Summer Workshop Extravaganza

$2,135 of $1,100 goal

Raised by 35 people in 6 months

What I'm up to:
As you may know, my primary project is Fabulous at Five: A Queer Kuwaiti Memoir. My goal is to depict my coming of age as a gay man in the face of social and religious pressure. It is also a story of family fracture and reconciliation, and I've been so lucky to have support from family and friends, I've conducted over 30 hours of interviews with friends and family, including my mom, sister and grandma.

I've been working on the book actively since moving to Thailand in September 2017, and have about 60,000 words drafted. You can even read an excerpt   published at The Arab Edition a new digital publication aimed at magnifying Arab and Muslim voices.

Why is this summer special?
This summer will be a great catalyst for my professional development as a writer, and I'm looking for your support to help make it a success. 

I'm thrilled to be participating in two major writing trainings this July and August. The Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices was established in 2007 and is the first of its kind ever offered to LGBTQ writers: a one-week intensive where I'll immerse myself in the craft of writing. I'm working with Chinelo Okparanta a stellar Nigerian-American author. 

The Retreat is  a highly competitive and unparalleled opportunity to be mentored by the very best writers in our community, make connections with publishing industry professionals, and build a strong community of peers.

I am also doing a prose workshop in Provincetown titled Witness, Express, and Represent with my mentor and friend Sarah Schulman. She has written dozens of books, plays, films and articles, so I'm excited to learn from her in a classroom setting.

Why am I raising money?
I have been working on a freelancing income, and it comes in fits and bursts to cover my monthly expenses.

I want to minimize my costs as much as possible to avoid dipping into my savings, and so far I have received a $1000 fellowship from Lambda, and obtained a $150 discount for the Provincetown workshop.

I will be covering my own international and domestic flights, as well as my accommodations in Provincetown (which I'll be splitting with my sister and with a friend).

Your patronage will  help cover:
The $650 registration fee due June 1st for Lambda

the $450 Provincetown Workshop fee

for a total of $1,100.

Any extra funds raised will go towards paying back my plane tickets.

Can I support you in other ways?
Yes! I have an ongoingly updated Amazon wishlist, email me for more info

You can follow my progress on social media:
Instagram: barrakster
Twitter: @fab_at_5

Thanks so much for your time and support!

much love,

+ Read More
Hello beautiful supporters, I wanted to share an update with you all about my time in Provincetown at the Fine Arts Center Workshop.

We sat in a room with high ceilings and a very loud a/c unit.

On the very first day we introduced the draft of work that we had brought, and distributed it. We spent that evening critiquing each other's works, and the next day went around and gave each other feedback, one by one.

My computer conked out half way through the week, and it was an interesting challenge to do the re-draft with paper and pen (the computer lab was a very dour space). It forced me to slow down, and unfold one sentence after another, a challenge I have.

For you, my esteemed supporters, you can view a link of the work in progress. It's exclusive to you, and very intimate and raw, but I thought you might find the before and after interesting:


Each day, including the first day, Sarah would give us a lesson on craft, covering many basics including narrative drive, point of view, dialogue and so forth. Lessons I would have given my high school students, and it was so refreshing to know that the tools are simple, and there are myriad ways of executing.

I went to see some really wonderful drag performances, including a notable one by Jinkxx Monsoon, and split the accommodations with my sister and dear friend Sean. So I had family and friend time, beach time, and lots of writing time.

I leave for LA tomorrow (Wednesday 8/1) and excited for Lambda to start on 8/5. Will send you another update once I'm done with that.

Feel free to be in touch in the meantime if you want to catch up or hear more detail!

much love and gratitude,

+ Read More
Hello all! I decided to budget $200 of the surplus funds for submissions to Writers Digest and Master's Review and Glimmertrain (which is sadly having its final issue in 2019.

As my supporters I'm sharing three of the short short memoir-ish stories I've adapted based on my experiences.

"Pink and Blue" is actually based on an anecdote from my husband Justin. He encountered two domestic workers at a mall in Kuwait just as he was leaving H&M. They were laughing, dressed in pink and blue house worker uniforms, and were surrounded by men in white dishdashas and women in black abayas.

I tried to imagine what two of these helpers might have been joyously laughing about, untethered by obligations to their employers in that given moment. If you've ever been in the Middle East and especially the Gulf you'll know what I mean, and hopefully I was able to convey it to those unfamiliar.

Here they are:


much love and gratitude,

+ Read More
I'm so thrilled to almost reach my goal.
I feel loved, supported and validated. Anything in excess that I make here will go towards travel costs and books!

If you'd rather support my literary edification you can also check out my Amazon wishlist of books: http://a.co/8lh97Xc
original work of art circa mid nineties
+ Read More
Slaying the word count!
Compiled the chapters and hit 80k words!
+ Read More
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$2,135 of $1,100 goal

Raised by 35 people in 6 months
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