It’s been over three years since the current collective of owners rescued Glad Day Bookshop from near certain death. While the team of 20 has managed to keep the business afloat with countless volunteer hours and personal financial contributions, returning the company to a self-sustaining model has proven elusive.
Co-owner and full-time high school teacher Michael Erickson recently announced he’s taking a one-year sabbatical from his job to focus on finding ways to edge the organization back into the black. Along with improving holiday sales, potentially moving to a storefront space and possibly opening a small press, one of the group’s key initiatives is Naked Heart; what they hope will be their first annual LGBT literary festival.
“It was actually one of the first things we discussed when we took over the store,” Erickson says. “We talked about things the city and the community really needed, and an opportunity to share and experience our literary voices in this kind of format was definitely at the top of the list. But we knew that before we could undertake something like this, we had to figure out how to run a business.”
As they edge closer to sustainability, the team is aiming to build on their mandate to circulate marginalized voices with three days chock-full of LGBT talent. Rather than restrict themselves to presenting in their own space, they’ve expanded to include several area venues. With over 100 writers presenting readings, workshops and panels, it’s a rather overwhelming first kick at the lit-fest can. But their go-big-or-go-home attitude isn’t simply about promoting their own institution.
“In the 1990s there were a lot more publishers taking chances, but now there’s less money in the business and a lot more challenging writers are having a hard time finding space,” Erickson says. “Queer and trans authors are still fundamentally underrepresented in the cultural landscape and that’s something we want to change.”
Check out our picks for best bets at the the exciting new literary fest.
Friday, Oct 16–Sunday, Oct 18, 2015