Saturday, July 31, 2010

LGBTQ Panel (continued)

Tony: The finalists for the YA catagory of the Lamda Literary Awards are almost always from manstream publishers.

Arthur: There's less segmentaion in the BFYR area. (There's no "gay teen" section. Gay YA is shelved with all YA.)

Tony: Really satisfying careers happen when talented writers writer to this niche about which they are passionate. (Visit Lamda Literary at to learn more about their awards and programs.)

Lee: He started his blog, I'm Here, I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? two and a half years ago when he realized there was no "safe space" on the web that readers could go to as a resource for LGBTQ material.

Nick: Invites queries.

Noah: Don't hold back on what you want to create. It will stunt you creatively.

Lee: The tides have turned. There are about 250 books on his blog right now. Things are moving forward. And there's crossover into adult readership when it comes to LGBTQ YA lit. (Adults are reading the books the didn't have available when they were teens.) There are so many stories that need to be told--mid-grade crush books, fantasy, graphic novels.)

Aaron: Don't be afriad to tell the story in your heart. We have not reached critical mass when it comes to coming out stories. He's writing the book he wanted to read when he was young. (It's a YA memior that will be published y Little, Brown.)  And he had to get over his own inner-homophobia to begin to put it on the page.

Arthur: It's not just gay teens reading gay YA. Straight kids are reading them, too. But we're not living in "a rainbow land of golden goodness." It's important to strap on your blinders when you're writing. Don't focus on possible outcomes. Just focus on the story.

Tony: Homophobia still exists in the culture and institutionally. Choosing to write a beautiful LGBTQ story is a choice that could present obstacles. Those writers are choosing to battle those obstacles. That shouldn't stop an artist from telling the story they want to tell.

1 comment:

  1. Of all the exciting, useful and inspirational workshops and keynotes this one sits at the top of my list for the whole conference. I left filled with inspiration and hope for my own work as a writer/illustrator and even more for the reading lives of all our kids.

    Thanks to everyone on the panel: to Lee Wind for your blog (I'm off to the library with a heavy list - we'll see how heavy it really is on the way back from the library), to Noah Woods for your cool little Tom Cat and encouraging us all to stop holding back, to Tony Valenzuela for pointing out that mainstream publishers ARE putting out GLBTQ work, to Nick Eliopulos for inviting queries, to Aaron Hartzler for moderating and writing your own story, and to Arthur Levine for showing us how simple and natural including LGBTQ characters can and should be.