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Authors, books and voices

Pride Week: A Q&A with 2SLGBTQIA+ authors and panellists

Campus and Community

By Jennifer Batten

St. John’s Pride Week 2022 is running July 15-24.

As part of the celebrations, you are invited to an in-person and virtual event celebrating 2SLGBTQIA+ authors, books and voices.

Panellists and featured authors from the Memorial community include Daze Jefferies, Xavier Campbell and Bethany Jacobs. The event will be moderated by Santiago Guzmán, writer, performer, director and graduate of Grenfell Campus’ Bachelor of Fine Arts Program.

Read on to hear from the authors what Pride means to them and what they will be discuss on Thursday, July 21, in ED-1014 on the St. John’s campus.

Xavier Campbell

JB: Pride is celebrated nationally throughout June and locally here in St. John’s this week. What does Pride mean to you?

XC: To me, Pride means the world, specifically it is a celebration of all the work that queers before me have done so that I have the insane privilege to stand proudly in the daylight as an authentic version of myself. Pride is also a reminder about the work that still remains to be done because the fight for equality is far from over.

JB: Can you tell me about the book/work you will be reading from?

XC: I will be reading from the anthology Us, Now by Breakwater books. It is a collection of short stories from racialized Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. The anthology represents new and unique voices in Newfoundland and Labrador literature and I am honoured to be included in the collection.

JB: What can people expect to hear from you next week and what will be the main takeaway from the event?

XC: You should expect a story about young gay love and how special that is. The main takeaway would be to impress on everyone that queerness is not a monolith and our range of expression should be celebrated. As we open up our lives to others through our work, I hope it will encourage and inspire everyone.

Bethany Jacobs

An Indigenous woman with long black hair and a traditional necklace has her hands behind her back and smiles at the camera.
Bethany Jacobs
Photo: Submitted

JB: What does Pride mean to you?

BJ: Pride means actively resisting shame that we have received in the past, replacing it with a resurgence of who we are as individuals and a community, while supporting those who are around us through their own journeys of reconciling who they are and how their experiences impact their self-identities.

JB: Can you tell me about the book/work you will be reading from?

BJ: I write often about trauma, resiliency, culture, identity, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, indigeneity, feeling “othered”, faith, spirituality, sexual trauma and spiritual trauma, freedom, community, reconciliation, and more.

JB: What can people expect to hear from you next week and what will be the main take away from the event?

BJ: Using writing as a healing process to “come into ourselves,” build deeper moments of self-reflexivity and personal growth, which helps us build our own experience of wholeness while inviting others into a relation with each other of wholeness, self-reflexivity and healing.

Daze Jefferies

A white woman with long light brown hair looks at the camera.
Daze Jefferies
Photo: Submitted

JB: What does Pride mean to you?

DJ: Pride continues to be a network of protest, resistance, community-building, and critical-creative education that gestures toward transformation and collective becoming. Pride for me is, among many things, about challenging anti-trans beliefs, practices and policies, calling for the decriminalization of sex work, fostering anti-racist organizing within community, facilitating intergenerational communication and working collaboratively against structural oppression.

JB: Can you tell me about the book you will be reading from?

DJ: I will be reading poems from a manuscript in progress titled Oceanleaving.

JB: What can people expect to hear from you next week and what will be the main takeaway from the event?

DJ: My literary work explores trans and sex worker histories, embodiments and political cultures in Newfoundland and Labrador. I will be sharing poetic narratives grounded in the interplay between historical knowledge and dreams for the future, and I look forward to being in conversation with a remarkable group of writers.

Santiago Guzmán

A brown man with long, curly black hair half smiles at the camera.
Santiago Guzmán
Photo: Submitted

JB: What does Pride mean to you?

SG: To me, Pride is the freedom and privilege to celebrate your identity without shame. It’s a daily practice.

JB: Can you tell me about the book/work you will be reading from at the event on July 21?

SG: My work focuses on creating space for queer, racialized and immigrant voices within Newfoundland and Labrador. My most recent play, Urn, received the Senior Dramatic Script Award of the Newfoundland and Labrador 2022 Arts and Letters Awards and was short-listed for the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union Fresh Fish Award 2022.

JB: What can people expect to hear from you next week and what will be the main takeaway from the event?

SG: I will be hosting the panel and asking questions to the readers. I am interested in talking about what it means to be a queer artist in Newfoundland and Labrador and how that transpires in their writing.

Event details

The event will conclude with an audience Q&A. More information on the authors is available here.

Please note that this is a hybrid event, with the option to participate in person on the St. John’s campus or online. Members of the Memorial community located outside St. John’s are encouraged to participate virtually.

Date and time: Thursday, July 21, from 12-1:30 p.m.

Location: Education building on the St. John’s campus, ED-1014

Participate online here.

Hosted by Memorial University’s Office of the Vice-Provost, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism.

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