The tickets have been purchased, and the room booked. And now, Brian has also been accepted to the Chatham University Summer Community of Writers!
This is a big deal -- not only will Brian receive college credit for the program -- he will also be mentored by MFA writing faculty and participate in challenging workshops to help hone his skill, AND he will have the opportunity to connect with the Pittsburgh literary community.
My hope is that he will find local opportunities to publish and perform his work, and that this may lead to a scholarship down the road.
Brian has also applied to the Ocean State Summer Writer's Conference at the University of Rhode Island. As he was published in last summer's Ocean State Review, and as they nominated his essay for the prestigious Pushcart Prize, I think he's a shoe-in. But it's going to take a little more generosity from his friends to get him there.
So if you want to do something nice for Brian's birthday, or if you wanted to contribute a couple of weeks ago but forgot, now's your chance.
Every dollar counts; the $100 donations are touching, but so are the $10 donations from people who dig as deep as they can. Together we can all show Brian how much we support his commitment to acheiving his goals.
Brian Broome is the voice of resilence. He is the soul of candor. He is that rare writer who can confront the ugliness of prejudice with wry wit and the poignant beauty of his prose.
Brian is a GLBTQ nontraditional college student who has written about race and gender all of his life. A celebrity in Pittsburgh's spoken-word scene for over a decade, Brian won his first university publication with an essay published in last summer's Ocean State Review. More, his thoughtful and funny posts on social media -- about confronting privilege, and about the everyday absurdity of life in the neighborhoods served by the P1 bus -- have earned him hundreds of followers. My friends and I keep exhorting him to develop his missives into short pieces of creative nonfiction, and to reach for a larger audience.
Were the world a better place, Brian would have half a dozen books, and he would be teaching college courses. Instead, he is waiting tables. I am hoping to help him make up for lost time, because I believe wholeheartedly in his art and his message.
It has been a big year for me -- I am travelling to the Assosciated Writing Programs in Minneapolis next month, after winning a national award and publishing my first book. I'm going to have access to publishers and the literary community -- and I want to open those doors for Brian.
I am hoping to raise enough money to buy Brian a plane ticket from Pittsburgh to Minneapolis and back -- about $350 -- and to help him find accomodations for the conference. I have set a modest goal of $1200; if there is money left over, we will see about getting him to another conference, such as the one sponsored by the aformentioned journal at the University of Rhode Island.
Please consider kicking in whatever you can to help send Brian to AWP2015. He is an important voice, and he should be heard.
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