Meaningful Conversations: First Pride on the Page Book Festival Brings Authors Together to Discuss LGBTQ+ Literature

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When many people think of a Pride celebration, two things come to mind: a parade or bacchanalia of dancing, partying, and enjoying life in a community that accepts you for who you are.

What if a more cerebral celebration was your place of happiness?

To that end, the Palm Springs Public Library presents the first Pride on the Page Book Festival. Organized by Julie Warren, the library’s public services manager, and Corey Roskin, a literary event planner who recently moved to Palm Springs, the festival will feature more than 40 LGBTQ+ authors participating in a series of free panels celebrating works of LGBTQ+ literature, Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 5 at the Welwood Murray Memorial Library in downtown Palm Springs.

Additionally, a special event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 5 at the Plaza Theater. TV and film star Sharon Gless will speak with her Queer as Folk co-star Peter Paige on her book, Apparently there were complaints. Tickets are $40 with proceeds going to the Palm Springs Public Library Foundation.

“This is an official Palm Springs Pride event,” Warren said. “It was very important to us to be included in Pride events. So many people come to town for Pride, and these people are always looking for something new or different. There are so many great things to TO DO.

The hope is that Pride on the Page will become an annual part of Greater Palm Springs Pride.

“This festival will help people reconnect with their favorite authors while introducing them to authors they may not have known about,” Warren said.

Warren hopes hearing from authors with different viewpoints will spark meaningful conversations.

“Everyone we’ve spoken to about the festival is very excited and supportive,” Warren said.

Warren and Roskin hosted various one-hour panels, five a day, by topic. The panel “Sparkling Beginnings: LGBTQ+ Authors and a Publisher Share Words and Ideas About Their First Books,” moderated by Matthew Lancellotti, will kick off on Friday.

Saturday panels begin with “Wondrous Words: New Fiction from LGBTQ+ Voices” at 10 a.m. The panel will be moderated by Alex Espinoza and will include panelists Melissa Chadburn, Rachel M. Harper, Celia Laskey and David Eugene Perry.

The first novel by David Eugene Perry, panelist On this rock has won two prestigious awards and has been praised by Armistead Maupin and Fenton Johnson, among others.

“I think this event is definitely going to become annual,” Perry said. “Right now is when LGBTQ voices need to be heard.”

The theme for this year’s Greater Palm Springs Pride is “Say Gay,” which references various anti-LGBTQ+ bills being pushed in states across the country, including Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. .

“This festival is not just a ‘nice to have’; it’s essential, because the LGBTQ community is under attack,” Perry said. “If we don’t tell our own stories, no one else can be trusted to do so.”

Follett Books will make copies of each author’s works available for purchase, and authors will be in the lobby past their panels for signings.

“Having that interaction with the authors is really what it’s all about,” Warren said.

The Pride on the Page Book Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 4 and 5, at the Welwood Murray Memorial Library, 100 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs. Admission to all roundtables is free. Sharon Gless will speak with Peter Paige about her book, Apparently there were complaints, at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Plaza Theater, 128 S. Palm Canyon Drive; tickets are $40, with proceeds going to the Palm Springs Public Library Foundation. For more information, please visit the www.palmspringsca.gov/government/departments/library.

Kevin Mann is the Independentformer editorial intern of; his internship was funded by the Coachella Valley Journalism Foundation.

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