It was my pleasure to spend the last weekend of March at the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival. Paul Willis and his merry band put on another great gathering of LGBTQ author luminaries, queer emerging authors and many other artists and allies. On the schedule were master classes, panels and reading series, so plenty from which to listen and learn.
It was great to see so many friends and to make more as I interacted at the conference. Of course, I also had to put more items on my to-be-read list after hearing writers read from their works or rave about things they had read.
I read from my third book, In the Midst of Tribulation, on a rainy Sunday morning. Other writers reading at that time were Dale Corvino, Lewis DeSimone, Fay Jacobs, Felice Picano and Bryan Washington (who won the Emerging Writer Award later that afternoon).
Additionally, I was on a panel on the Power of Love and Desire with Kimberly Dark, Karelia Stetz-Waters, Rick Reed and Lewis DeSimone, moderated by David Pratt. Our conversation meandered from erotica to romance to tropes and everything in between.
A highlight from the weekend:
We were in the presence of giants with a great panel of lesbian literary foremothers – Dorothy Allison, Blanche McCrary Boyd, and Judy Grahn, moderated by the incomparable Cheryl Head. They talked about lesbian literature then and now, shared stories of their lives and challenged us all.
- Question from Judy Grahn on what drives the movement, “Power is ranged against us. How do we replace it?”
- Questions from Dorothy Allison for us all: “Did I tell my truth? Did I take enough risks?”
- Question from Blanche McCrary Boyd – “What is the next right thing to do?”
The festival ended on Sunday afternoon with the inductees of the Saints and Sinners Hall of Fame. Hosted by humorist Fay Jacobs, the ceremony saw Michael Cunningham, Judy Grahn, Cheryl Head and Frank Perez join an elite group that includes the following:
If I’ve made you jealous, consider coming to New Orleans next year. The Saints and Sinners Literary Festival for 2020 will be held on March 27-29. I hope to see you there!