'Queertopia': 53 Writers, Four Hours
Among the spinoff events inspired by the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, which is attracting about a gazillion ink-stained wretches to Boston this weekend, is “Queertopia,” a marathon reading of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender writers from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at Club Café, 209 Columbus Ave., Boston.
Their slogan: “53 writers / 4 hours / Under the disco ball” (though I’m informed that the disco ball will not necessarily be lit up).
“I’m not convinced that [queer] representation was happening there,” says Kevin McLellan of Cambridge, who’s organizing the reading with David J. Daniels of Denver. “Not to dismiss AWP. We wanted to do an evening that was more inclusive.”
“Queertopia”’s lineup includes Stephen Tapscott of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a notable translator of Pablo Neruda and a poet in his own right, and Edwardo C. Corral, who in 2011 became the first Latino to win the Yale Younger Poets award (past winners include Adrienne Rich, W. S. Merwin, and John Ashbery). The event also showcases writers from literary journals and publishing houses that feature queer lit.
McLellan and Daniels bumped into each other on Facebook with the same interest to host something like this—and so hatched their plan online. McLellan notes, “We’ve never met.”
Their target audience is everyone, but they hope that the event will, in particular, be meaningful to writing students. They aim, McLellan says, “to present them with a showcase to help them with finding their own voice or better understanding their own voice or hearing someone who gives them permission to write in a voice that they may not have known was okay to write in.”