The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pursue our magic and make it realized. – Audre Lorde
Literature saves lives. As queer writers and readers we know this from personal experience. By inviting us to expand our sense of self to include the experiences of others, reading also lays the foundation for the building of strong and lasting communities, queer and otherwise, based on mutual care, respect and understanding. Writing, on the other hand, invites us to explore and create new possibilities for being and becoming in the world. The blank page can be a promise of new beginnings in a world eager to foreclose them, an invitation to take charge where we feel most powerless. If we allow it, our writing can provide the light by which to recognize, as old Walt Whitman wrote, that though the powerful play goes on, we may contribute a verse.
Designed and led by local writers who won RQ Teaching Stipends, every workshop is organized around a particular theme of relevance to the lives of the communities they serve. The focus of our public workshops will be to engage queer writers and artists of any level of experience in the development of their craft. Participants of these workshops will be exposed to a wide variety of writing tools and approaches designed specifically to enhance their creative output by overcoming internal blocks while also exploring new possibilities for meaning and language. Though these public workshops are not necessarily genre-specific, some do focus on specific modes of writing, such as memoir, speculative fiction and blog-writing for political advocacy.
Courses offered for the 2014 – 2015 season: “In Defense of Forgetting” with Connie Mae Oliver (registration open), “Oddly Enough” with Caro Hernandez, “Inside Out/Upside Down” with Vanessa Garcia, “Textual Pleasures” with Anya Wallace & Jilliian Hernandez, “Boot Camp for Queer Writers” with Jan Becker, “The Fitting Room” with Laura McDermott Matheric & “The Personal is Political: Telling Your Stories & Making Them Visible” with Christine Morando. (Read more about our teachers & view the curriculum @ Academy.
The Reading Queer Writing Academy aims to inspire and prepare members of the queer community to tap into this powerful potential inherent to the act and the art of writing. Consisting of a series oft 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.