The Sundress Academy for the Arts is pleased to announce the guests for the May installment of our reading series– writers Mordecia Martin and Shlagha Borah, comedian Liz Brooks, and musician Redd! Join us on Sunday, May 28th at Pretentious Beer Co. from 1:00-3:00PM.
Mordecai Martin is a queer, Mad, Ashkenazi Jewish writer, an aspiring translator of Yiddish and Spanish, and a fifth generation New Yorker with ties to Philadelphia and Mexico City. In his fiction, he strives to chronicle and capture the peculiarities of voice, the miraculous nature of event, and the depths and edges of Jewish humanity. In his non-fiction he writes to explore family, history, place, and mental illness. His creative non-fiction has appeared in Catapult Magazine, Longleaf Review, Peach Magazine, Autofocus Lit, Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine and The Hypocrite Reader. His fiction has been featured in Identity Theory, Timber Journal, X-Ray Lit, Gone Lawn, Knight’s Library Magazine, Funicular, and Sortes. He blogs at mordecaimartin.net and tweets and instagrams @mordecaipmartin. He also conducts interviews for the Poetry Question.
Shlagha Borah (she/her) is a queer poet and mental health activist from Assam, India. She is the co-founder of Pink Freud, a mental health collective working to make mental health services accessible in India. She currently attends the MFA program in Poetry at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her work centers on parentification, grief, trauma and their intersection as experienced by female bodies and appears in or is forthcoming in Longleaf Review, Rogue Agent, Nonbinary Review, Ninety Seven Poems (Terribly Tiny Tales & Penguin), and elsewhere. Twitter: @shlaghaborah Instagram: @shlaghab
Comedian Liz Brooks has performed across the south East for several years, opening for names like Geoff Tate, and Kevin McDonald. Liz is also a resident and house emcee for Rhinestone Fest as well as being a regular contributor to the BRB podcast. Follow @lizthebruh for more content.
Redd is a Knoxville native and former high school English, Yearbook, and Journalism teacher. She also coached cross country and track. In 2021 Redd’s students pushed her to audition for American Idol, and she placed Top 40. She is now working alongside Gavin, Katie, and Colleen to make music her full time gig.
This event is brought to you in part by a grant provided by the Tennessee Arts Commission. Find out about the important work they do here.
Our community partner for May is the Tennessee Equality Project. The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) advocates for the equal rights of LGBTQ people in Tennessee. TEP do this through legislative advocacy– meaning they lobby the Tennessee General Assembly and local governments around the state. When there is an important federal issue, like anti-LGBTQ adoption issue language in legislation, TEP helps make your voice heard with your federal officials.
The TEP Foundation provides a variety of educational and organizing programming. They have registered 353 voters online since October 2017. TEP provides workshops called Advocacy 101 across the state so that more people can engage their elected officials. They monitor and analyze state legislation related to the LGBTQ community, gather stories about the impact of state preemption of local government and provide public education on the issue, and hold Boro Pride in Murfreesboro annually, which now attracts over 4000 participants. Their Tennessee Open For Business program recognizes companies that do not discriminate against their employees or customers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Learn more about the work the Tennessee Equality Project does here!