October 10-14, 2018
By Dee Jae Cox
The first book that I ever read with a lesbian protagonist was Rita Mae Brown’s, “Ruby Fruit Jungle.” It was a shabby looking book, the covers had been torn off and it had been discreetly passed from hand to hand. I was a young soldier in the Army, just coming out and nowhere near secure in the direction my life was heading. I had no idea that books existed that told stories about women like me. The ways in which the character, Molly Bolt opened my eyes were immeasurable.
Books tell stories that reflect lives, loves, dreams, ambitions and fantasies. They reduce isolation, remind us that we are not alone and teach us about others who may or may not be so different from ourselves. Books are the lifeblood of realities and imaginations. Stories with protagonists that revolve around the lives of lesbians are vital to self-discovery and acceptance. Lesbian fiction has come a long way since Radclyffe Hall wrote the first known lesbian novel in 1928, “Well of Loneliness,” which practically plunged readers into deep, suicidal despair. Today’s lesbian fiction is limitless in its ability to transform and inform.
There is sometimes a misnomer that stories about lesbians are just about sex. Since women are overly sexualized in American culture, if the story involves two women, that must mean that there is twice the sex. As in many works of fiction, in lesbian themed fiction there are relationships that involve sex, but they revolve around women living full lives. The characters are doctors and lawyers, criminals and saints. The genres are diverse, such as action, science fiction, intrigue, mysteries and sometimes-good old-fashioned romance. The writers and their stories are multi-cultural, old and young, rich and poor and across the spectrum of diversity. The wonderful and thrilling difference is that the women are getting to have the adventures. And they are falling for other women.
October 10-14, Palm Springs will host the Sixth annual “Left Coast Lesbian Literary Conference, (LCLC).” LCLC is produced by Sapphire Books and sponsored by Desert Palm Press. Author Christine Svendsen founded Sapphire Books publishing, one of the top lesbian publishing houses, in 2010. Sapphire book’s mission is to produce and publish fiction, non-fiction and biographical lesbian literary works of art. Chris and her wife Schileen Potter, also work with nonprofits and businesses in the Palm Springs area in an effort to support and give back to the community.
The LCLC is a much-anticipated event that consists of four fun-filled days packed with panel discussions, workshops, author readings, and a special keynote speaker event at the Palm Springs Library. This year’s Keynote speaker is multi-award winning novelist, Dorothy Allison. Allison is the first child of a fifteen-year-old unwed mother. Her best selling and award-winning novel, Bastard out of Carolina, was semi-auto-biographical and won her international acclaim. It was also made into a film starring Kyra Sedgwick.
The Left Coast Lesbian Literary Conference four-day event draws authors and/or readers of lesbian novels, from all over the country. Though produced by Sapphire Books, the conference welcomes all lesbian fiction authors and publishers regardless of publishing status or house. All-Access Pass holders are treated to food, drinks and snacks during the conference.
Whether you’re a lifelong book nerd, a writer, or just enjoy hanging out with smart and creative lesbians, The Left Coast Lesbian Literary Conference is an event not to be missed.
The Left Coast Lesbian Literary Conference will be held October 10-14 at the Mojave Resort 72721 Shadow Mountain Drive, Palm Desert, California. Phone (760) 674-9072.
For a complete schedule please visit the Conference website – www.lclcpalmsprings.com.
Dee Jae Cox is a playwright, director and producer. She is the Cofounder and Artistic Director for The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project www.losangeleswomenstheatreproject.org