Introducing The Class of 2010: Emerging LGBT Voices

In less than two weeks, 33 of our most talented emerging writers representing every region in the U.S. (15 states!) and Canada (British Columbia!) will come to Los Angeles for a pivotal experience in their careers — the Writers’ Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices — to be held August 8-15 at the American Jewish University in beautiful Bel Air.

After postponement in 2009 due to the struggling economy, this vitally important program meant to encourage the development of our community’s most promising writers is back!

Leading the week-long, intensive instruction are distinguished facultyNicola Griffith (Fiction), Ellery Washington (Nonfiction), Ellen Bass (Poetry) — and guest faculty who will lecture, lead workshops and inspire this impressive group of artists to move forward, and in some cases, finish their works-in-progress.

Through August 1, we are still raising donations for the Retreat Scholarship Fund to help these and future emerging LGBT writers.

On behalf of the Staff and Board of Trustees of Lambda Literary Foundation, we introduce to you our 2010 Emerging LGBT Voices.


Monica Carter
Monica Carter, a 2010 PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow, has been published in Black Clock #12 and Pale House II.  She is working on her novel, Eating the Apple, set in 1930’s Manhattan which tells the story of an aging, alcoholic lesbian writer caught in a love triangle.

Traci Castleberry
Traci Castleberry lives in Tucson with her Lipizzan mare Carrma and writes M/M romance as Nica Berry. She’s writing a fantasy novel set in Edo-era Japan in which a female role-actor with multiple personalities falls in love with a healer who possesses a power society doesn’t want him to have.

Marisela Chavez
Marisela Chavez works as a Writing Specialist at the San Antonio Community College Writing Center and as a freelance writer and editor. Currently, Chavez is working on a novel set in New Mexico, her home state. She lives in San Antonio with her partner Sarah.

Dario Dalla Lasta
Dario Dalla Lasta (aka DJ Dario Speedwagon) spins for queers all over New York City and also performs legal work for Broadway shows. He self-published the erotic novel The Three Red Lines last year and is working on a second book with a sci-fi bent entitled The Force of Destiny.

Chuck Forester
Chuck Forester, returning LLF Retreat Fellow. Chuck is a Wisconsin raised, East Coast educated, San Francisco resident since 1971. He’s a writer, poet, memoirist and novelist. Active in local and national GLBT community, Chuck has bee partnered five years with John Cadle.

Liz Demi Green
Liz Demi Green is a writer, performer, and community college educator based in Oakland, California. A graduate of Vassar and Mills, she is a playwright, a poetry slam champion, and a prose stylist.  She is at work on her first novel, The Ella Verse (LGBT Young Adult SciFi).

Mark Hardy
Mark Hardy’s debut novel, Nothing Pink, is on the American Library Association’s 2009 Rainbow List and currently being adapted for the stage.  After years of work in New York City Public Schools, Mark now teaches second grade in North Carolina.

Billie Mandel
Billie Mandel is a fire-breathing femme novelist, transported half a lifetime ago from New York to the Bay Area. Excerpts from her novel-in-progress, tentatively titled The Possibility, have been previewed at the National Queer Arts Festival, Ladyfest Litfest, and SFinX.

Jarrett Neal
Jarrett Neal earned an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA in English from Northwestern University.  A writer of fiction, poetry, essays and screenplays, he has just completed his first novel, A Dangerous Man. He lives in Oak Park, IL.

Eric Nguyen
Eric Nguyen is a writer from Maryland. He is currently working on a short story collection.

Steven Tagle
Steven Tagle is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker. He has been published in Spork and The Rumpus, and his documentaries have aired on Current TV. He is currently finishing his first novel, a coming-of-age story about a high school shapeshifter.

Brandy T. Wilson
Dr. Brandy T. Wilson was a fiction finalist for the 2007 Astraea Lesbian Writers Award. Her work has been featured in Ninth Letter and From Where You Dream: The Process of Writing Fiction. She lives in North Dakota with her partner and is completing her first novel.


Samuel Autman
DePauw English Professor Samuel Autman‘s essay, “A Dash of Pepper in the Snow,” won an award at the National League of American Pen Women in San Francisco. He is working on Sanctified, A Memoir about how issues of family, spirituality and sexuality have shaped and divided his identity.

Ryan Berg
New School graduate, Ryan Berg, received an M.F.A. in Creative Non-fiction from Hunter College in 2008. He has been awarded artist residencies at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. He is writing a memoir about the two years he spent working with GLBT youth living in foster care in New York City.

Sarah B. Burghauser
Sarah B. Burghauser is an LA-based writer, scholar, and mixed-media artist. She holds an MFA in Writing from CalArts, an MA from Oregon State, and has published in A Café in Space, the Anaïs Nin literary journal. Sarah looks forward to her residency at The MacDowell Colony, and working on her first book, Nincarnation.

Peter Gajdics
Peter Gajdics has been published in numerous magazines, including Opium, where he won their 2009 500-word memoir contest. During his time at Lambda, Peter will be workshopping part of his memoir, Crossing Styx, about his six years in primal therapy trying to “cure” his sexual orientation. He lives in Vancouver, BC.

Clarice Gillis
Tease, a memoir-in-progress,is about Clarice Gillis‘s 15-year career in burlesque which began in 1961.  As a stripper, she traveled throughout the world.  She is retired from the Los Angeles Health Department where she was a Public Health Investigator for STD Programs. Born in Long Beach, she lives in Glendale, California.

Ames Hawkins
Ames Hawkins lives and loves in Chicago. Her current book project, Still Dying Still, explores the cultural and political mythologies of the AIDS epidemic through the life of her father who lives with the disease. Concurrent work focuses on digital/visual formatting for shorter nonfiction pieces.

Christa Orth
Christa Orth is a creative nonfiction writer in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently writing her first book on the history of queers and their workplaces in the Pacific Northwest. Christa fundraises for StoryCorps and writes for the ACT UP Oral History Project.

Miriam Zoila Pérez
Miriam Zoila Pérez is a writer, blogger and reproductive justice activist. She is an editor at and founder of Her nonfiction writing has appeared in numerous publications and most recently the anthology Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists.

Oscar Raymundo
Oscar Raymundo graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Comparative Literary Studies. His writing has appeared in Newsweek, WIRED and CosmoGIRL! He is the event coordinator at A Different Light bookstore in San Francisco where he harnesses dreams of becoming a spy.

Eddie Sarfaty
Stand-up comedian Eddie Sarfaty has appeared on The Today Show, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, Logo’s Wisecrack, and is one of the subjects of the documentary, Laughing Matters. His first book, Mental: Funny in the Head (Kensington, 2009), was the featured selection of the InSightOut Book Club for the month of its release.

Joseph Shapiro
Joseph Shapiro is a New York City resident and the former Editor-In-Chief of the Colgate (University) News. His memoir, Between Two Worlds, examines the painful yet liberating experience of coming out as a married man with three children. When not writing or working in his profession as a law firm administrator, Joseph performs with the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus.

Griselda Suarez
Griselda Suarez, a returning LLF Retreat Fellow, teaches writing and literature at Cal State Long Beach University in the Chican@/Latin@ Studies Department. She was born in East Los Angeles. Her most recent collection is Concrete River Boulevard (2009).


Ilse Bendorf
An Iowa native, Ilse Bendorf earned her B.A. in English from the University of Iowa in 2009, where she was a Matthew Shepard Scholar. She also attended the Irish Writing Program in Dublin. Her poems have recently been published in Blood Orange Review and 5×5. She lives in Washington, DC.

Jaime Shearn Coan
Jaime Shearn Coan lives in Brooklyn, teaches literature and creative writing at The City College of New York, and facilitates writing workshops with queer and trans youth through the New York Writers Coalition. Jaime’s writing has appeared in Mississippi Review. Jaime edits dear someone, a collaboratively-created chapbook, and dances with Accidental Movement.

Meg Day
Meg Day is a poet, spoken word artist and arts educator who hails from San Diego, but is teaching young poets to hold their own with Youth Speaks in San Francisco. Meg just completed her MFA at Mills College and is finishing a manuscript of poetry in ASL. She lives and writes in Alameda, CA with her dalmatian.

Gina R. Evers
Gina R. Evers is completing her MFA in Creative Writing at American University. She works tutoring non-native speakers of English at the Washington College of Law. She is the editor for the Global Network alumni magazine and has been published in Shady Side Review and One for the Road, an anthology.  Gina is working on a poetry manuscript.

Laura Hershey
Laura Hershey is a Colorado poet, writer, activist.  Her poems have recently appeared in Calyx, Shakespeare’s Monkey Review, Trillium Literary Journal,, and the anthology Fire in the Soul: 100 Poems for Human Rights. She has written essays for Ms., Waccamaw Journal, National Parks, and U.S. News & World Report, and other publications.

Douglas Ray
Douglas Ray received his BA in Classics and English as well as an MFA in poetry from the University of Mississippi.  Former Senior Editor of The Yalobusha Review, in the fall, he joins the faculty of Indian Springs School, an independent boarding school in Birmingham, Alabama, to teach literature and creative writing.

Christopher Soden
Christopher Soden’s honors include an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College, Distinguished Poets of Dallas and Poetry Society of America’s Poetry in Motion Series. Publication includes: Ganymede, Borderlands, The James White Review, and Best Texas Writing 2. His collection, shipwreck, is forthcoming from Pudding House.

Julie Weber
Julie Weber is a psychotherapist living in Ashland, Oregon. Her poems and writing have appeared in OCHO, Harrington Lesbian Fiction Quarterly, We’Moon, The Jefferson Monthly, and on CleanSheets (under the pen name Angela Vitale).

Valerie Wetlaufer
Valerie Wetlaufer lives in Salt Lake City. She is a birth doula, poet and doctoral fellow in English and Creative Writing and the author of the chapbook Scent of Shatter (Grey Book Press 2010). Her poetry manuscript is based on the lives of a lesbian couple in the 19th century.

The Writers’ Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices is made possible in part with a generous contribution from