER is from a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania. She didn’t stay there very long. She grew up in a Marine Corps family, on military bases all over the United States. She is currently an MFA candidate at Florida International University, and has taught courses there in composition, technical writing, creative writing and poetry. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Jai-Alai Magazine, Colorado Review, Emerge, Brevity Poetry Review, Sliver of Stone, and the Florida Book Review. She is the 2015-2016 Writer in Residence at the Girls’ Club Collection in Fort Lauderdale, and winner of the 2015 AWP Intro Journals Award in Nonfiction.

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E. Parker Phillips

Reading Queer teacher E. Parker Phillips

“QUEER (DIS)PLEASURE”
with E. Parker Phillips

Description: The workshop “Queer (Dis)pleasure” introduces poems that queer the notion of pleasure as well as poems that represent queer pleasure or even imagine pleasure (differently). As a group, we will read a sampling of queer poetry, discussing techniques poets use to say something queer, or say something queerly, about pleasure in the form of sex, love, power exchange, eating, gardening, friendship, activism or even reading and writing itself. The workshop will feature equipment from Parker’s fetish studio to help participants visualize alternative forms of sexual expression and “risk” in the form of BDSM. Readings include Walt Whitman, Eduardo C. Corral, Carl Phillips, Langston Hughes, Angelina Weld Grimké, Eileen Myles, Audre Lorde, Mark Doty and others. By the end of the workshop, participants will hopefully walk away with a poem, or at least the beginning of a poem, that is as primal and urgent in its utterance as (dis)pleasure itself.

DATE: Saturday, August 20th
TIME: 1:00 pm – 4:oo pm 
LOCATION: Pridelines Youth Services 6360 NE 4th Court Miami, FL. Directions here. Free parking. 


E. PARKER PHILLIPS is a teacher, writer and performer who works across the genres of writing, kink and performance. Parker received their BA in Chinese from Yale and an MFA in Creative Writing from FIU, teaching at FIU and Broward College before opening a BDSM and fetish studio in Miami in 2014, where Parker has produced over 150 events ranging from fetish theater to educational classes on the technical and mental aspects of BDSM. Parker’s poems have appeared in Hinchas de Poesia and Tigertail’s Miami Poetry Collective. Parker has also performed at the Miami Book Fair and BFI’s Weird Miami Bus Tour.

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Danez Smith

Reading Queer teacher Danez Smith

“FINDING HONEY IN THE ROCK: A WORKSHOP OF OBSESSION”
with Danez Smith

What can’t you shake? What constantly comes back to you? What never leaves? In this workshop, we will talk about the obsessions that arrest us for a season, and those that haunt us for a lifetime. Designed for experienced and new writers alike, this workshop ask us to dive deeper into ourselves to find new language and knowledge for the themes and topics we return to in our journeys and our writing. This workshop offers tools useful for overcoming writer’s block, for building or refining a manuscript or project, and for finding new directions and questions in your work. Though not totally guaranteed, an increase in levels of fierceness is also likely.

DATE: Thursday, April 28, 2016
TIME: 5-6:30 P.M.
LOCATION: The Lightbox at the Goldman Warehouse


DANEZ SMITH is the author of [insert] Boy (2014, YesYes Books), winner of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, and a finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. His 2nd collection, Don’t Call Us Dead, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2017. He is also the author of two chapbooks, Hands on Ya Knees and Black Movie, winner of the Button Poetry Prize. His work has been published in Poetry Magazine, Beloit Poetry Journal, Buzzfeed, Blavity, and Ploughshares. He is a 2014 Ruth Lilly – Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow, a Cave Canem and VONA alum, and a recipient of a McKnight Foundation Fellowship. Danez is a 2-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, placing 2nd in 2014. He edits for The Offing, and is a founding member of 2 collectives, Dark Noise and Sad Boy Supper Club. Danez lives in the midwest most of the time.

Danez was featured in the American Academy of Poet’s Emerging Writers  Series by National Book Award Finalist Patricia Smith. Like her, Danez bridges the poetics of the stage to that of the page. Danez’s work transcends arbitrary boundaries to present work that is gripping, dismantling of oppression constructs, and striking on the human heart. Often centered around intersections of race, class, sexuality, faith, and social justice, Danez uses rhythm, fierce raw power, and image to re-imagine the world as takes it apart in their work.


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