Queer Speculations: A virtual reading and gathering

The International Armenian Literary Alliance (IALA), Pink Armenia, GALAS LGBTQ+ Armenian Society, Entanik and the National Association for Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR) are pleased to invite you to their virtual reading and gathering, Queer Speculations. The event will take place on Zoom on June 22, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific | 1:00 p.m. Eastern | 9:00 p.m. Armenia time. Free attendance. Register here.

As we speculate about the future of the queer Armenian community, what possibilities are before us? How can we use speculative fiction to imagine and reimagine those possibilities? In this event, authors Kristin Anahit Cass and Jacob Budenz will discuss how they have used speculative fiction to reflect on the present and illuminate future queer potentialities. Cass will read from her new book Reparations of the Heart: Toward a Swana Futurity, and Budenz will read from his new book Tea Leaves. The conversation will be moderated by J.P. Der Boghossian, host of the podcast This Queer Book Saved My Life (2024 GLAAD media award nominee).

The event will also feature special guest Brent Love, who will read from his newly released memoir Leap. In this groundbreaking memoir, Love recounts coming out to his family two days before beginning a two-year Peace Corps assignment in Armenia. The book is a meditation on family and identity, set throughout Armenia and its queer scene. 

The discussion will be followed by a “social hour,” to offer queer Armenians around the world a space to connect and share experiences.

About the authors

Kristin Anahit Cass is a writer and multi-disciplinary artist. Cass’s work imagines the future, touches the past and envisions a better world. As Tamar Boyadjian noted in Hyperallergic, Cass’s work “recognizes the lived experience of trauma, yet owns the ability of humans to individually and collectively reframe that experience in their hearts to make way for reparations.” In addition to her arts education, Cass has worked with women and minority owned businesses, artists and nonprofits in her career as a lawyer. She is one of the founders of the LGBTQ platform Entanik (Family) where she’s active in supporting creatives in the global community.

Cass is the author of Reparations of the Heart: Toward a SWANA Futurity, published by Fifth Wheel Press. Her Borderlands Under Fire project, including the books Borderlands Under Fire and The New Freedom Fighters: Women and Nonviolent Resistance, was a finalist for the 2018 Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize. Her short story “Zaruhi” was published by antirrhinum. Cass has performed her work at 1001 Storytelling Nights, StoryLab and other venues. Her art work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions including Traversing Temporalities at Tiger Strikes Asteroid Chicago, Reparations of the Heart at the Stamelos Gallery Center University of Michigan, Witness: The Artist’s Response at Elephant Room Gallery Chicago and others. Cass is a graduate of the University of Chicago. Learn more about Cass at www.kristincass.com.

Jacob Budenz is a queer author, multi-disciplinary performer and witch with an MFA from University of New Orleans and a bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. The author of queer magic realist short story collection Tea Leaves (Bywater Books 2023) and poetry chapbook Pastel Witcheries (Seven Kitchens Press 2018), Budenz has fiction and poetry in print journals including Slipstream and Assaracus; zeitgeisty online journals including Taco Bell Quarterly and Wussy Mag; and anthologies by Mason Jar Press, Unbound Edition and more. A 2019 Baker Innovative Projects Grant winner for original experimental play Simaetha: a Dreambaby Cabaret, Budenz is also the lead singer and lyricist of queer psychedelic pop darlings Moth Broth whose recent single “Willa” is supported through an upcoming remix by indie legends Xiu Xiu. Learn more about Budenz at www.jakebeearts.com.

Brent Love is an American memoirist and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer. During his work as Roving Correspondent for the American Refugee Committee, Love covered stories across the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Love studied political science and international relations at Abilene Christian University and began his career in refugee resettlement in West Texas. He is the host of the surrogacy podcast Hope Works. Learn more about Love at www.heybrentlove.com.

J.P. Der Boghossian is the founder of the Queer Armenian Library, the world’s first library devoted to literature, film and television by, about and for queer Armenians. He hosts the podcast This Queer Book Saved My Life, which is a 2024 GLAAD Media Award nominee for Outstanding Podcast. He is a Lambda Literary Fellow, and his essays have appeared in We Are All Armenian (University of Texas Press), The Sun Isn’t Out Long Enough (Anamot Press) and Emerge (Lambda Literary). He additionally hosts The Gaily Show for AM950-KTNF in Minneapolis. He holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs from the University of Minnesota. He resides with his partners, splitting their time between Minneapolis, MN and Barronett, WI. Learn more about Der Boghossian at www.jpderboghossian.com

International Armenian Literary Alliance
The International Armenian Literary Alliance is a nonprofit organization launched in 2021 that supports and celebrates writers by fostering the development and distribution of Armenian literature in the English language. A network of Armenian writers and their champions, IALA gives Armenian writers a voice in the literary world through creative, professional, and scholarly advocacy.

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