This organization is dedicated to the authors and readers of lesbian fiction.

The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) is an organization dedicated to the authors and readers of lesbian fiction. The twelfth annual conference took place this past July 6-10 in Alexandria, Virginia, and for the first time, Curve Magazine sponsored the event.

The annual event includes a series of reader-and-writer-focused activities, including panel discussions on a variety of topics, author readings and Q&A sessions, master classes, an ice cream social, karaoke, a silent auction, and an awards ceremony that honors exceptional works of lesbian fiction published the previous year.

As for the details of the conference, there was much happening, all day, every day. The panel discussions included Rita Mae Brown, Katherine V. Forrest, Lee Lynch, Karin Kallmaker, Radclyffe, and many, many others, including myself.

Fay Jacobs, author of As I Lay Frying – a Rehoboth Beach Memoir and star of the one-woman show Aging Gracelessly: 50 Shades of Fay, was the keynote speaker, and Rachel Spangler, author of too many award-winning books to count, joined her as the special speaker.

Additionally, this year Golden Crown Literary Society honored Jewelle Gomez for her significant contributions during her career, along with the late Sandra Moran, who died tragically in 2015 after a battle with cancer.

In addition to the annual conference, GCLS also hosts a ten-month writing academy and author mentoring program that takes place throughout the year. Learn more about that here.

More than that, though, the conference is a time of renewed sisterhood. Upon arrival, before I’d even checked in, I was greeted with a hug from an old friend. As the week went on, every time I boarded the elevator, a round of hugs was exchanged with the women stepping out. Some I’ve known; some I met for the first time.

GCLS is similar to a Pride festival in that a swell of emotion rises up inside me. Being surrounded by all that fabulous woman energy enlivened me and filled me with a sense of sameness and belonging. With those women, for the length of the event, I wasn’t “other”. At a base level, deep in my bones, I know these are my people.

And, because my family was with me, I also had the joy of watching this group of women embrace my youngest daughter, who is only nine years old. They collectively took on the responsibility of fostering and encouraging her interest in reading and writing. I was equal parts proud of her and of the women in attendance. Their kindness and enthusiasm will help shape the adult she is to become.

It’s been just over a month since the conference concluded, and I’m already looking forward to 2017. I hope to see you all there!