Friday, August 09, 2013


2nd Annual Comadres & Compadres Writers Conference: Oct. 5, 2013

The 2nd Annual Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference will provide Latino writers with access to published Latino authors as well as agents and editors who have a proven track record of publishing Latino books. Last year writers traveled from as far as California, Florida, and Mexico to attend. Feedback from participants has been enthusiastic (see testimonials below).

WHEN: Saturday, October 5, 2013

WHERE: Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn, NY

WHO: Participants currently include Erin Clarke, Executive Editor, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers; Adriana Dominguez, Agent, Full Circle Literary; Toni Kirkpatrick, Editor, Thomas Dunne Books; Nancy Mercado, Executive Editor, Roaring Brook Press; Andrea Montejo, Agent, Indent Literary Agency; Lukas Ortiz, Managing Agent, Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency, Inc.; Jeff Ourvan, Agent, Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency; Diane Stockwell, Agent, Globo Libros Literary Management; Johnny Temple, Publisher, Akashic; and Stacy Whitman, Publisher, Tu Books, among others.

REGISTER: - note early bird discount ends Wednesday, 8/14/13

TESTIMONIALS: "I'm a huge fan of this conference! I went last year and loved being able to connect with other Latina writers, and with local editors who were seeking freelance work (as well as editors who encouraged us to submit to their literary journals). I pitched my book project to two agents, one of whom later offered me representation! The book is still in the submission process, but I'm hoping to hear some news very soon. Overall, it was a really inspiring, action-packed day, and I would highly recommend it to any writer who wants to network and learn more about the craft." —Lesley Tellez, conference attendee,

"The conference was very well-organized, the location was modern, close to major transportation, and tech-friendly. The volunteers were enthusiastic and very willing to help in any way possible. All of the attendees were genuinely excited and eager to learn, which was refreshing. Kudos on a job well done and to many more successful conferences!" —Mercedes Fernandez, Assistant Editor, Kensington Publishing

"It was wonderful seeing so many young people who want to add to the chorus of Latino voices out there. I believe they got inspiration, information, and a healthy dose of reality. Thank you to Medgar Evers College and Las Comadres for creating a much-needed service for our community of writers." —Dahlma Llanos Figueroa, author of Daughters of the Stone

Contact: Marcela Landres
Cofounder, Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


Michael Montlack Wins 2013 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award

Michael Montlack (photo by Anne Marie Rousseau)

Michael Montlack Wins the 12th Annual Oscar Wilde Award-2013

Michael Montlack of New York, New York has won the 12th Annual Oscar Wilde Award for his poem titled Questions My Father Asked Watching This Old House (1993) chosen by Henry Hughes.

Winner of the 2013 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award

Questions My Father Asked Watching This Old House (1993)
by Michael Montlack of New York, New York.

Honorable Mentions:
by Will Stockton of Pendleton, South Carolina.

Performance Act
by Renny Christopher of Camarillo, California.

by Will Stockton of Pendleton, South Carolina.

Strange Big Fish
by Michael Montlack of New York, New York.

Questions My Father Asked Watching This Old House (1993)

That afternoon I was beside him on my mother’s half of their bed.

Our English Setter licking his gnarly unsocked feet.
While host Bob Vila sang the praise of plaster over stucco.
My father shaking his head on the pillow, Camel wedged in lips:
Plaster? This knucklehead doesn’t know what he’s talkin about.

I never asked why he watched so religiously if he doubted Bob’s every move.
Never agreed or disagreed, knowing little about home repair myself.
Just used the show’s half-hour as I had since junior high: A way to be near.

“So let me ask you sumptin,” he started.

The plaster was being mixed. The dog continued to lick.

Out just weeks, this was what I’d been waiting for: The inevitable
“So . . . do you . . . do drag?” Or . . . “You one of those um, leather guys?”

My father, a mechanic in his 60’s, hadn’t known openly gay people before.

But no.

He said: “Why are gay people smarter than straight people?“

I hesitated. Swallowed the impulse to vent about all the himbos I’d met
my few months going to bars. “We aren’t,” I said. Realizing his reasoning:
Me, the family’s first degree. “It’s just easier to come out in educated circles.“

The walls were nearly primed. The dog paused to lick his own foot.

“So then . . . why are you guys always more creative?”

I wasn’t prepared. Having only rehearsed vows to use condoms. Settle down one day.

“Well, I guess being silenced,” I said, “we use the arts to express?”

Bob had spatula in hand. Was making circular patterns. Pleased with himself.

“I mean, there are gay migrant workers,” I added. “But who can they tell?”

He rolled his head on the pillow to look my way. Camel burned out.
“Well, how come you’re not angry?”

And then: I was back at his station, all those summers pumping gas.
Collecting tips just for being Howie’s son. Nine, ten, eleven years old.
Had they been pennies from heaven? For ignoring his crew in the shop:

This fan belt’s a real cocksucker! When’s that faggot coming for his Pinto?

I couldn’t answer. Did this mean I wasn’t angry? Surely
I’d met guys with chips on their shoulders. Guys who drank their chips away.
Where was my chip? Still in the closet? In my writing? The need to write?

Bob was in different clothes now. On a return visit. To see the walls. Fully dried.

“No,” I said finally. “I guess I’m not angry.”

But what could I be angry about? There, so comfortable in that bed.
With my father and his dog. Learning how to build a more beautiful home.

Copyright © 2013 by Michael Montlack.

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