a Festival of LGBTQ Literature
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The LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Library welcomes readers to its 6th annual ReadOut Literary Festival this weekend, a free event at the Gulfport Public Library and livestreamed on Zoom.
More than 80 authors and a worldwide audience will celebrate the rich diversity of LGBTQ literature. ReadOut’s keynote speaker at noon on Sunday, February 19, is Brian Broome.
Broome’s memoir, Punch Me Up to the Gods, launched him into literary fame when it was purchased by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt while he was still a student at University of Pittsburgh. His essays about growing up poor, dark-skinned and gay in rural Ohio have been recognized with multiple awards – the Kirkus Prize winner for nonfiction 2021, Lambda Literary Awards for Nonfiction and for Gay Memoir 2022, Publishing Triangle Nonfiction Award 2022, New York Times Notable Book 2021, New York Times Editor’s Pick 2021, Stonewall Honor Book 2022 and named a Best Book of the Year 2021 by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Amazon and Apple Books.
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Brian will explore the pressures and vulnerabilities confronting queer Black boys, how feeling like a perpetual outsider led to escalating drug use and indiscriminate sex – and how he used those experiences to create the person he has become. Broome’s essays in Punch Me Up to the Gods are framed around Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem “We Real Cool,” an 8-line, 24-word elegy for “cool” Black youth.
Lesbian icons Radclyffe and Ann McMan kick off the ReadOut festival at 5 pm on Friday, February 17 with a “long view” of lesbian/feminist publishing – past, present and future.
Radclyffe is a retired surgeon whose 50+ novels have earned more than 25 awards from Lambda Literary, Golden Crown Literary Society and other writers’ associations. She is president of Bold Strokes Books, one of the world’s largest LGBTQI publishing companies, winning multiple Indie Publishers (IPPY) Awards. Radclyffe is also a member of the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival Hall of Fame.
Ann McMan is the multiple Lambda Literary and Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS ) award-winning author of 12 novels and two short story collections. She is a four-time IPPY (Independent Publisher) medalist and a laureate of the Alice B. Foundation for her outstanding body of work. Ann is also a graphic designer who earned the inaugural Tee Corinne Excellence in Cover Design Award from the GCLS, alongside many other national and international design awards.
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Other featured authors at ReadOut 2023 include
- St. Pete Poet Laureate Gloria Munoz
- Kitchen Table Arts founder Sheree L. Greer
- 75+ other talented writers of LGBTQ romance, memoir, nonfiction, history, mystery, poetry and more
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Sheree L. Greer leads the Kitchen Table Literary Arts Center, an online community who offer college-level writing and literature classes and build awareness, appreciation and support for women of color and Black women writers, poets, and their work.
Greer describes the session she’ll be leading on Sunday at 3 pm. “In the workshop, The Hybrid Writer at Work, we’ll be exploring what it looks like to craft your own, unique approach to a writing career.
“Having a combination of independent titles and traditionally published titles, can be a way to engage with the publishing business on your own terms – empowering yourself to be intentional about your writing goals and to be relational rather than transactional in your literary citizenship.
“My hope is to encourage writers to think broadly and boldly about their writing and their publishing goals. Sometimes we need a reminder of what’s possible, especially when navigating the publishing world is often daunting and disappointing.”
The LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Library is the only collection of its kind in a public library in Florida, offering more than 10,000 books, CDs and other media, as well as events like ReadOut.
The Center’s mission is to promote awareness of the diversity of experiences, contributions and needs of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer. The Resource Center is a 501(c)3 and has been recognized with the Newlen-Symons Award for excellence in library services and outreach by the American Library Association.
The ReadOUT Festival is free – you can attend in-person or online. Free registration is needed for Zoom access.
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You can find the ReadOUT schedule here
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Gulfport Public Library mygulfport.us/gpl