Writing In Color 2022 Retreat Preview: Q&A with Brian Byrdsong

Brian Byrdsong The Queerest Touch

Editor's Note: In advance of the 2022 Writing In Color Retreat, we've asked some faculty and presenters for a preview of their workshop style, what they're reading, and more.

What books/movies/tv-shows have fired you up lately?

So many! I am all about social commentary in media and art. I recently finished watching Atlanta (executive produced by Donald Glover), which is just a brilliant piece of television. I have also been enthralled by The Boys (on Amazon Prime), while the social commentary and satire of American society at-large is obvious, I find it fascinating to explore the implications of the fantastic becoming real. As far as books Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica and The Others by Sarah Blau have recently challenged my philosophies about life, the future, and what it means to be human.

What are you working/currently trying to work on these days?

I’ve got two novels I’m writing right now, one of which is really challenging me personally and my conception of family and familial relationships. The first of the novels explores the concepts of life in a society in which humanity is not present. The second explores the ideas of intergenerational trauma, and family connections both of which are prescient in my life right now.

Tell us about your book.

The Queerest Touch was borne out of a need to see representation which was not connected to trauma from LGBTQ oppression and/or racism. It is a collection of ten short stories with all queer protagonists who simply exist, and though awful and weird things happen in the book, I wanted to read about queer characters in situations where persecution for their queerness was not the focus. It is a book where some of the strangest things you could imagine happen and the characters’ worlds fundamentally change, all in the greater context of an interconnected story.

Are we living in a simulation or not?

Such a fun question to consider! Short answer, I don’t believe so. Long answer, I’m not sure if it matters. The world is only as real as you perceive it to be, thus if you feel that the things that happen in our universe have a non-negligible effect on you and that they are real, then they are real, if not, then perhaps everything is all a simulation, and nothing matters anyway, so why not enjoy it as much as you can.


Brian Byrdsong will be doing a book launch event on Thursday, August 4th at 6:30 pm.