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Great news! BookSwell has been selected by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division to produce the 2022 WeHo Reads season. BookSwell founder and managing editor Cody Sisco proposed a series of eight online events on the theme of creating joy in the midst of sorrow that will take the audience on a memorable journey throughout 2022.
Literary communities have continued to struggle through difficult times and yet many writers are not only confronting sources of pain and injustice but also creating paths toward healing, lightness, and joy. We aim to recognize the contribution of writers and lift up their voices.
Stay tuned for more info!
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If you missed our events in 2020 and 2021, catch up on our YouTube channel or check out the highlights below:
We’re back! After a summer hiatus, BookSwell returns with three events on the ROAD TO JOY! 9/20 WeHo Reads: Expansive Vistas and Hidden Corners The next WeHo Reads event is Expansive Vistas and Hidden Corners on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at 6 p.m. Artists and writers explore concepts of places, how they’re made, and how we understand, remember, and memorialize them. Lynell George is a journalist and essayist based in Los Angeles, who tells the city’s story one sentence at a time. Her book, After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame (Angel City Press 2018), is an exploration of the city in text and photography, and she explores the extraordinary creative life of Octavia E. Butler in A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky, published by Angel City Press in 2020. She will be in discussion with Marisela Norte, an American writer, poet, and artist living in Los Angeles and known for poetry that explores the unseen city, including her poetry collection Peeping Tom Tom Girl (Sunbelt Publications 2008). Together, they will explore hidden corners of Los Angeles and the poetry of the city in images and text. 10/5 WeHo Reads: Poets Laureate Across America There will also be a Read More …
We looked for joy in online spaces with Isle McElroy, Patrick Nathan, and Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett and guided writing with Amy Spies. About WeHo Reads: Pride & Joy in the Matrix LGBTQ+ authors are taking a hard look at society IRL and virtually, pinpointing the ways we come up short in connecting with and loving each other. Patrick Nathan examines the culture of fascistic images that pervade the online media landscape in his book Image Control (Counterpoint Press 2021). Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett uses short fiction, including his volume of short stories Dark Corners (Running Wild Press 2019), to illuminate the ways we can be marginalized as well as how we can fight back and lose some virtue in the process. Isle McElroy writes about diet culture, masculinity, nonbinary identity, basketball, scammers, books, and body dysmorphia. Their debut novel, The Atmospherians, was published in 2021 (Atria Books). Together, they’ll discuss online spaces, the challenges of creating joy online—is it even possible?—and the role of critique and creativity in shifting culture. A moment of guided meditation and mindful writing will be led by Amy Spies, a writer and teacher in the film, television, and new media industries. WeHo Reads is a literary series presented by the City of West Hollywood. More information Read More …
Cody Sisco first heard about Women Who Submit from Sakae Manning, a brilliant writer and friend who he met through the Los Angeles Writers Critique Group. When he started BookSwell, he asked Sakae to join the advisory group to guide our efforts to lift up the voices of marginalized writers. That led to organizing our first event at Lambda Literary LitFest 2019 “Intentional Intersectionality: Amplifying Queer Voices of Color,” which included a discussion about advocacy and community featuring Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, a co-founder of Women Who Submit. When Cody was developing the proposal for the Road to Joy for the City of West Hollywood Arts Department, he met Xochitl over drinks at Frogtown Brewery to brainstorm the event–the first time they had met in person since the AWP Conference in March 2020 before the full brunt of the coronavirus pandemic hit and when WWS launched their first anthology, ACCOLADES. Now it’s time to celebrate their second anthology, GATHERING. Women Who Submit seeks to empower women and nonbinary writers by creating physical and virtual spaces for sharing information, supporting and encouraging submissions to literary journals, and clarifying the submission and publication process. Meet some of the influential members who will be participating in Read More …
The coronavirus crisis can’t stop art!
Cody Sisco interviews Yodassa Williams about her debut fantasy novel, The Goddess Twins, coming of age and finding one’s voice, black girl magic and creativity, and the revelatory experience of going to Burning Man.
Yodassa Williams is a powerful conjurer of black girl magic (70 percent Jedi, 30 percent Sith). A Jamaican American writer, speaker, and award-winning performing storyteller, an alumna of the VONA/Voices Travel Writing program and the Fortify Writer’s Retreat, and the creator of the podcast The Black Girl Magic Files, Yodassa (Yoda) launched Writers Emerging, a wilderness writing retreat for women of color and non-binary people of color, in 2019. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently resides in the Bay Area. The Goddess Twins is her debut novel.
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