The D.C. Center (1318 U St., N.W.) is hosting its first OutWrite Book Fair Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Center has been doing book readings for several years, but never a day-long event.
“The Rainbow Book Fair in New York City has become quite popular and it was our inspiration to do a book fair in D.C.,” says David Mariner, the Center’s director. “Based on the great response we’ve had so far, I think it is quite likely this will become an annual event.”
The event kicks off tonight with an open mic night at the Center featuring Perry Brass, Jeff Mann and Philip Clark.
The authors scheduled to present readings are Lisa Gitlin at noon, Beverly Ann Kessler at 12:30 p.m., Jonathan Spikes at 2 p.m., Aaron Anson at 2:30 p.m., Robert DiFulgo at 4 p.m., Tom Mendicino 4:30 p.m., David Pratt at 5 p.m., Michael Graves at 5:30 p.m. and Ron Suresha at 6 p.m.
“I am looking forward to … a chance to share a profound message of love and acceptance with others who may be torn between their inherent sexuality and a community or family resistant to accepting them as they are,” says Anson, who will donate $10 from each book he sells to the Center. “I wish to inspire and encourage others to write and contribute to the equality movement by sharing their talent and stories.”
A group of independent publishers, including Steve Berman from Lethe Press, Brass from Belhue Press and Robert Giron from Gival Press, will lead a discussion about their work, the state of the field today and what the future looks like for LGBT publishing at 11 a.m.
Local writers, scholars and activists will discuss the LGBT literary history of D.C. from the 1920s to the 1980s and into today at 1 p.m. moderated by Jim Marks, founder of the Lambda Literary Foundation. Dan Vera will discuss the Harlem Renaissance era, Clark will talk about gay pulp novels and physique magazines.
Also present at this discussion will be Deacon Maccubbin and Jim Bennett who will talk about founding Lambda Rising, Deb Morrie who will speak about Lammas and lesbian women’s writing and Wayson Jones and Michelle Parkerson who will discuss African-American LGBT writing and the ENIKAlly Coffeehouse.
“There is always something compelling about stories about our community that are told by members of our community,” says Mariner of why LGBT-themed literature and works by LGBT authors are important. “Each of us has a different life experience when it comes to our sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, but there are also many commonalities.”
At 3 p.m., BookMen D.C. will host a discussion of the high-spirited erotic adventure, “Caracole” by Edmund White.
There will also be a celebration of the new book, “Milk and Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry” at 7 p.m. The book, edited by Julie R. Enszer, features poets like Ellen Bass, Robin Becker, Elana Dykewomon, Marilyn Hacker, Sharron Hass, Eleanor Lerman, Joan Nestle and Ellen Orleans
“It is wonderful to honor literature that affirms and celebrates these shared experiences, and to hear stories that we can relate to,” Mariner says. “Many of the authors draw on their own life-experience, which I think draws us to this literature.”
In addition to the readings and discussions, the Center will have both new and used LGBT-themed books and magazines for sale.
For more information, visit outwritedc.org.