The 5th annual Naked Heart: An LGBTQ Festival of Words (the world’s largest queer/trans literary festival) happens this weekend. I love this event every year, for its realness, freshness, relatability; for featuring queers like me and unlike me, all having meaningful, vulnerable conversations about, and presenting work about, the intersection of queer/trans lives and literature. It’s one of the few multi-event festivals or conferences I’ve presented or attended where I feel like it’s safe to show our whole selves. Plus they work hard on accessibility, and this year as previously they have a scent-free policy for everyone attending. So as soon as the festival was confirmed, I rearranged my week and a half around the festival to allow best spoon usage and ability to participate in everything I can. I’m so excited, I feel all sparkly.
If you want to go too (and I imagine you do!), the schedule of Naked Heart events can be found here: Naked Heart Festival Program. There is a separate link to buy passes (on a sliding scale), or you can pay $5 per session. (Additional info for fellow poor folks: there are completely free passes for folks who can’t afford to pay for one. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to claim one.)
About my participation:
I’m performing my poetry at the opening event on Friday November 22nd, at 8:30pm, at Glad Day Bookshop, as part of a reading titled “Poetic Justice”. The event page is here: https://www.nhprogram.com/friday/reading-poetic-justice.
Then I’m speaking on a panel on Saturday November 23rd at 11am at Buddies in Bad Times, titled “Anything Can Happen With A Panel Of Neurodivergents”. This is a rare panel topic — though it totally shouldn’t be. Autistics and other neurodivergents are a riot on panels. We’re entertaining, unique, and unfiltered. You want to see particularly unvarnished queer writers? This is the place. I’m so looking forward to this experience of bonding and belly laughs. The event page: https://www.nhprogram.com/saturday/anything-can-happen-with-a-panel-of-neurodivergents
And I’m running a workshop called “Submitting Your Work to Journals & Anthologies: Step-by-Step Strategies for Emerging Writers” on Saturday November 23rd at 2:15pm at Buddies in Bad Times. Yes, that title is a mouthful, but also — it says exactly what’s in the tin. If you’re an emerging writer, this might be a useful session for you. I spent a few years re-inventing the wheel on submitting writing work, and stumbling a lot, because I didn’t have a manual. Now that I’ve worked that shit out, I’m sharing a short version of that manual on what to do, how to do it, and…how to survive it emotionally. The event page has a longer blurb: https://www.nhprogram.com/saturday/submitting-your-work-to-journals-amp-anthologies-step-by-step-strategies-for-emerging-writers. I am also super happy that this workshop will be ASL interpreted! The interpreters will be Ayoka & Tammy.
Other events I am super looking forward to and am recommending:
* Workshop: “Writing Sex For Trauma Survivors” on Saturday. (The session I didn’t know I needed, but I do.)
* Panel: “Mixed Racial Identity in the Urban Imagination & Experience” on Saturday. (With ASL interpretation.)
* Reading: “Post-Trauma – What Comes After You Survive” on Sunday. (With ASL interpretation.)
* Panel: “Rage and Channelling Anger” on Sunday. (With ASL interpretation.)
* Panel: “Writer’s Body” on Sunday. (With ASL interpretation.)
Access notes: Both venues for the festival events are wheelchair-accessible, including the washrooms. (At Buddies the washroom is accessed via elevator that has to be operated by a staff member.) Both have gender-non-policed washrooms, including single-stall washrooms, and both venues are explicitly trans- and gender-non-conformity-friendly. All events at the festival are designated scent-free, as some performers (and attendees), including me, have severe scent sensitivities. So in the interests of us scent-disabled folks being well enough to speak and perform, please please arrive unscented. (More info on being scent-free is here: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/325005_4a979e8ae5844b8d8039a7fd905873e4.pdf or here: https://brownstargirl.org/fragrance-free-femme-of-colour-genius/)
Happy festival weekend, and hope to run into you there <3.