OutWrite 2022 Presenters

We are honored to feature this incredible lineup of LGBTQ+ writers for OutWrite 2022.

We’re excited to partner with Loyalty Bookstores to feature a virtual bookshop for our OutWrite 2022 authors. Support OutWrite 2022 authors by buying their books!


Jennifer ABJennifer Abod (she/her) is an award-winning director of both film and radio. Two of her documentaries feature major poets of the second wave: Audre Lorde and Kitty Tsui. She organized and hosted the first virtual poetry event featuring Lesbian Widows in 2021. Abod’s poetry appears in Sinister Wisdom. She is working on her first poetry manuscript.



Saida Agostini is a queer Afro-Guyanese poet whose work explores the ways Black folks harness mythology to enter the fantastic. Her work is featured in Plume, Hobart Pulp, Barrelhouse, Auburn Avenue, amongst others. Saida’s work can be found in several anthologies, including Not Without Our Laughter: Poems of Humor, Sexuality and Joy, The Future of Black, and Plume Poetry 9. She is the author of STUNT (Neon Hemlock, October 2020), a chapbook reimagining the life of Nellie Jackson, a Black madam and FBI spy from Natchez Mississippi. Her first full length collection, let the dead in, a finalist for the 2020 New Issues Poetry Prize and the Center for African American Arts & Poetics Poetry Prize, will be released by Alan Squire Publishing in Spring 2022. A Cave Canem Graduate Fellow, and member of the Black Ladies Brunch Collective, Saida is a two time Pushcart Prize Nominee and Best of the Net Finalist. Her work has received support from the Ruby Artist Grants, and the Blue Mountain Center, amongst others. She lives online at www.saidaagostini.com.

MB Austin’s contemporary thrillers feature Maji Rios, a counter-terrorism covert operator whose work intrudes on every vacation she attempts. Someday she’ll get both downtime and the woman of her dreams. MB Austin herself vacations in a past that never was, within a questionably utopian (but unquestionably genderqueer) 1850s Mediterranean, the Trencadis universe. Look for Blursday’s Revenge, a darkly funny mid-pandemic mystery that asks: murder, or Darwin award?, from Bywater Books in Fall 2022.




Danielle Badra is a queer Arab American poet who was raised in Michigan and currently resides in Virginia, where she received an MFA from George Mason University. Like We Still Speak (University of Arkansas Press, 2021) is her first full-length collection. She is the winner of the 2021 Etal Adnan Poetry Prize.


Isabella Benning is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland: College Park, where she received dual degrees in Theatre and Criminology/Criminal Justice. Her recent theatre credits include: Hookman (Lexi), Machinal (Stenographer/Defense Lawyer), Fearless New Play Festival (Ayaa, By Grace Part 2). She also recently wrote, acted in, and co-directed a short film “BLOCK”.



Allison Blevins (she/her) is the author of the collections Handbook for the Newly Disabled, A Lyric Memoir (BlazeVox, 2022) and Slowly/Suddenly (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2021). Cataloguing Pain (YesYes Books, 2022), a finalist for the Pamet River Prize, is forthcoming. She is also the author of the chapbooks Chorus for the Kill (Seven Kitchens Press, 2022), Susurration (Blue Lyra Press, 2019), Letters to Joan (Lithic Press, 2019), and A Season for Speaking (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019), part of the Robin Becker Series. Allison is the Founder and Director of Small Harbor Publishing and the Executive Editor at the museum of americana. For more information visit allisonblevins.com.




Brandon Blue is a Black, queer poet and French teacher based in Washington, D.C. He is a reader for Storm Cellar and Poet Lore and his work has or will appear in [PANK], Beyond Queer Words, Lucky Jefferson, and more.


Dustin Brookshire wearing a black shirtDustin Brookshire, a finalist for the 2021 Scotti Merrill Award, is the founder/editor of Limp Wrist, curator of the Wild & Precious Life Series (a Zoom-based poetry reading series), program director for Reading Queer, founding chapter president of the South Florida Poets, and co-editor with Julie E. Bloemeke of a forthcoming Madville Publishing Dolly Parton poetry anthology. He is the author of two chapbooks: Love Most Of You Too (Harbor Editions, 2021) and To The One Who Raped Me (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2012).  Visit him online at www.dustinbrookshire.com


Lise Bruneau (she/her) is an acclaimed actress in Washington, D.C. and beyond. She has performed at Arena Stage, Round House, Shakespeare Theatre Co., and in New York City, Cincinnati, and Denver. She trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.






Regie Cabico (he/him) is a spoken word pioneer having won The Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam and later taking top prizes in three National Poetry Slams. Television credits include TEDx, 2 seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, NPR’s Snap Judgement, and MTV’s Free Your Mind. His work appears in over 30 anthologies, including Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Café, Spoken Word Revolution, and The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. Mr. Cabico received the 2006 Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers for his work teaching at-risk youth at Bellevue Hospital. As a theater artist he received three New York Innovative Theater Award Nominations for his work in Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind with a win for Best Performance Art Production.

Taryn Carone is an alumna of the University of Maryland, where she studied Theater and Business. She participated in multiple main stage productions. After graduating, Taryn joined Imagination Stage as a Camp Manager and will be staying on for the next year as their Development Apprentice.



Mark is wearing a red, blue, and white gingham print collared button shirt. He has short brown hair, light skin, and brown eyes. Mark is smiling warmly at the cameraMark Ceilley (he/him) has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, First and Second grades. He is currently a reading interventionist. He has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of Cinderelliot: A Scrumptious Fairytale, cowritten with Rachel Smoka-Richardson.





Lauren Cherelle uses her time and talents to traverse imaginary and professional worlds. She recently penned her sophomore novel, The Dawn of Nia (Resolute Publishing, 2016). Outside of reading and writing, she enjoys new adventures with her partner of thirteen years. You can find Lauren online at Twitter and Goodreads.


Malik Ti Coleman thrives at the intersections of Black, trans, queer and neurodivergent. He believes healing, joy and miracles happen at connection. They connect people to themselves, their higher power and their communities through facilitation, storytelling, comedy, spacemaking, and other healing arts. His art practice started with improv comedy, he has performed and taught improv all over the country and internationally. Ti Malik started professional storytelling ten years ago, and realized the art of storytelling was healing. He started teaching storytelling as a healing art six years ago, working with a grief counseling group. Since then, he has used his art practices to help folks navigate identity, assist with addiction recovery, trauma healing, gender expression and other stumbling blocks.

Jona Colson is an educator and poet. He graduated from Goucher College with a double Bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish and earned his MFA from American University and a Master’s in Literature/Linguistics from George Mason University. His poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Ploughshares, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. In addition to writing his own poetry, he also translates the Spanish language poetry of Miguel Avero from Montevideo, Uruguay. His translations can be found in Prairie Schooner, Tupelo Quarterly, and Palabras Errantes. He has also published several interviews for The Writer’s Chronicle. He is currently Associate Professor at Montgomery College in Maryland where he teaches English as a Second Language. He lives in the Dupont Circle area of Washington, D.C.



John Copenhaver’s historical crime novel, Dodging and Burning (Pegasus), won the 2019 Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel and garnered Anthony, Strand Critics, Barry, and Lambda Literary Award nominations. Copenhaver writes a crime fiction review column for Lambda Literary called “Blacklight,” cohosts on the House of Mystery Radio Show, and is the six-time recipient of Artist Fellowships from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. He grew up in the mountains of southwestern Virginia and currently lives in Richmond, VA, with his husband, artist Jeffery Paul. The Savage Kind (Pegasus) is his second novel.


Natalia Huitz Corvoisier, senior theatre major at University of Maryland: College Park, Latin American and Caribbean Studies minor. UMD credits: Fefu and Her Friends (Fefu), The Revolutionists (Olympe de Gouges). Outside credits: Our National Museum of the Unforeseen Tragedy (Dr. LaPointe-Smith), Sweet Charity (Herman u/s), Nathan, the Wise (Daya).





Aimee Dastin is a rising sophomore double degree in Economics (B.S.) and Theatre (B.A.) at the University of Maryland College Park, hoping to pursue the B.A.M. Public Policy Program before going to law school. Aimee has lived in Belgium, Israel, and Ukraine due to her mother’s job with the U.S. State Department. She has a variety of experience in journalism, political and non-profit work, international development research, and environmental activism. She is passionate about working to improve the environmental state of the world, especially focused on areas such as the effect of climate change on the world’s poorest countries and increasing sustainability in all practices.


Chris/tine Deng is a queer, Chinese American writer and multimedia artist born and based in New York. She is the co-creator of “Chinatown: Then and Now”, a public art exhibition highlighting displacement and gentrification in Chinatown, Manhattan at Essex Market Gallery. Their work was recently featured in “F-Stop in Chinatown” a group exhibition by ThinkChinatown and the JH Project. Her writing explores grief, collective memory, and community resilience. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @heycdeng.

Meredith Doench is the author of the Luce Hansen thriller series and Whereabouts Unknown (March 2022). Her writing has also appeared in many literary journals. She is a board member of Mystery Writers of America, Midwest Chapter, and is a senior lecturer of creative writing, literature, and composition at the University of Dayton in Ohio. For more information about this author and to view book purchase information, visit www.meredithdoench.com.





Emma Copley Eisenberg (she/her) is a queer writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, Granta, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, Esquire, Guernica, The Washington Post Magazine, and others. Her first book of nonfiction, The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2020 and nominated for an Edgar Award, a Lambda Literary Award, and an Anthony Bouchercon Award. Invested in diversifying access to reporting skills, she teaches the bi-monthly course Reporting for Creative Writers and has taught fiction at Bryn Mawr College, the University of Virginia, Catapult, The Porch, ZYZZYVA, and others. Raised in New York City, she lives in Philadelphia, where she co-directs Blue Stoop, a community hub for the literary arts. Her next two books, a novel and a collection of short stories, are forthcoming from Hogarth.

Nuha Fariha is a queer, first generation Bangladeshi American writer. A first year MFA Candidate at Louisiana State University, she is the Fiction Editor for the New Delta Review. Her work has appeared in Jamhoor, Magma and Stellium Literary. Her first chapbook, God Mornings Tiger Nights, is forthcoming with Gameover Books. She lives in Baton Rouge with her son and partner.

Robert W. Fieseler is a National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association “Journalist of the Year” and the acclaimed debut author of Tinderbox: The Untold Story of the Up Stairs Lounge Fire and the Rise of Gay Liberation (Liveright 2018) — winner of the Edgar Award and the Louisiana Literary Award, shortlisted for the Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Queer literary icon Andrew Holleran reviewed Tinderbox as “far more than just a history of gay rights,” and Michael Cunningham praised it as “essential reading at any time.” Fieseler is presently working on his second queer history book, which was a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. He graduated co-valedictorian from the Columbia Journalism School and lives with his husband and two kittens in New Orleans.



JR (he/him) and Vanessa (she/her) Ford are nationally-respected advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and specifically transgender youth. Their advocacy and work have been featured in the New York TimesNewsweek, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Good Morning America and in Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric. JR and Vanessa are members of the Human Rights Campaign’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council and authors of the children’s book, “Calvin” ( “Moi, Calvin” in French and “Florian” in German). They live with their two children, one of whom is trans, in the Boston, Massachusetts, area. For more information: www.jrandvanessaford.com .

Kelly J. Ford is the author of Real Bad Things, coming September 2022 from Thomas & Mercer, and Cottonmouths, named one of 2017’s best books of the year by the Los Angeles Review and featured in the “52 Books in 52 Weeks” from the Los Angeles Times. An Arkansas native, Kelly writes about the power and pitfalls of friendship, the danger of long-held secrets, and the transcendent grittiness of the Ozarks and their surrounds. She lives in Vermont with her wife and cat.



Blair Franklin (they/she) is a Black queer femme facilitator, community builder, and intuitive healer deeply rooted in the marshes and forests of the Chesapeake (Piscataway land / Baltimore, MD). They are a member of the Rooted Collective – a Baltimore-based gathering of Black LGBTQ folx who work to define, dream, and expand on the ways we heal from oppression and define joy and pleasure — and through Alight Alchemy, Blair supports folx through transition using the art of tarot to cultivate spaces that ignite power and purpose. She is most curious about spaces for rest and reflection that center Black queer and trans activists and organizers, the healing power within our (re)connection to land and ancestry, and documenting how communities are practicing liberation. A work in progress, they are engaged in their own healing through dance, creative writing, collaborative storytelling, and collective work.


Jon Gann has three decades of experience in the creation, production, and promotion of short films. He is a founding Board Member of the Film Festival Alliance, and sits on the Advisory Board at George Mason University’s School of Film & Video Studies. In addition, he has published two popular guide books on film festivals, Behind the Screens, and So You Wanna Start a Film Festival. Gann founded the DC Shorts Film Festival, served as Executive Director of the CINE Golden Eagle Awards, and has produced films for such clients as the Fulbright International Program, and the Marvin Hamlisch Music Awards, as well as documentaries such as “Miss Alma Thomas: A Life in Color,” which is touring museums along with a retrospective exhibition in 2021-2022.



ST Gibson is a literary agent, author, and village wise woman in training. A graduate of the creative writing program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and the theological studies program at Princeton Seminary, she currently lives in Boston with her partner, spoiled Persian cat, and vintage blazer collection. She is represented by Tara Gilbert of the Jennifer De Chiara literary agency.



Robyn Gigl is the author of Survivor’s Guilt (January 2022) and By Way of Sorrow (March 2021), published by Kensington Books. Both books feature transgender, criminal defense attorney, Erin McCabe, and her law partner, Duane Swisher. Robyn is an attorney and activist who has been honored by the ACLU-NJ and the NJ Pride Network for her work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community. Robyn is a frequent speaker on LGBTQ+ issues. She is a partner at the law firm of Gluck Walrath, LLP in Freehold, NJ, where she handles complex commercial and employment litigation. Since 2010, Robyn has been selected as a New Jersey Super Lawyer and has also been named as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in New Jersey. In 2019, she was appointed by the Governor and Legislature to the New Jersey Transgender Equality Taskforce. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Garden State Equality, NJ’s largest LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Organization. She is a graduate of Stonehill College and Villanova University School of Law. Robyn lives in New Jersey, where she continues to practice law by day, and work on her third novel by night. Fortunately, she has a very boring social life.

Kailee Goldberg is a senior theatre major at University of Maryland. UMD credits include: Hookman (Yoonji), New Beginnings Musical Theatre Revue, A Doll House (Dr. Rank U/S), Second Season’s Soundtrack (Alice). Directing Credits: Heathers (32 Bars), Fefu and Her Friends (Assistant Director). Artistic Director for Kreativity Diversity Troupe and UTAS Co-President.





Christopher Gonzalez is a queer Puerto Rican writer living in New York. He is the author of the short story collection I’m Not Hungry but I Could Eat, which follows the lives of messy and hunger-fueled bisexual Puerto Rican men who strive to satisfy their cravings of the stomach, heart, and soul in a conflicted unpredictable world. Gonzalez is a 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Fiction for the New York Foundation of the Arts. His writing appears in the Nation, Catapult, the Millions, Little Fiction, the Forge, Lunch Ticket, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. A graduate of Vassar College, he was the recipient of the 2015 Ann E. Imbrie Prize for Excellence in Fiction Writing. His flash fiction was chosen for the 2019 Best Small Fictions anthology and named one of Wigleaf‘s Top 50 for 2020. He currently serves as a fiction editor at Barrelhouse and spends his waking hours tweeting about Oscar Isaac, book publishing, trash television, and the Popeyes spicy chicken sandwich @livesinpages.

Dorothy Randall GrayDorothy Randall Gray (She/Her and Your Majesty) is author of the bestseller, Soul Between the Lines (Avon/Harper Collins), a recent volume of poetry Sharing the Same Sky and several other publications. Her poetry is the subject of a film awarded Official Selection by the Film & Poetry Video Poetry Symposium, and her writing is featured in the upcoming Aja Monet /Eve Ensler production of VOICES. She is a transformational teacher, Hedgebrook Fellow, former LA and Audre Lorde Poet-in- Residence, UNESCO delegate, and board member of the International Women’s Writing Guild.


Casey Hamilton (he/him) is a writer with his roots in raw, fictional storytelling. A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a graduate of Southern University and A&M College, he now writes from Atlanta, Georgia. After briefly working as a freelance copywriter, Hamilton followed his passion for creative writing with his 2013 amateur debut as a YouTube content creator and star of the gay web series, Judys. He is the author of the novel Men After Ten.





Cheryl Head (she/her) writes the award-winning Charlie Mack Motown Mysteries whose female PI protagonist is queer and black. Head is a two-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, and winner of the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Ann Bannon Popular Choice Award. Her books have been shortlisted for the Next Generation Indie Book Award, and are listed in the Detroit Public Library’s African American Book List. In 2019, Head was named to the Hall of Fame of the New Orleans Saints and Sinners Literary Festival, and this year was awarded the Alice B Readers Appreciation Medal. Cheryl lives in Washington, D.C. with her partner, and Abby and Frisby who provide canine supervision.


Jubi Arriola-Headley (he/they) is a Blacqueer poet, a storyteller, a first-generation United Statesian (the son of Bajan immigrants), and author of the poetry collection original kink (Sibling Rivalry Press), recipient of the 2021 Housatonic Book Award. He’s a 2018 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, holds an MFA from the University of Miami, and has received support for his work from Millay Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center, the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Lambda Literary, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Jubi and his poems have been featured in Literary Hub, The Rumpus, Beloit Poetry Journal, Nimrod, Southern Humanities Review, Washington Square Review, PBS NewsHour’s Brief But Spectacular, and elsewhere. Jubi lives with his husband in South Florida, on Tequesta and Seminole lands, and his work explores themes of masculinity, vulnerability, rage, tenderness and joy. Black Lives Matter. Trans Lives Matter. Stop Asian Hate. Art is Labor. Abolish Policing. Eat the Rich. Stay Kinky. Free Palestine.


Edwin Hill’s critically-acclaimed crime novels include his most recent standalone thriller The Secrets We Share. He has been nominated for Edgar and Agatha Awards, featured in Us Magazine, received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal, and was recognized as one of “Six Crime Writers to Watch” in Mystery Scene magazine. He lives in Roslindale, Massachusetts with his partner Michael and his favorite reviewer, their lab Edith Ann, who likes his first drafts enough to eat them.

Jonathan has a short beard and connecting mustache. His hair is brown. He is wearing a red and navy blue flannel. His selfie was taken in the woods.Jonathan Hillman (he/him) is a graduate of Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults (MFAC) program, where he won the Walden Pond Press Award for Excellence in Middle Grade Fiction. His work has been featured in Fat and Queer: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Bodies and Lives. His debut picture book BIG WIG is out now, and his second picture book THE WISHING MACHINE is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster in Fall 2023. He lives near Minneapolis, MN with his two cats.




Emily Holland (she/they) is a genderqueer lesbian writer living in Washington, D.C. She received her MFA from American University, where she won the Myra Sklarew Award for outstanding thesis and was the Editor-In-Chief of FOLIO. Their poems have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including Shenandoah, Black Warrior Review, Nat. Brut, DIALOGIST, Homology Lit, and Wussy. Her chapbook Lineage was published by dancing girl press in 2019. Their work has been supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and Sundress Academy for the Arts. Currently, she is the Editor of Poet Lore, America’s oldest poetry magazine published by The Writer’s Center.



Elle Ire writes science fiction and paranormal romance featuring kickass women who fall in love with each other. Her work includes Vicious Circle, the Storm Fronts trilogy, Reel to Real Love, and Dead Woman’s Pond, all from DSP Publications. In her free time, she enjoys getting into her characters’ minds by taking shooting lessons, paying to be kidnapped “just for the fun and feel of it,” and attempting numerous escape rooms. Elle is represented by Naomi Davis at BookEnds Literary Agency.





Joshua Henry Jenkins (he/him) is an interactive media strategist, designer, and organizer of a community based out of Washington, D.C. by way of rural North Carolina. Currently, he is the Director of Marketing for Theatre Communications Group. He was previously the Director of Web and New Media Strategies at Americans for the Arts. He’s the co-creator of BLACK, GAY, stuck at home as well as the outgoing board chair of the Arts Administrators of Color Network. In service of the communities to which he belongs, he is creates and amplifies work that uplifts BIPOC and LGTBQIA+ identifying folks, citizens of rural areas, and most importantly those who exist at those intersections. Joshua received his Master of Arts in Interactive Media from Elon University and his Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cary Alan Johnson is an author, activist, and Africanist raised in Brooklyn.  He has a Bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Columbia University. A long-time innovator in national and international queer politics and cultural activism, he was involved in several ground-breaking organizations, including the Blackheart Collective, Gay Men of African Descent, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. Cary was a founder of Other Countries, the Black gay arts collective that published three volumes of poetry, prose, and visual art by Black gay men in the 80s and 90s. His short stories, poetry and essays have appeared in several anthologies and literary journals including Agni, RFD, Classic Gay Love Poems, Joseph Beam’s Brother to Brother and E. Lynn Harris’ Freedom in this Village. A public health and HIV specialist with experience living and working in Guinea, Haiti, Mali, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Ukraine, and Zimbabwe, Cary is currently the country director for Population Services International in Burundi.


Bonnilee Kaufman (she, queer) Lambda Literary Fellow and aging femme, Bonnilee Kaufman’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in: Ghosts of the Holocaust, Milk & Honey-A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry, The Brillantina ProjectSinister Wisdom, Selfish, Gyroscope Review, Queer Loving Ang(st) Journal, Los Angeles Library National Poetry Month 2020, and 42 Stories Anthology.





Dwayne Lawson-Brown is a crocheting, breakdancing parent; doubling as a poet and host of various events. Lawson-Brown is a foolish lover with a passion for connecting communities. They prove that you are constantly learning, and self-exploration is an ongoing practice.



Jabari Lyles (he/they) is a Black, fat, queer, gender-nonconforming and gender-questioning educator, community organizer, public administrator and cultural organizer with over 15 years of experience leading initiatives that emphasize passions for people, education and justice.





Ronna MagyRonna Magy (she, her) Born in Detroit, Michigan, writer Ronna Magy claims California as home. Over the decades, she’s seen the world through the eyes of a community organizer, switchboard operator, cashier, health care worker, and teacher of English as a Second Language. Her work has appeared in Writers Resist, American Writers Review, Artists and Climate Change, Sinister Wisdom, Nasty Women Poets, Persimmon Tree, In the Questions, Trivia, Voices of Feminism, Musewrite, Glitterwolf, and Lady Business: A Celebration of Lesbian Poetry. Ronna is the author of several ESL textbooks.


Nicholas McQuain is a Queer, non-binary, aroace, autistic writer, director, and performer. Nicholas seeks to explore and fuse together the realms of horror, science-fiction, and queer expression to create shocking works that seek to captivate and enthrall the audience. Nicholas explores performance through multiple avenues such as acting, dance, drag, puppetry, and singing. Nicholas also has experience as a member of production serving as a dresser for a production of Little Women and as the executive producer and casting director of Big Brother Maryland.



Lynn Melnick is the author of the poetry collections Refusenik (2022), Landscape with Sex and Violence (2017), and If I Should Say I Have Hope (2012), all with YesYes Books, and the coeditor of Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation (Viking, 2015). I’ve Had to Think Up a Way to Survive: On Trauma, Persistence, and Dolly Parton is forthcoming from University of Texas Press in 2022.



Lil Miss Hot Mess has curly red hair shaped in a voluminous bob. Green jeweled round sun glasses. And is wearing a sequined magenta dress.Lil Miss Hot Mess (she/her) is the author of the children’s books If You’re a Drag Queen and You Know It (Running Press Kids, 2022) and The Hips on the Drag Queen Go Swish, Swish, Swish (2020), the latter of which was featured on the Ellen Show as the beloved book of Jesse Tyler Ferguson. In addition to being an author, she is also a storyteller and board member of Drag Queen Story Hour. Known for throwing extravaganzas like her “Bat Mitzvah x2” and roller skating parties, Lil Miss Hot Mess has appeared on world-class stages from Saturday Night Live to the Brooklyn Museum, and Stanford University to Occupy SF, as well as legendary clubs coast-to-coast like The Stud, Bushwig, Queen Kong, and many many more. She’s also a queen who loves to play with creative technology, and helped lead the #MyNameIs campaign that successfully challenged Facebook’s so-called “real names” policy. Lil Miss Hot Mess’s writing has been published in popular outlets like The Guardian, Wired, and Salon, as well as academic journals including Curriculum Inquiry and Studies in Gender and Sexuality, and her work has been featured in documentaries and by media outlets around the world. By day, she is an assistant professor who researches and teaches on digital media, surveillance, and queer studies.

Kathleen Nicole O’Neal has been involved with LGBTQ+ and youth rights activism for over fifteen years. She has presented workshops and talks on youth rights and LGBTQ+ rights issues at San Francisco State University, American University, and Bowling Green State University. She holds a Master of Arts degree in philosophy from San Francisco State University, a Master of Public Administration degree from American University, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University, where she completed majors in political science, history, and religion. She has blogged extensively about youth rights issues since 2012 at her blog, The Youth Rights Blog. Her work on the intersection of ageism and anti-queer and trans bigotry was featured on The Bilerico Project blog in the early 2010s. He work on youth rights has been published in the Dog Section Press anthology No: Against Adult Supremacy. She is currently working on a serious nonfiction book with the working title Youth Liberation: The Ageist Oppression of Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults and the Need for a Radical Rights Based Revolution.

Mari Ness spent much of her life wandering the world and reading. This, naturally, trained her to do just one thing: write. Her short fiction and poetry have appeared in numerous print and online publications, including Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Fireside, Apex Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, Uncanny, and Fantasy. Tor.com has featured several of her essay series, including On Fairy Tales, The Disney Read-Watch (short listed for a Stabby Award), The Pixar Rewatch, and Travels Through Fairyland (a reread/study of all 40 of the original Oz books, plus related material). Her poetry has been nominated for the Rhysling, Dwarf Stars, and Elgin Awards. She lives in central Florida, with a scraggly rose garden and large trees harboring demented squirrels.

Onyinyechi Jessica Ogwumike (she/they) is an Igbo lesbian poet and ceramicist raised in Chicago, Illinois. Ogwumike received a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies from Northwestern University, where they received a Faricy Award for Poetry. They recently received a Masters of Public Health from DePaul University and were published in Foglifter Journal. Her work attends to embody memory as both internal and collective archive.

Tanya Olson lives in Silver Spring, Maryland and is a lecturer in English at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Her first book, Boyishly, was published by YesYes Books in 2013 and received a 2014 American Book Award. Her second book, Stay, was released by YesYes Books in 2019. In 2010, she won a Discovery/Boston Review prize and she was named a 2011 Lambda Fellow by the Lambda Literary Foundation. Her poem “54 Prince” was chosen for inclusion in Best American Poems 2015.




Leah Packer is a junior theatre performance major and Creative and Performing Arts Scholar at the University of Maryland. Recent credits include: Fefu and Her Friends (Emma), Hookman (Chloe u/s), Like Other Girls (Narrator), and 10 Ways To Survive in Quarantine (Jules). She’s been DCMTA honored for her work in SSTG’s Kindertransport.





Michelle Parkerson is a writer, lecturer, and award-winning filmmaker based in Washington, D.C. Her work has screened at prestigious international film festivals including The Sundance Film Festival, The Berlin Film Festival, and AFI Fest. She has documented the lives of LGBTQ icon Audre Lorde, jazz innovator Betty Carter, a cappella activists Sweet Honey in the Rock, and legendary male impersonator Stormé DeLarverie. Parkerson served on the faculties of Northwestern University, Temple University, Howard University, and the University of Delaware, as well as the DC Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs Advisory Committee and the Board of Mary’s House for Older Adults, Inc.



An Edgar Award nominated writer and cultural historian, James Polchin is a Clinical Professor in Liberal Studies at New York University. His book, Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall, is published by Counterpoint Press in the U.S. and Icon Books in the UK. His articles and reviews have appeared in Slate, TIME, Huffington Post UK, CrimeReads, Paris Review, Rolling Stone, NewNextNow, Lambda Literary, and the Gay and Lesbian Review Worldwide. He has been interviewed on the subject of queer true crime by Vox, Oxygen, BBC4 Radio, NPR, The American Scholar, CrimeReads, Bookforum, and Publishers Weekly. He has held faculty appointments in the Princeton Writing Program and the New School and is an Arts Instructor at the Creative Nonfiction Foundation.

Sarah is a brunette wearing a black scoop neck top.Sarah Prager (she/her) is the author of four books on LGBTQ+ history for youth. Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World (HarperCollins, 2017), a young adult book, has received numerous distinctions including three starred reviews and being named a 2017 Best Book for Teens by the New York Public Library. Rainbow Revolutionaries: 50 LGBTQ+ People Who Made History (HarperCollins, 2020), is a middle grade book and Junior Library Guild selection. Her newest is a picture book, Kind Like Marsha: Learning from LGBTQ+ Leaders (Running Press, 2022), and A Child’s Introduction to Pride (Black Dog & Leventhal, 2023) is forthcoming. Sarah has presented on LGBTQ+ history to over 170 audiences across nine countries and her writing has appeared in many national outlets including the New York Times, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and NBC News. She lives in Massachusetts with her wife and their two young children. Learn more at www.sarahprager.com.

Kim Roberts (she/her) is the editor of By Broad Potomac’s Shore: Great Poems from the Early Days of Our Nation’s Capital (University of Virginia Press, 2020). Roberts is the author of five books of poems, most recently, The Scientific Method (WordTech Editions, 2017). Her sixth book of poems, Corona/Crown, is a cross-disciplinary collaboration with photographer Robert Revere, which will be published by WordTech Editions in 2023. Visit kimroberts.org for more info.


Shelly Romero (she/her) is a Honduran American children’s book editor based in New York City. She started her career at Scholastic where she was most recently an associate editor. At Scholastic, she acquired titles such as Last Gamer Standing by Katie Zhao, Join the Club, Maggie Diaz by Nina Moreno, and The Witchery by S. Isabelle and worked on Goosebumps. Shelly was selected as a 2020 Publishers Weekly Star Watch Honoree. If you can find her at home, she’s usually rewatching her favorite horror movies and daydreaming about her next trip to Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando.



Eric wearing a cobalt blue sweater with a white collar popping out of the neck. He has brown hair and thin-framed glassesEric Rosswood (he/him) is an award-winning author and commentator on LGBTQ+ issues including civil rights, parenting, marriage, and politics. He has led panels on LGBTQ+ parenting issues for organizations such as Family Equality and the Modern Family Alliance. Rosswood also writes stories for children, including the highly anticipated picture book, STRONG, cowritten with Rob Kearney, the world’s first openly gay strongman competitor who broke American weightlifting records. Rosswood is represented for his children’s books by Jennifer Mattson at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.




Carla Rachel Sameth was recently selected as the Co-Poet Laureate for Altadena, CA 2022-2024. Her chapbook, What Is Left, was published December 2021 with dancing girl press. Carla’s debut memoir, One Day on the Gold Line, originally published in 2019, will be reissued by Golden Foothills Press in 2022. Her writing on blended/unblended, queer, multi-racial and single parent families appears in a variety of literary journals, anthologies, newspapers and blogs including: The Rumpus, Full Grown People, MUTHA Magazine, Brain/Child, Brevity Blog, Entropy, Anti-Heroin Chic, Global Poemic, Soren Lit, La Bloga, Call Me {Progress} Literary Journal/University of Alabama and The Nervous Breakdown. Carla’s work has been twice named as Notable Essays of the Year in Best American Essays. Her story “Graduation Day at Addiction High,” which originally appeared in Narratively, was also selected for Longread’s “Five Stories on Addiction.” A Pasadena Rose Poet, a West Hollywood Pride Poet, and a former PEN Teaching Artist, Carla teaches creative writing to high school and university students and has taught incarcerated youth. She was selected as a Carrizozo Artist-in-Residence (February 2022). She lives in Pasadena with her beloved partner, Milo.

Rosario Santiago (she/they) is a queer Boricua writer from Philadelphia. She enjoys writing about time-travel, beautiful mundane things, and girls falling in love.

In addition to having published poetry and short stories, Riley Scott has worked as a grant and press writer and a marketing professional. She holds a degree in journalism. She has five WLW romance novels published by Bella Books — Conservative Affairs, Small Town Secrets, Backstage Pass, A Time to Speak and On the Rocks. Her first YA title — Take Your Shot — is coming out in 2022. She lives in Pensacola, Florida, with the love of her life and their three beloved dogs.




Gregg Shapiro (he/him) is the author of eight books including the poetry collection Fear of Muses (Souvenir Spoon Books, 2022). Recent/forthcoming lit-mag publications include The Penn Review, Exquisite Pandemic, RFD, Gargoyle, Limp Wrist, Mollyhouse, Poetic Medicine, Impossible Archetype, Red Fern Review, Instant Noodles, Dissonance Magazine, The Pine Cone Review, and POETiCA REViEW, as well as the anthologies Moving Images: Poems Inspired by Film (Before Your Quiet Eyes Publishing, 2021), This Is What America Looks Like (Washington Writers’ Publishing House, 2021), and Sweeter Voices Still: An LGBTQ Anthology From Middle America (Belt Publishing, 2021). An entertainment journalist, whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBTQ+ and mainstream publications and websites, Shapiro lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his husband Rick and their dog Coco.

Vincent Slatt (he/him) is a Librarian at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Since 2003 he has worked with countless humanities scholars on their research in the areas of the Holocaust and genocide studies. He is a Board member for the Rainbow History Project (RHP), serving as director of archiving. RHP captures oral histories, and regularly offers panel presentations.





Doug Cooper Spencer (he/him) is a novelist and short fiction writer living in New York City. He was born in 1954 in Lincoln Heights Ohio, a small all black city that also counts Nikki Giovanni and The Isley Brothers as hometown folks. Doug is the author of: This Place of Men, People Like Us, and Leaving Gomorrah (which are three books in a trilogy), A Letter to a Friend, Ella Pruitt (finalist for the 2016 Phillis Wheatley Book Awards), Gather the Bones, and A River Runs Beneath Us: Voices and Writings of The Griot Book Project. Currently Doug is at work on a novel and two screenplays.




Jill Strachan (she/her) is the author of Waterfalls, The Moon and Sensible Shoes-One Lesbian Life, published in November 2021. She is retired from a career in arts administration, including serving as general manager of the Lesbian & Gay Chorus of Washington, D.C., and executive director of the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop.



Rosiee Thor has magenta hair, red rimmed glasses, blue eyes, and is wearing a black coat

Rosiee Thor (she/they) began her career as a storyteller by demanding to tell her mother bedtime stories instead of the other way around. She spent her childhood reading by flashlight in the closet until she came out as queer. She lives in Oregon with a dog, two cats, and an abundance of plants. She is the author of Young Adult novels Tarnished Are The Stars and Fire Becomes Her and the picture book The Meaning of Pride.





Milo Todd’s fiction focuses on trans history, the trans experience, and the trans body. His work has appeared in SLICE Magazine, Response Magazine, Foglifter Journal, Home is Where You Queer Your Heart, Emerge: The 2019 Lambda Fellows Anthology, Writer Unboxed, Dead Darlings, GrubWrites, Everyday Feminism, and more. He was selected for the 2021 Tin House Winter Workshop, received a 2021 Monson Arts residency, was a 2020 Pitch Wars Mentee, a 2019 Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction, and a 2016 Pechet Fellow for the Novel Incubator Program. He’s an Assistant Fiction Editor for Foglifter Journal and a Fiction Reader for Split Lip Magazine. He can be found at www.milotodd.com.


Kitty Tsui wrote the groundbreaking The Words of a Woman Who Breathes Fire, the first book by an Asian American lesbian. Her second, Breathless: Erotica, won the Firecracker Alternative Book award. Her third, Sparks Fly, was penned by her alter ego Eric Norton, a gay leatherman living in pre-AIDS San Francisco. She has been included in over 80 anthologies worldwide. “Nice Chinese Girls Don’t”, an award-winning documentary short, introduces Tsui, a writer-activist-athlete. In 2019, the film was selected for inclusion in Frameline, San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival. Tsui is considered by many to be one of the foremothers of the Asian Pacific Islander lesbian feminist movement.



Dan Vera (he/him) is a first-gen, borderlands born Queer-Tejano Latinx writer, editor, and literary historian of Cuban/Caribbean ancestry. Awarded the Oscar Wilde Award for Poetry and the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, he co-edited Imaniman: Poets Writing In The Anzaldúan Borderlands and authored two books of poetry. He’s been featured by the Poetry Foundation, the NEA and in academic curricula, various journals, and anthologies. He lives in Washington D.C. with his beloved Pete and their blessed dog Blossom. Twitter: @danvera.


Julie Vitto is a copy editor and writer who lives in Washington, D.C.

Alan R. Warren has written articles for True Crime Case Files Magazine and is still a contributor to Serial Killer Magazine. He has completed 24 true crime books for three different publishers (RJ Parker Publishing/Vronksy Parker Publishing in Toronto, Canada and WildBlue Press in America), and Skyhorse. Alan is the host and producer of the popular Radioshow House of Mystery heard on NBC and syndicated throughout the U.S. and Canada. It can be heard online in many different places: iTunes, YouTube, Tune-in, Stitcher Radio, IHeart Media/Speaker, Podbay, and Podomatic.



Anne Marie Wells (she/they) is a queer poet, playwright, and storyteller navigating the world with a chronic illness. She is a faculty member with the Community Literature Initiative through the Sims Library of Poetry. In 2020, she earned the Milestone Award presented by Wyoming Writers, Inc., and the Rising Star Award presented by the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce. She was the winner of the 2021 Crow House Press Poetry Competition and earned the 2021 Peter K. Hixson Memorial award in poetry presented by Writer’s Relief. She was a 2021 Wyoming Woman of Influence nominee in the arts category for amplifying “oft-ignored points of view, particularly those from LGBTQ and disabled communities.” Anne Marie’s poems have appeared in or will appear in Ninth Letter, Plath Profiles, The Alchemy Literary Journal, Brain Mill Press, Santa Fe Writing Project, The JH Poetry Box, Changing Womxn Collective, Angel City Review, Coastal Shelf, In Parentheses, Lucky Jefferson, Meniscus Journal, Muddy River Poetry Review, Other Worldly Women’s Press, Poets’ Choice, Passengers Journal, Skylight 47, Turbulence and Coffee, Soliloquies Anthology, Unlimited Literature, Variant Literature, The Voices Project, and others.

Charlotte has dark blonde hair slightly curled at the ends and bangs. She is wearing red lipstick and a patterned bright orange and white dressCharlotte Sullivan Wild (she/her) is the author of the picture book Love, Violet, illustrated by Charlene Chua (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2022), a first picture book from a major U.S. publisher to portray a crush between two girls. She is also the author of the picture book The Amazing Idea of You (Lundquist, Bloomsbury 2019). She has loved teaching, bookselling, volunteering in libraries, chatting about books on the radio, and creating community kidlit events. Originally from snowy Minnesota, she now lives with ME/CFS, a chronic illness, wherever her wife is stationed, recently in San Antonio, Texas, and now in Italy with The Eggyatrixes, a flock of adorable, opinionated hens. She is represented by Minju Chang at BookStop Literary Agency. Learn more at www.charlotteswild.com.


Monte J. Wolfe is an actor, writer, director, producer, musician and activist. He is also an experienced theatre professional with an extensive background in theatre management, arts administration, and production. He has worked professionally in the D.C. metropolitan area since 1999. He is also a trained actor and singer with various stage, film and television appearances to his credit. He is a graduate of the Howard University Theatre Arts Department, where he earned a BFA in Theatre Arts Administration in 1999. He is the Founder, Artistic, and Managing Director of Brave Soul Collective (BSC), an arts, education, and outreach organization with a focus on HIV/AIDS, and issues affecting the lives of LGBTQ people, through the performing and healing arts. Through his work with BSC, Monte has served as a producer, director, and playwright for a long list of theatrical productions and community events since 2006. For more on Monte and Brave Soul Collective, visit: wearebravesouls.com.

Dr. Kalima Young is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electronic Media and Film at Towson University. Her scholarship explores the impact of race and gender-based trauma on Black identity, media, and Black cultural production. A videographer and writer, Ms. Young has written, produced and directed two feature films Grace Haven (2006), Lessons Learned (2009), as well as several political campaign videos. A gender-rights activist, Dr. Young is on the leadership team for the FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture’s Monument Quilt Project, a collection of stories of survivors of rape and sexual abuse. Collecting over 6,000 quilt squares from across the nation. She is also a member of Rooted, a Black LGBTQ healing collective. Additionally, Dr. Young is a frequent host on local radio where she provides media and cultural criticism. Her publications include: “We Will Survive: Race and Gender-Based Trauma as Cultural Truth-Telling”. Feminist Perspectives on Orange Is the New Black: Thirteen Critical Essays. Eds. April Kalogeropoulos Householder and Adrienne Trier-Bieniek, NC: McFarland Publishers (2016); “Emancipating the Past, Spectacularizing the Present: Kara Walker, Slavery and Representations of Cultural Trauma.” Powerlines Journal, 3.1 (2015); and “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and the March on Washington (1963)” Powerlines Journal 2.1 (2014). Her new manuscript, Mediated Misogynoir: The Erasure of Black Women and Girls’ Pain the Public Imagination, is scheduled to be release by Rowman and Littlefield’s Lexington Books in Spring 2020.