Cicadas & Coneflowers

Retreat for Trans Writers of Color

at the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow, November 4 - 7, 2021

“Cicadas and Coneflowers,” is a literary workshop designed by poet, writer, journalist, and spoken word performance artist, Joss Barton. Its goal is to amplify, uplift, and enhance the voices of trans writers of color through a writing retreat created by and for trans and gender non-conforming writers of color. Trans people of color are routinely marginalized and under-represented in the literary community. Literature is a vehicle for greater understanding and transformative change and should be used to build equity and inclusion for underrepresented populations. The “Cicadas and Coneflowers” workshop retreat will build a safe, intentional space for trans writers of color to explore the resilience and power in creative trans narratives and storytelling, and to produce new, exciting, empowering, and engaging work.


The “Cicadas and Coneflowers” retreat will be held in conjunction with Out in Eureka’s Fall Diversity Weekend, on November 4 through 7, 2021. The retreat has been generously funded by Amazon Literary Partnership. Trans writers of color may apply here from July 1 through midnight CST on Monday, September 6, 2021. Eight writers will be selected to attend with special preference given to trans writers from the Midwest and Ozarks.


The retreat will begin on Thursday with a welcome dinner at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow followed by a public Spoken Word Performance featuring Joss Barton showcasing her one woman, spoken word long-form poem, “The Wagons Ain't Here Yet.”


During intensive workshops on Friday through Sunday, participants will discover new ways of experiencing their unique creativity and learn to achieve their writing goals. Workshop will include critical components of writing craft, diverse writing styles, individual and collaborative writing exercises, critiques, and editing techniques. The retreat will culminate with an intimate spoken word performance/reading so participants may share their work in a supportive setting.


Eureka Springs is a comfortable, welcoming place for LGBTQ+ writers. It was the first Arkansas city to issue same-sex marriage licenses and has enacted a city ordinance to protect its LGBTQ+ citizens. Hosting the “Cicadas and Coneflowers” retreat during Eureka Springs’ annual Fall Diversity Weekend will add an additional level of comfort and acceptance that is rare in most communities. It also provides a receptive and supportive audience for a “Cicadas and Coneflowers” spoken word performance which will be held on Thursday, November 4.


“Cicadas and Coneflowers” was first held in April 2018 at the Metro Trans Umbrella Group’s headquarters in St. Louis. The 2019 retreat was canceled due to COVID-19. The pandemic resulted in further isolating marginalized people. Therefore, it is important to hold this workshop in 2021, but in a way that is safe for participants and staff. Depending on the status of the pandemic, COVID protocols will be enforced, and instructors will be required to provide a negative COVID test before the retreat.


Joss Bartlett said, “Cicadas & Coneflowers began as a dream I had when imagining how writers’ workshops could serve trans writers of color in ways they have historically failed them. Other trans writers of color and I, who have attended writers’ workshops, have always had to either crowd-source our way to these spaces or fight for scholarships for the opportunity to grow as writers collaboratively. I wanted to create a space where those worries were non-existent and where the work of being a writer and of crafting your practice as a storyteller was the only concern you’d have over a brief weekend gathered with a community of trans folkx of color. I hope that this second season of Cicadas & Coneflowers will continue to foster the creative and literary growth of other trans writers of color. The opportunity for our community to tell our own stories is the only just and sustainable path for full trans and gender liberation.”


Executive Director, Michelle Hannon, said, “The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow believes everybody has a sacred story to tell. We are committed to uplifting marginalized voices and we are extremely grateful to Joss Bartlett and the Amazon Literary Partnership for making the Cicadas & Coneflowers retreat possible. And we are proud to be a part of the welcoming community of Eureka Springs.”


The Amazon Literary Partnership (ALP) is committed to uplifting and amplifying the voices of overlooked or marginalized writers by supporting the literary community through grants to writing programs and nonprofit literary organizations – groups whose mission is to champion emerging writers and diversity in storytelling. Guided by the mission of having a lasting impact on the literary community, ALP helps writers tell their stories and find their readers, empowering writers to create, publish, learn, teach, experiment and thrive.


The mission of the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow (WCDH) is to nurture writers of all backgrounds, genres, and levels of experience in a supportive environment that builds community, energizes creative expression, stimulates new thinking, and optimizes productivity. Located in Eureka Springs, in the Arkansas Ozarks, WCDH is nestled in a wooded setting within walking distance to downtown. Writers stay in private writing suites in adjacent buildings and all meals are provided. Since opening its doors to writers in 2000, WCDH has hosted over 1,700 writers from 48 states and 13 countries. For more information, please visit www.writerscolony.org or call Michelle Hannon at (479)253-7444.




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