Staking Our Claim: Trans Women’s Literature in the 21st Century

Imogen Binnie, Ryka Aoki, Donna Ostrowsky, Red Durkin, and Reina Gossett

The Collection book cover

As our notions of feminism have evolved over the last several decades, so too has the body of literature by and about trans women. In this fiction reading and panel sponsored by the Barnard Library, celebrating the release of The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard (Topside Press, 2012), four trans women authors will come together to discuss the future of literature, the complex ways that literary trans narratives will evolve in years to come, and their own stories of characters navigating relationships, gender, family, work, race, and more.

Donna Ostrowsky was born and raised in Boston’s western suburbs and received a BFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU. She has collaborated with The Internets Celebrities as a video editor and directed their hit mini-documentary “Bodega Cats.” For the past several years, she has earned a living in nonprofit development as a prospect researcher but is interested in going into advertising, film, or television, or being the lyricist and lead singer for a band with competitive salary and benefits. Donna resides in Brooklyn.

Imogen Binnie is the author of the zines The Fact That It’s Funny Doesn’t Make It A Joke and Stereotype Threat. Additionally, her work has been anthologized in the forthcoming volume of transgender fiction The Collection. She is currently a monthly contributor to Maximum Rocknroll and has previously written for Aorta Magazine, The Skinny and PrettyQueer.com. She lives with her girlfriend in Portland, Maine and writes about books at keepyourbridgesburning.com. Her first novel, Nevada, is set to be published by Topside Press in 2013.

Red Durkin is the managing editor of PrettyQueer.com. A writer, comedian, and vlogger, she has toured extensively as part of the Tranny Roadshow, performed at Camp Trans and the Transgender Leadership Summit, and was a member of the Fully Functional Cabaret. Red has written 9 zines and was featured in the final issue of Punk Planet magazine. Her work on Youtube has been shown in college classrooms, played at various events internationally, and translated into German.

Ryka Aoki is a writer, performer, and educator who has been honored by the California State Senate for her “extraordinary commitment to free speech and artistic expression, as well as the visibility and well-being of Transgender people.” Ryka appears in the recent trans documentaries “Diagnosing Difference” and “Riot Acts” as well as the anthologies Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation (Seal Press), and Transfeminist Perspectives (Temple University). Ryka has as an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and is the recipient of a University Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her chapbook Sometimes Too Hot the Eye of Heaven Shines won RADAR’s 2010 Eli Coppola Chapbook Contest. Her first full-length volume, Seasonal Velocities, was released this year by Trans-Genre Press. She is a professor of English at Santa Monica College.

Note: Tim Trace Peterson, who originally planned to moderate this panel, is unable to make it. The discussion will be moderated by Reina Gossett.

Reina Gossett lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and believes creativity & imagination are vital in movements for self determination. She is a trans activist & artist, working as membership director at the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and was formerly the director of the Welfare Organizing Project at Queers for Economic Justice and an Open Society Institute Soros Justice Fellow at Critical Resistance. Reina is a graduate of Columbia University with a BA in Comparative Ethnic Studies, her work has been recently featured in Barnard College’s The Scholar & Feminist Online, as well as Captive Genders: Trans Embodiement & The Prison Industrial Complex, Post Post Script Press and Randy Magazine. She blogs at thespiritwas.tumblr.com.

Tim Trace Peterson (moderator) is co-editor of the forthcoming anthology Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books / EOAGH) and the author of Since I Moved In (Chax Press) and Violet Speech (2nd Avenue Poetry). Peterson is Editor / Publisher of EOAGH and from 2009-2012 curated the TENDENCIES: Poetics & Practice talks series on queer writing and the manifesto at CUNY Graduate Center.

This event is free and open to the public.

More from this event: