Times of Thirst and Desire: An Erotic Lit Fundraiser for AIDS Walk 2020

Thursday, September 10, 2020
8:00 PM – 9:00 PM PDT

Explore the erotic landscape of desire as depicted by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Tai Farnsworth, M. Kiguwa, Yesika Salgado, and Dare Williams in this AIDS Walk LA 2020 fundraiser.

About this Event

Following in the tradition of queer resistance and activism during the AIDS pandemic, we gather to celebrate writers exploring thirst for contact. The COVID-19 pandemic tests the boundaries of danger and desire. The benediction to “stay safe” even as we pursue intimacy feels familiar. We’ve prepared for this. We’ve lived it before.

This reading will explore the erotic landscape of desire as depicted by Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Tai Farnsworth, M. Kiguwa, Yesika Salgado, and Dare Williams. We’ll discuss how our bodies’ intersections are reshaped by social distancing and the appeal of kink and fetish and all types of subversive and defiant sexual relations.

This event is free to attend. All proceeds from pay-what-you-will ticketed donations will go to APLA Health (formerly AIDS Project Los Angeles), an L.A. not-for-profit health services organization that provides a lifeline of care to LGBTQ+ patients and other underserved communities.

About the Writers

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, author of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016), and is a former Steinbeck Fellow and Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange winner. Her work is published in Acentos Review, CALYX, and crazyhorse. She is a member of Miresa Collective and cofounder of Women Who Submit.

Tai Farnsworth is a mixed-race, queer writer based in LA. Since earning her MFA, she’s been toiling away in education while working on revisions for her agent. When she’s not writing or poisoning young minds with her liberal agenda, she is reading, practicing yoga, cooking, and tending to her plants. Her work, which focuses heavily on self-acceptance and queerness, can be found in The Evansville Review, Sinister Wisdom, Homology Lit, Drunk Monkeys, and Anastamos. Find her @taionthefly.

M. Kiguwa graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with her master’s in media, communication, and development and has worked in the entertainment industry in the United States, Europe, and Africa for over 10 years. She is currently writing an adventure memoir as a 2020 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow.

Yesika Salgado is a Los Angeles based Salvadoran poet who writes about her family, her culture, her city, and her fat brown body. She has shared her work in venues and campuses throughout the country. Salgado is a 2017 and 2018 National Poetry Slam finalist. Her work has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Teen Vogue, Univision, CNN, Huffington Post, NPR, TEDx, and many other digital platforms. She is an internationally recognized body-positive activist and the writer of the column Suelta for Remezcla. Yesika is the author of best-sellers Corazón, Tesoro, and Hermosa, published with Not a Cult.

A 2019 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow, Dare Williams is a Queer HIV-positive poet, artist, rooted in Southern California. He has received fellowships from John Ashbury Home School and The Frost Place. Dare’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a two-time finalist for Blood Orange Review’s contest. His work has been featured in Cultural Weekly, Bending Genres, THRUSH and Exposition Review. He is currently working on his first poetry collection.

Watch American Horror Stories: Horror as a Reflection of Our Country’s Ills in Times of Unrest

Thursday August 13th at 7pm

Throughout narrative history, horror has been used to reflect the things we are afraid of or are dealing with as a society. From Frankenstein’s reflected fear of the industrial revolution and meddling with nature, to Dracula’s dealings with Victorian ideas of sexuality, to the zombie’s survivalist fear on a dying planet rife with contagion. Four horror authors and editors talk about what they write and publish, and how to move forward as the world dishes out new horrors daily.

A BookSwell event co-hosted by Kate Maruyama & Cody Sisco, featuring Rena Mason, Kate Jonez, Michael Paul Gonzalez, and Nicole Sconiers.

About the Presenters

Michael Paul Gonzalez is the author of the novels ANGEL FALLS and MISS MASSACRE’S GUIDE TO MURDER AND VENGEANCE and the short story collection CARRY ME HOME: STORIES OF HORROR AND HEARTBREAK. He wrote and produced the serial horror audio drama LARKSPUR UNDERGROUND, available for free on iTunes and Stitcher. A member of the Horror Writers Association, his short stories have appeared in print and online, including Lost Signals, Gothic Fantasy: Chilling Horror Stories, the Booked. Podcast Anthology, Tales from the Crust: A Pizza Horror Anthology, HeavyMetal.com, and the Appalachian Undead Anthology. He resides in Los Angeles, a place full of wonders and monsters far stranger than any that live in the imagination. You can visit him online at MichaelPaulGonzalez.com

Stories by Kate Jonez have been nominated three times for the Bram Stoker Award and once for the Shirley Jackson. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best Horror of the Year, Black Static, Pseudopod, Gamut and Haunted Nights edited by Ellen Datlow and Lisa Morton. Kate is also the chief editor at the Bram Stoker Award winning small press Omnium Gatherum which is dedicated to publishing unique dark fantasy, weird fiction and horror.

Rena Mason is an American author of Thai-Chinese descent, and the Bram Stoker Award® winning author of The Evolutionist and The Devil’s Throat, as well as a 2014 Stage 32 /The Blood List Search for New Blood Quarter-Finalist. Her horror and dark speculative fiction has been published in various award-winning anthologies and magazines, and she writes a monthly column. For more information visit her website: www.RenaMason.Ink.

Nicole D. Sconiers is the author of Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage, a speculative fiction short-story collection that has been taught at colleges and universities around the country. Her short story “Kim” was published in Sycorax’s Daughters, a black woman’s horror anthology that was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. The story was recently optioned for a YA TV horror anthology series. Ms. Sconiers was a guest columnist for Nightmare magazine’s The H-Word. Her short story “The Eye of Heaven” appeared in the anthology Black from the Future: A Collection of Black Speculative Writing, published by BLF Press. The anthology received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

About the Co-Hosts

Kate Maruyama‘s first novel was Harrowgate (47North, 2013). Her short works have appeared in Arcadia MagazineControlled Burn, and Stoneboat; on SalonDuendeEntropy, and in an upcoming Asimov’s among other journals; as well as in numerous anthologies, including Winter Horror Days (Omnium Gatherum Media, 2015) and Halloween Carnival 3 (Hydra, 2017). Maruyama edited Nicole Sconiers’s speculative short fiction collection, Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage (Spring Lane Publishing, 2011), has been a jury chair for the Bram Stoker Awards, and is a two time juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards. She teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles in the MFA and BA programs among other places. She writes, teaches, cooks, and eats in Los Angeles, where she lives with her family.

Cody Sisco is an author, publisher, and literary community organizer. As an author, Cody’s speculative fiction straddles the divide between plausible and extraordinary. His Resonant Earth Series includes two novels thus far, Broken Mirror and Tortured Echoes, and a short story prequel, Believe and LiveAltered Bodies, the third volume in the series, is due out in 2020. In 2017 Cody co-founded Made in L.A., an indie author co-op dedicated to the support and appreciation of independent authors. His imprint, Resonant Earth Publishing, markets and promotes the Made in L.A. annual fiction anthology. Cody is a Los Angeles Review of Books / USC Publishing Workshop 2017 Fellow and a co-organizer of the Los Angeles Writers Critique Group. His startup, BookSwell, makes the LA literary landscape easier to navigate, introduces readers to new writing, and interweaves digital and real-life literary experiences.

Roxana Preciado reads from her new book of poetry, “Trauma for Sale” in conversation with Cody Sisco

Watch Live Here at 3 pm on July 23

Roxana Preciado is an indie author and artist recognized for her work as a poet and activist. At the age of 12, Roxana started writing poetry as a coping mechanism to deal with her life challenges. She shares her story with others in hope that she can help anyone who is facing similar hardships.

Preciado has published four volumes of autobiographical poetry, most recent being Trauma for Sale. She continues to use her poetry and her story to support community engagement and activism to raise awareness about violence against women.

Learn more

Interview starts at 14m:40s

The Arrival: A Juneteenth Reading with bridgette bianca, F. Douglas Brown, Camari Carter-Hawkins, Natashia Deón, and Ashaki M. Jackson


June 18 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Other Ways to Watch the Replay

According to the National Museum of African American History & Culture: “Juneteenth marks our country’s second independence day. Though it has long been celebrated among the African American community, it is a history that has been marginalized and still remains largely unknown to the wider public. The legacy of Juneteenth shows the value of deep hope and urgent organizing in uncertain times.”

People across America and around the world are rising up to demand justice because Black lives matter. We are celebrating Juneteenth, its history and its lessons, with poets who’ll share their words with us. At an online gathering featuring bridgette bianca, F. Douglas Brown, Camari Carter-Hawkins, Natashia Deón, and Ashaki M. Jackson, we’ll be raising money for Black Lives Matter LA and other social justice organizations.

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About the BookSwell Read and Relate series

To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life.

We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon and the feed will also be shared via Facebook Live and YouTube. Audio and video may be recorded and re-shared via BookSwell’s social media channels.

The Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system is a collaborating partner on the BookSwell Read & Relate series. The library hosts events online in support of the Library at Home program of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Fundraising

This event raised $2,850 for Black Lives Matter LA.

Feeling generous? Consider donating to these organizations as well:

About the Writers

bridgette bianca is a poet and professor from South Central Los Angeles. When she is not sharing her own poetry at venues all around Southern California, she co-curates two literary series, Making Room for Black Women and the Women’s Center for Creative Work Reading Series. be/trouble (Writ Large Press) is her debut collection of poetry.
• website: bridgettebianca.com
• IG: Instagram.com/bridgettebianca
• FB: Facebook.com/bridgettebianca

F. Douglas Brown is the author of two poetry collections, ICON (Writ Large Press, 2018), and Zero to Three (University of Georgia, 2014), winner of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize selected by US Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith. He also co-authored with poet Geffrey Davis, Begotten (URB Books, 2016), a chapbook of poetry as part of the Floodgate Poetry Series. Brown, an educator for over 20 years, currently teaches English and African American Poetry at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, an all-boys Jesuit school. He is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow, and was selected by Poets & Writers as one of their ten notable Debut Poets of 2014. His poems have appeared in the Academy of American Poets, The PBS News Hour, The Virginia Quarterly (VQR), Bat City Review, The Chicago Quarterly Review (CQR), The Southern Humanities Review, The Sugar House Review, Cura Magazine, and Muzzle Magazine. He is co-founder and curator of un::fade::able – The Requiem for Sandra Bland, a quarterly reading series examining restorative justice through poetry as a means to address racism.

Camari Carter-Hawkins is the author of Death by Comb, a stellar body of poetry that seeks to normalize natural hair and find solid ground in an ever-changing world and Write Back to You, a guided journal for writing yourself back into your life. Camari leads journaling workshops all across Los Angeles and beyond. Her poetic works can also be found in Rise: An Anthology of Power and Unity by Vagabond Press and The Best of The Poetry Salon 2013-2018 Anthology. Camari is the 2018 Spoken Word, Voices Heard Women’s Amateur Slam Winner and performs her works nationally. She is the founder of Mama’s Kitchen Press, an anthology press that seeks to publish moments and stories we’ve shared in our mama’s kitchen.
• Instagram: @camaricreative www.instagram.com/CamariCreative
• Website: www.camaricarter.com

Natashia Deón is a NAACP Image Award Nominee and author of the critically-acclaimed novel, GRACE (Counterpoint Press). Awarded the 2017 American Library Association’s Black Caucus Award for Best Debut Fiction, GRACE was also named a New York Times Top Book 2016, a Kirkus ReviewBest Book of 2016, and a Book Riot, The Root, and Entropy Magazine Favorite Book of 2016.

Founder of REDEEMED, a non-profit that pairs professional writers with those who have been convicted of crimes, Deón is a practicing criminal attorney, law professor, and creative writing professor at UCLA and Otis College of Art & Design. Deón is the mother of two and is the creator of the popular L.A.-based reading series’ Dirty Laundry Lit and The Table.

Ashaki M. Jackson is the author of two chapter-length books – Surveillance (Writ Large Press) and Language Lesson (Miel). Jackson is an alumna of Cave Canem and VONA. She is co-founder of Women Who Submit and an executive director for The Offing Magazine. Readers can find her work in Prairie Schooner, Obsidian, 7×7 LA and Faultline among other publications. Jackson earned an MFA (creative writing) from Antioch University Los Angeles and a Ph.D. (psychology) from Claremont Graduate University. She lives in Los Angeles.

Writing Better Futures in Times of Crisis

Description

Is dystopia a model for living or a warning to prevent? Could certain narratives, (such as the zombie apocalypse/every man for himself scenario) be dangerous to societal thinking? How can science fiction and speculative narratives promote community mindedness in an uncertain future? Is it the responsibility of the author to create stories with all these ideas in mind?

To debate these questions, we’re gathering science fiction and speculative fiction authors who’ve written utopian and dystopian stories. BookSwell Read & Relate vidchat salon host Cody Sisco will welcome guest host Kate Maruyama along with guest authors Cecil Castellucci, Matthew Kressel, PJ Manney, Nisi Shawl, and Sherri L. Smith.

Watch Now

BookSwell Read & Relate: Writing Better Futures in Times of Crisis

About BookSwell’s Read & Relate vidchat salon

To keep connections alive between readers and writers during troubled times, BookSwell is organizing Read & Relate, a virtual video chat salon celebrating books, writers, and the literary life.

We’ll be using Zoom to conduct the salon and the feed will also be shared via Facebook Live. Audio and video may be recorded and re-shared via BookSwell’s social media channels.

The Exposition Park – Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Library of the Los Angeles Public Library system is a collaborating partner on the BookSwell Read & Relate series. The library hosts events online in support of the Library at Home program of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Cecil Castellucci is the award winning and New York Times Bestselling author of books and graphic novels for young adults including Shade, The Changing Girl, Boy Proof, Soupy Leaves Home, The Year of the Beasts, Tin Star, The Female Furies and Odd Duck. In 2015 she co-authored Star Wars Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure. She is currently writing Batgirl for DC Comics and The Little Mermaid for Dark Horse Comics. Her two newest graphic novels are Girl on Film (Boom!) and The Plain Janes (Little Brown). Her short stories and short comics have been published in Strange Horizons, Tor.com, Womanthology, Star Trek: Waypoint, Vertigo SFX: Slam! and many other anthologies. In a former life, she was known as Cecil Seaskull in the ‘90s indie band Nerdy Girl. She has written two opera librettos Les Aventures de Madame Merveille (World Premiere in 2010) and Hockey Noir: The Opera (World Premiere 2018). She is the former Children’s Correspondence Coordinator for The Rumpus, a two-time MacDowell Fellow. She lives in Los Angeles.

Matthew Kressel is a writer & software developer. He is a three time Nebula Award Finalist and a Eugie Award Finalist. His short fiction can be found in Lightspeed, Clarkesworld, Analog, io9, Nightmare, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2018 Edition, and The Best Science Fiction of the Year – Volume 3, as well as many other magazines and anthologies. As a coder, he created the Moksha submissions system, in use by many of the largest SF publishers today. He is the co-host of Fantastic Fiction at KGB reading series in New York with Ellen Datlow. Find him online at @mattkressel or at www.matthewkressel.net.

PJ Manney is the author of the P.K. Dick Award-nominated (R)EVOLUTION, book 1 in a series with (ID)ENTITY, and the upcoming trilogy’s end (CON)SCIENCE, as well as non-fiction about technology, future humans, and empathy-building through storytelling. She was a former Chairperson of Humanity+, teleplay writer (Hercules–The Legendary JourneysXena: Warrior Princess, numerous TV pilot scripts) and film executive.

Kate Maruyama‘s first novel was Harrowgate (47North, 2013). Her short works have appeared in Arcadia MagazineControlled Burn, and Stoneboat; on SalonDuendeEntropy, and in an upcoming Asimov’s among other journals; as well as in numerous anthologies, including Winter Horror Days (Omnium Gatherum Media, 2015) and Halloween Carnival 3 (Hydra, 2017). Maruyama edited Nicole Sconiers’s speculative short fiction collection, Escape from Beckyville: Tales of Race, Hair and Rage (Spring Lane Publishing, 2011), has been a jury chair for the Bram Stoker Awards, and is a two time juror for the Shirley Jackson Awards. She teaches at Antioch University Los Angeles in the MFA and BA programs among other places. She writes, teaches, cooks, and eats in Los Angeles, where she lives with her family.

Nisi Shawl is an African American writer, editor, teacher, and journalist best known for their science fiction and fantasy dealing with gender, race, and colonialism, including the Nebula finalist novel Everfair. Their most recent publication is the collection Talk Like a Man, part of PM Press’s Outspoken Author series. They live in Seattle, where they’re working dilegently on their next novel, Kinning, a sequel to Everfair.

Sherri L. Smith is the author of seven award-winning young adult novels, including the 2009 California Book Awards Gold Medalist, Flygirl, and the cli-fi speculative novel, Orleans. Her books appear on multiple state lists and have been named Amelia Bloomer and American Library Association Best Books for Young People selections. She teaches in the MFA Writing program at Goddard College in Vermont. Her newest novel is The Blossom and the Firefly. Learn more at www.sherrilsmith.com

About Cody Sisco

Cody Sisco is an author, publisher, and literary community organizer.

As an author, Cody’s speculative fiction straddles the divide between plausible and extraordinary. His Resonant Earth Series includes two novels thus far, Broken Mirror and Tortured Echoes, and a short story prequel, Believe and Live. Altered Bodies, the third volume in the series, is due out in early 2020.

In 2017 Cody co-founded Made in L.A., an indie author co-op dedicated to the support and appreciation of independent authors. His imprint, Resonant Earth Publishing, markets and promotes the Made in L.A. annual fiction anthology.

Cody is a Los Angeles Review of Books / USC Publishing Workshop 2017 Fellow and a co-organizer of the Los Angeles Writers Critique Group. His startup, BookSwell, makes the LA literary landscape easier to navigate, introduces readers to new writing, and interweaves digital and real-life literary experiences.

About BookSwell

BookSwell is a literary events and media production company dedicated to connecting readers and writers.

We help make the book scene easier to navigate, introduce readers to new writing, and interweave digital and real-life literary experiences.

Our passion is elevating underrepresented voices in publishing, including writers of color and LGBTQ, female/nonbinary, and indie writers.