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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 16, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 38
CONTAGIOUS EXCHANGES: Queer Writers in Conversation

New Hugo House Series - 'Claiming a Space to Discuss Queer Issues in Literature'
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CONTAGIOUS EXCHANGES: Queer Writers in Conversation

New Hugo House Series - 'Claiming a Space to Discuss Queer Issues in Literature'

EVENT DATES - Oct. 5 @ 7pm, Davida Ingram with Rebecca Brown; Nov. 2 @ 7pm, Vivek Shraya with Chase Joynt; Dec. 7 @ 7pm, Randa Jarrar with Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha; Jan. 4 @ 7p.m. Sarah Galvin with David Schmader; April 5 @ 7pm, Jennifer Natalya Fink with Wendy C. Ortiz. EVENT LOCATION - Richard Hugo House, 1021 Columbia St. FREE ADMISSION.

Hugo House has announced a new series to begin this fall, hosted and curated by Lambda Literary Award-winning author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. The series, CONTAGIOUS EXCHANGES: Queer Writers in Conversation, will feature dynamic writers and artists representing a range of genres, styles, sensibilities, and all the markers of queer identity. Cross-pollinating spoken word with literary fiction, poetic experimentation with creative nonfiction, hybrid work with narrative prose, CONTAGIOUS EXCHANGES seeks to explode boundaries so that critical engagement can thrive.

'If you're out at a literary event and you see Seattle author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, you know you've made the right choice for the evening. Her taste is impeccable and her politics are righteous,' writes Paul Constant in The Seattle Weekly and The Seattle Review of Books. 'Now she's finally launching a reading series to create a much-needed space to discuss queer matters.'

'But more than just a promising reading series, what Bernstein Sycamore is doing with CONTAGIOUS EXCHANGES is claiming a space to discuss queer issues in literature. She's taking back some of the public conversation and claiming it in the name of her cause [...] CONTAGIOUS EXCHANGES is proof that there's more to be said, written, and discussed about the state of queer writing in America in 2016.'

In its inaugural 2016-2017 season, CONTAGIOUS EXCHANGES will feature artist C. Davida Ingram with novelist and nonfiction writer Rebecca Brown; artist, songwriter, and short story writer Vivek Shraya with filmmaker and writer Chase Joynt; writer and translator Randa Jarrar with poet and writer Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha; poet and nonfiction writer Sarah Galvin with nonfiction writer and playwright David Schmader; and novelist Jennifer Natalya Fink with poet and writer Wendy C. Ortiz.

Featured writers and artists will perform recent works followed by a Q&A with Bernstein Sycamore. All events will be held at Hugo House (1021 Columbia St.) are free and open to the public and will begin at 7 p.m. The bar will be open.

About the Authors & Artists
'Startlingly bold and provocative' (Howard Zinn) and 'a gender-fucking tower of pure pulsing purple fabulous' (The Stranger), Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the author of a memoir and two novels, and the editor of five nonfiction anthologies. Her latest title, The End of San Francisco, won a 2014 Lambda Literary Award. Her most recent anthology, Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform, was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. She just finished a third novel, Sketchtasy.

C. Davida Ingram received the 2014 Stranger Genius Award in Visual Arts. She is an artist who combines writing and curating to create counter-narratives about Otherness and identity. She is the co-founder of the Seattle People of Color Salon and has been involved with many community-based arts organizations including Video Machete, Women in the Director's Chair, and Insight Arts. Her recent projects include I Wish a Motherf***** Would, stereoTYPE, and The Deeps (with composer Hanna Benn). She is Public Engagement Programs Manager at Seattle Public Libraries.

Rebecca Brown was Hugo House's first Writer-in-Residence. Brown has made significant contributions to gay and lesbian literature through essays, short stories, and her novel, The Gifts of the Body.

Vivek Shraya is a Toronto-based artist whose body of work includes several albums, films, and books. She is a three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist. Her first novel, She of the Mountains, was named one of The Globe and Mail's Best Books of 2014. Her debut collection of poetry, even this page is white, was released this spring.

Chase Joynt is a Toronto-based moving-image artist whose work is exhibited internationally. His most recent film projects are Between You and Me and Genderize, both from CBC Docs.

Randa Jarrar's work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Utne Reader, Salon, Guernica, The Rumpus, Oxford American, Ploughshares, Five Chapters, and others. Her first novel, A Map of Home, was named one of the best novels of 2008 by the Barnes and Noble Review. Her new book, Him, Me, Muhammad Ali (Sarabande Books) will be published in October 2016.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme writer, performance artist, and educator. The author of the Lambda Award-winning Love Cake, Dirty River, Bodymap, and Consensual Genocide and co-editor of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities, her writings on femme of color and Sri Lankan identities, survivorhood, and healing, disability and transformative justice have appeared in the anthologies Octavia's Brood, Dear Sister, Letters Lived, Undoing Border Imperialism, Stay Solid, Persistence: Still Butch and Femme, Yes Means Yes, Visible: A Femmethology, Homelands, Colonize This, We Don't Need Another Wave, Bitchfest, Without a Net, Dangerous Families, Brazen Femme, Femme and A Girl's Guide to Taking Over The World.

Sarah Galvin - widely known as 'The Champagne of Queers' - is a poet and author of The Three Einsteins. Her blog, The Pedestretarian, is devoted to reviews of food found on the street. She has an MFA in poetry from University of Washington. Her poems and essays can be found in iO, New Ohio Review, Pleiades, Pinwheel, Vice Magazine, and The Stranger.

David Schmader is a writer, performer, and author of the solo plays Straight, Letter to Axl, and A Short-Term Solution to a Long-Term Problem, which he's performed in Seattle and around the country. Between 1999 and 2014, Schmader served as a writer, editor, and columnist of Seattle's Pulitzer-winning newsweekly The Stranger and has recently begun writing a column about pot for The Stranger. In his spare time, he's the world's foremost authority on the brilliant horribleness of Paul Verhoeven's stripper drama Showgirls, hosting annotated screenings around the country and supplying the commentary for the bestselling Showgirls DVD. More recently, he's become a spokesmodel for marijuana, writing the book Weed: The User's Guide (Sasquatch Books).

Jennifer Natalya Fink is a professor of English at Georgetown University and a literacy activist. She is the author of three award-winning novels, The Mikvah Queen (Rebel Satori Press), Burn, and V (both from Suspect Thoughts Press), and a short story collection, 13 Fugues (Dark Coast Press). She is the founder and Gorilla-in-Chief of The Gorilla Press, and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, National Jewish Book, and National Book Award.

Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books), Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press), and the forthcoming Bruja (Civil Coping Mechanisms). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Hazlitt, and Vol. 1 Brooklyn, among other places. She lives in Los Angeles.

About Hugo House
Hugo House (1021 Columbia St.) opens the literary world to everyone who loves books or has a drive to write. It's a place to read words, hear words, and make your own words better.

Hugo House is a center for and an ally to writers, providing creative-writing classes, residencies, and events.

More Info: Hugohouse.org; Facebook.com/HugoHouse; Twitter: @HugoHouse.

Open Hours: Monday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Courtesy of Hugo House

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CONTAGIOUS EXCHANGES: Queer Writers in Conversation

New Hugo House Series - 'Claiming a Space to Discuss Queer Issues in Literature'

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