Calling all authors: Gulfport gears up for weekend of lesbian literature

By : Ryan Williams-Jent
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GULFPORT | The Gulfport Public Library’s LGBTQ Resource Center is seeking authors for its first ReadOut event, self-described as a “weekend of lesbian literature.”

The event is currently scheduled for Feb. 17 at the Gulfport Public Library, and will also feature “other lesbian events taking place during the week leading up to it,” Readout 2018’s press release reads.

“We want to spread the word about our LGBTQ Resource Center to readers,” says Alison Solomon, the chair of the event’s subcommittee. “I thought it would be neat to introduce readers to authors they might not be familiar with, and to introduce authors to Gulfport. Lesbian literature conferences tend to be really popular so it seemed like it was time Florida had one, and we thought we’d start with this formula.”

“Doing an event aimed at this population seemed like a good idea,” she says, noting that she’d heard that per capita, the city is second only to Northampton, Mass., in its lesbian population. “Obviously the event is open to everyone: straight and LGBTQI.”

To be considered, authors must have published at least one book for a lesbian audience. In total, 15 will be selected, and Solmon confirmed that potential applicants have expressed interest from as far as Ohio and Massachusetts. “There are two parts to the event: a ReadOut, which will be limited to 15 authors reading from their work; and a vendor room at the library where those 15 authors, plus as many additional authors as we can fit in the space, will be able to sell their work.”

Elizabeth Sims, author of You’ve Got a Book in You: A Stress-Free Guide to Writing the Book of Your Dreams, will be featured as the keynote speaker. Her other published work includes the Lambda Award-winning Lillian Byrdcrime series and the Rita Farmer mystery series, and she currently serves as a contributing editor for Writer’s Digest.

Sims will lead a workshop on “Fearless Writing,” which Solomon describes as geared toward “[finding] the heart of the book [that attendees] want to write, and how to convey their story zestfully and truly.”

“Because we expect to receive more than 15 applications,” ReadOut’s press release advises, “we are asking all published authors who wish to read from their work to include a sample reading. (‘Indie’ and self-published authors are welcome.) The fee for vendors will be $25 and there is no additional fee to do a reading.”

Applications must be received by Nov. 10 to be considered. For more information on ReadOut 2018, you can contact Alison Solomon by email at ReadOut2018@gmail.com.

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