The Golden Crown Literary Society’s (GCLS) annual conference is the premier lesbian literary event for both authors and readers. In a different city each year, the event brings together readers, fans, writers, editors and publishers to celebrate the best in lesbian literature. This year, the event will be held in Alexandria, VA (near Washington D.C.) and 450 attendees are expected. The GCLS Literary Awards, commonly referred to as “The Goldies”, will be announced on Saturday night.
Bringing together authors and their readers – along with their publishers and editors, the conference provides opportunities for authors and those who are thinking about writing, to expand their knowledge. It offers readers all sorts of opportunities to gain insight about the authors themselves, as well as the entertaining panels where they can see and hear from their favorite authors. Readers can also attend Author Spotlights, where every hour five authors are spotlighted through readings and Q&A. Publishers sell books, hear authors pitch ideas for new books, and meet with the authors in person.
Here is what a few key members had to say to us about why they love GCLS.
Ann Bannon, Author, GCLS Trailblazer and Award Winner: The Golden Crown Literary Society is a dream come true, quite literally—a dream I had half a century ago. It’s a wonderful group of talented women writers, publishers, and lovers of the beautiful writing that women produce. Women have a way with words, and they are the ones who can give us memorable portraits of their sisters in every aspect of their lives. What would I not have given to have had the GCLS in my life when I was very young, isolated, and writing about the life I yearned for.
Executive Director Liz Gibson: I love this organization, our members, and what we stand for. Sure, we are all different – I wouldn’t have it any other way. But our sense of survival over the years, the role that literature played in that survival and in our identity as women and as lesbians – that is what brings us together… Lesbian Literature saves lives. The GCLS changes lives. It’s that simple. For example – Lesbians who are isolated, in bad family or living situations, can’t ‘find the lesbians’ in their area – when they discover lesbian literature, it’s like a lifeline. Come and join us Meet people like Katherine Forrest, Karin Kallmaker, Lee Lynch, Marianne K. Martin, Linda Kay Silva, and more. See special guests like Dorothy Allison, Ann Bannon and Rita Mae Brown.
Dorothy Alison, Author, Activist and Award Winner: Writers live and work in isolation, lesbian writers more so than most, particularly those whose focus is on the much maligned narratives of romance. The GCLS brings those writers together to share resources and advocate against that isolation. On the most basic level this is revolutionary and in some cases lifesaving. I am proud to lend my support to this effort.
Katherine V. Forrest, Author, GCLS Trailblazer and Award Winner: How unique is GCLS? With its total focus on lesbian books of every variety that portray our lives and love for each other in all our own glorious variety, it’s high energy, high spirits, it’s joyful and exhilarating. Entertaining programs and panels fill the days, and everywhere are beautiful women of all ages and books books books! Lesbian readers, lesbian writers, you deserve to experience GCLS.
Lee Lynch, Author, GCLS Trailblazer, and Award Winner: Lesbian readers and writers have long needed a way to gather, get to know one another and share what we can offer. At GCLS that may be expertise, or recognition, or it might simply be an opportunity to joyously wallow in lesbian books. I leave GCLS conferences grateful, energized, inspired, with new friends who feel like family. I’m reluctant to leave at all.
C.D. Cain, Graduate, GCLS Writing Academy: Being a member of the GCLS has been pivotal in my early writing career. As a student in the GCLS Writing Academy I was given the opportunity to learn from some of the best, most respected writers in our genre. Their guidance helped shape my debut novel into something I was proud to share with our community. I will continue to grow as an author by attending offered conferences and by utilizing the tools available on their website
The mission of the GCLS is education, promotion and recognition of lesbian literature, offering multiple opportunities for people wanting to learn how to write, or who want to improve their craft: They also have many groups on their membership website, where authors and readers can get together to discuss specific genres, or who all live in a specific region and want to meet up at local events. And of course, we offer significant opportunities for promotion at our Annual Conference through Author Spotlights, and being panelists on discussion panels, or making presentations.
Find out more about becoming a member and attending the conference HERE.