‘Red Aviary’, Taboo! (acrylic on canvas, 2019) Courtesy Gordon Robichaux
‘Queers Read This is a literature event that isn't boring.’
An evening of readings by Sophia Al-Maria, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Harry Burgess, Richard Porter, Tai Shani and Isabel Waidner.
Presented by artist Richard Porter and writer Isabel Waidner, the latest instalment of Queers Read This features readings of texts spanning prose and poetry, critical and creative writing.
Themes range from Sad Sacks and Beast Type Songs (Al-Maria), black queer and trans erasure and speculative fiction (Brathwaite-Shirley), Toffee Hammers and everything turning into a desert (Burgess), queer wilderness and poetry (Porter), fatal magic and The Book of the City of Ladies (Shani), and Sterling Karat Gold, a future novel (Waidner).
The event celebrates the ongoing work of innovative LGBTQI+, Black, POC and working-class writers.
Queers Read This
is an ongoing ICA reading series presented by Richard Porter and Isabel Waidner. The events feature various texts which work across intersectional systems of oppression and challenge formal distinctions between prose and poetry or critical and creative writing. The title of the series is gratefully borrowed from an anonymously published leaflet distributed at a 1990 pride march in New York.
Sophia Al-Maria is an artist and writer living in London. Her collected writings, Sad Sack, were published by Book Works in 2019. She is contributing editor of Bidoun, and guest editor of The Happy Hypocrite – Fresh Hell, issue 8 (Book Works, 2015). In 2016, Al-Maria presented Black Friday, her first US solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and was nominated for Film London’s Jarman Award.
Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley is an artist working predominantly in animation, sound and performance to communicate their experience as a Black Trans person. Their practice focuses on recording the lives of Black Trans people, intertwining lived experience with fiction to imaginatively retell Trans stories. Spurred on by a desire to meet buried bodies like theirs, their work dreams of a Trans archive where Black Trans people could share their experiences.
Harry Burgess is a musician and writer based in South East London. He is known as the vocalist in the avant-pop band Adult Jazz, whose debut album Gist Is arrived to critical praise back in 2014. More recently, he formed the experimental duo Offer (with PC Music’s Lil Data), published a collection of poetry and prose called Toffee Hammer, and, last year, shared the solo work Live Scraps.
Richard Porter is an artist based in London. He founded Pilot Press in 2017, and his queer anthologies are available worldwide. A new annual survey of modern queer poetry practices, Modern Queer Poets, is due this Autumn. Porter is the co-curator (with Isabel Waidner) of Queers Read This.
Tai Shani’s multidisciplinary practice, comprising performance, film, photography and installation, revolves around experimental narrative texts. Her ongoing project DC: Productions (2014–19) is an experimental and expanded adaptation of Christine de Pizan’s 1405 proto-feminist text, The Book of the City of Ladies. Recent exhibitions and commissions include Turner Contemporary (2019, where Shani was a Turner Prize Winner); Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo (2019); Athens Biennial (2018); and Nottingham Contemporary (2018).
Isabel Waidner is a writer and critical theorist. We Are Made Of Diamond Stuff (2019) was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2019, and Gaudy Bauble (2017) for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2018. Waidner has published extensively in journals including AQNB, Cambridge Literary Review, The Happy Hypocrite, Tank Magazine and Tripwire. They are an academic at Roehampton University, London, and co-curator (with Richard Porter) of Queers Read This.