LGBT Center of Raleigh

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3 Memorable Takeaways for Writers from Dr. Stephanie Andrea Allen (BLF Press)

Dr. Stephanie Andrea AllenYour story is important.

That’s why Dr. Stephanie Andrea Allen is on a mission to help you find your voice and improve your writing.

“When I discovered there was more Black lesbian fiction than what was taught in school, I committed myself to amplifying the voices of Black lesbians and queer women of color,” Dr. Allen said at her workshop on October 23, 2018 at the LGBT Center of Raleigh.

Dr. Allen is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at BLF Press, an independent press that “creates a space for forward thinking, creative women of exceptional talent.” She started the press in graduate school to help combat the lack of diversity in publishing and dispel the notion that Black lesbian writing was unworthy or had no literary merit.

During her talk, Dr. Allen spoke about her role as Board Chair at the LGBT Center of Raleigh and her not-for-profit collaborative called the Black Lesbian Literary Collective. Her purpose that evening was to answer questions about the writing and publishing process.

Below are three takeaways from her discussion.

What’s the first step toward a career as a writer?

“Read, and read widely.  Next, if you are serious about writing, join a writing group or workshop. A lot of folks want to write, but don’t know how. Or they have not developed the skill set. You must become a student of writing if you want to improve. You also need writers you respect to keep you accountable.”

Who is hot in LGBT fiction right now?

“I don’t think there’s such as thing as “hot” lesbian literary fiction. But a successful queer woman author right now is Roxane Gay. She is a bit of a celebrity in feminist and literary circles, because she writes so authentically about women, society, and culture. Check out her amazing Twitter account. You’ll see what I mean.”

How do you identify?

“I’ve had to defend why I use Black instead of African American. Black is important for lots of reasons and encompasses the diaspora. And Black is how I identify. Who gets to decide how I identify? Scholars? Sociologists? The government? That changes every other week. My birth certificate, because I was born in ‘69, says Negro. But I have been Black all my life.”

Though Dr. Allen’s focus is on Black lesbian literature, her work encompasses much more. Her dedication to continue improving programming at the LGBT Center of Raleigh means diversity in educational and social events for LGBTQ women of all races, ages, and professional fields.

Join Dr. Allen at her next monthly brunch event for Black lesbians and queer women of color, or at her writing workshop, every other month on Sunday afternoon.

published on 2/19/2019 • written by Lex

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