Atlanta Queer Literary Festival wrap up

Keynote speakers Bryan Borland and Theresa Davis and broadside contest winner Brent Calderwood.
Poets and authors who performed during Thursday night's opening event at Charis Books.
The fifth Atlanta Queer Literary Festival is a wrap. We had two nights and a full day of readings, panels, discussion, workshops and a poetry slam. Our opening night event at Charis Books was standing room only, but on Friday the turnout for the keynote event at the Decatur Library was disappointing. Maybe it was because of the massive storm that came through Atlanta and knocked out power, brought down trees, and created traffic woes. It's too bad, because Bryan Borland and Theresa Davis gave moving, beautiful speeches and performed their own work. It was my favorite keynote event of the five years we've been putting on AQLF. Saturday was the full day of readings and panels and, once again, audience turnout was very light. Luckily, those that came stayed for most of the day.

The lack of community support for the festival is one of the reasons we're changing things. The festival has basically been a four person operation – me, Megan Volpert, Cleo Creech and founder Franklin Abbott. The logistics of planning and putting on the festival have worn us to a frazzle. So, we decided that this was the last year for a full festival. Going forward, we will continue our partnership with the Decatur Book Festival and plan the LGBT track for the Labor Day weekend event and we will hold AQLF-sponsored readings and events throughout the year (probably quarterly), but the weekend festival is now history.

I want to especially thank the writers who came from afar to join us this year: Craig Gidney, who flew in from Washington, DC; Brent Calderwood, who flew in from San Francisco; Daniel Allen Cox, who flew in from Montreal; and Bryan and his husband, Chris, who drove from Little Rock. You're all rock stars to me!

What I'll take away from the weekend is getting to hang out with so many talented people, who gave freely of their time and energy to share their amazing work with us. Thank you for inspiring me.

I encourage the LGBT community to support their local literary events and independent bookstores, not just here in Atlanta, but around the world. Like Joni says – you don't know what you've got till it's gone.


Richard said…
I am disappointed that the festival will no longer be a "stand alone" event but I certainly understand that four people ONLY cannot do it all. If I can be of help in the new format as it progresses, please let me know. As a writer, it is always inspiring to see what others are doing. Wishing you and the other "workers" all the best.
Lisa Allender said…
Thank you, Collin, for always doing so well, to inspire all of us! Special thanks to Franklin, Megan, Cleo, too!!! :D

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