Gulfport’s 5th Annual ReadOut Festival, a Celebration of Lesbian Literature, Returns Virtually in February | Events and Movies | Tampa

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Michele Alexander. keynote speaker at the 2022 Gulfport ReadOut Festival.

Not even a full calendar year after the 2021 ReadOut Festival, the annual celebration of literature and lesbians returns next month, February 18-20 on Zoom.

This year’s ReadOut will be a hybrid between live panels and workshops and pre-recorded content from featured authors and speakers. Although this Zoom event is free, it requires registration. Although participation is free, donations for this annual non-profit event are always welcome.

The ReadOut Festival used to occupy the Gulfport Public Library for days at a time, but since last year it has gone the virtual route. In 2019, ReadOut founder Alison Solomon told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that “if it ends up getting too big for the library, great” — and this year’s installation has the reach to connect with enthusiasts. of literature from around the world.

The keynote speaker for 222, one of the festival’s main events, is Michèle Alexandre, dean of law at DeLand’s Stetson University. She is the author of two books, “The New Frontiers of Civil Rights Litigation” from 2019 and “Sexploitation: Sexual Profiling and the Illusion of Gender” from 2014, and will speak about strengthening lesbian voices in the spheres of literature and the arts. right. Notably, Alexander is Stetson University’s first black and queer dean, and has devoted much of his career to efforts such as sustainability, economic independence, and gender equality — topics that could end up in his keynote address on February 18.

Last year, ReadOut reached virtual capacity, hosting 900 attendees and over 80 authors, spoken word artists and comics who all demonstrated “how lesbian voices persist and prevail in these transformative times.” Festival organizers had to expand Zoom’s capabilities to accommodate everyone, so this year’s celebration should be a breeze.

This annual reading and literature festival is always looking for sponsors, so if you and your business are interested, visit the ReadOut website to register. There are three different tiers, depending on how much bread you plan to spend.

And if you miss the in-person vibe of the ReadOut Festival, head to the Gulfport Public Library’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center, the only one in the state of Florida. The center actively hosts year-round LGBTQ+ programming and has an ever-growing collection of LGBTQ+ digital books and resources. Sign up for the newsletter and follow the latest ReadOut Festival updates by visiting @readoutfestival on Facebook.

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