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Words Without Borders x Foglifter: An Evening of International Queer Writing

June 10, 2021 8:00 pm


Words Without Borders and Foglifter invite you to attend a multilingual reading celebrating queer authors and literature. Our dynamic lineup includes writer Kanika Agrawal (India); author Li Kotomi (Taiwan) and translator Natascha Bruce (UK); author Javier Stanziola (Panama) and translator Alexander Aguayo (US); writer Olivia Coetzee (South Africa); translator Sean Gasper Bye (US); and writer and performance artist Fargo Tbakhi (Palestine/US). The readings will be followed by a Q&A session. This virtual event is free and open to the public but we will be raising funds for Foglifter—donations are welcome upon registering and during the event.

Please note that this event requires advance registration. Upon registering, you will be signed up to receive a Zoom link thirty minutes prior to the event’s start time. Register now.

Event details:
Date: Thursday, June 10, 2021 at 8pm EST / 5pm PST

Tickets: This event is virtual and free. Donations for Foglifter are encouraged. 

**All donations made on this event page will be transferred to Foglifter by June 25, 2021.
Accessibility: There will be closed-captioning for the English portion of the event and an accessibility packet will be available. We will also have live ASL interpretation during the event.


Additional information about the organizations and readers:
Rooted in the San Francisco Bay Area, Foglifter is a platform for LGBTQ+ writers that supports and uplifts powerful, intersectional, and transgressive queer and trans writing through publication and public readings to build and enrich our communities as well as the greater literary arts.

Words Without Borders expands cultural understanding through the translation, publication, and promotion of vital international voices in literature.

Kanika Agrawal is an Indian writer and a diasporic hybrid developed across six countries on four continents. As an (im)migrant and former scientist-in-training, she works between and across languages, geographies, and disciplines. She received a BS in Biology and a BS in Writing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She then earned an MFA in Writing from Columbia University and a PhD in English and Literary Arts from the University of Denver, and she taught academic and creative writing at both institutions. She has also taught writing at elementary and high schools and at shelters for people experiencing homelessness, addiction, and domestic violence. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Best American Experimental Writing 2020, Black Warrior Review, filling Station, Foglifter, Notre Dame Review, SAND, and various SF&F publications. Kanika lives with her 11-year-old toy fox terrier in Denver, CO. You can also find her online at and

Alexander Aguayo is a PhD candidate in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He received his AB in Comparative Literature and a Latin American Studies certificate from Princeton University. He is currently working on a translation of Ignacio Gómez-Palacio’s works.

Natascha Bruce translates from Chinese. Her work includes Lonely Face by Yeng Pway Ngon (shortlisted for the TA First Translation Prize), Bloodline by Patigül, Lake Like a Mirror by Ho Sok Fong (shortlisted for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation), and A Classic Tragedy by Xu Xiaobin, cotranslated with Nicky Harman. Forthcoming translations include Mystery Train by Can Xue and Owlish by Dorothy Tse, for which she was awarded a 2021 PEN/Heim grant. She and Tse were among the winners of the 2019 Words Without Borders Poems in Translation Contest. 

Olivia Coetzee was born in Mariental, Namibia, and grew up in Electric City, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. She completed her high school in 1999 and began her higher education eleven years later. Olivia’s professional experience ranges from retail work to volunteering and activism. She is an alumnus of the University of the Western Cape, as well as an alumnus of the University of Cape Town, where she completed her master’s degree in Creative Writing in 2017. She plans to continue her academic career, working on PhD research around the history of Kaaps, and hopes that her work adds to the growing volume of Kaaps literature. Olivia’s writing, available on Litnet, ranges from poetry, opinion pieces, and translation. Olivia made her writing debut with her 2019 novel Innie Shadows, which she is currently translating from Kaaps into English. Her work is available for reading and sharing on You can follow her at

Sean Gasper Bye's recent translations of Polish literature include Ellis Island: A People's History by Małgorzata Szejnert and The King of Warsaw by Szczepan Twardoch, which has been shortlisted for the EBRD Literary Prize. He lives in Philadelphia.

Li Kotomi was born in Taiwan in 1989. She writes in and translates between Chinese and Japanese. Since 2013, she has been living in Japan. In 2017, her debut novel in Japanese, Solo Dance, won the 60th Gunzo New Writers' Award for Excellence. In 2019, her novella, Count to Five and the Crescent Moon, was shortlisted for the 161st prestigious Akutagawa Prize and the 2019 Noma Literary New Writer's Award. Her recent novels include Polaris, Moon and Starlight Night, & Island Where the Equinox Flower Blooms (forthcoming in June). Polaris is the winner of the 2021 Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts and Island Where the Equinox Flower Blooms was shortlisted for the Mishima Yukio Prize. Visit her website at

Javier Stanziola  is a writer, university professor, and researcher. He has received the highest National Literary Award in his country for three of his plays—De mangos y albaricoques (1996), Solsticio de invierno (2002), Hablemos de lo que no hemos vivido (2008)—and for his novel, Hombres enlodados (2012). His most recent plays, Cristo Quijote Tratado (2017) and RE:Versiones (2019), merge historical research with a distinct Panamanian queer performance style. He writes short stories for one of the largest newspapers in Panama, La Estrella de Panama, and for the Central American cultural magazine (Casi) Literal.

Fargo Tbakhi is a queer Palestinian American writer and performance artist. His writing can be found in Strange Horizons, Apex Magazine, The Shallow Ends, Mizna, Peach Mag, and elsewhere. His performance work has been programmed at OUTsider Fest, INTER-SECTION Solo Fest, and elsewhere. Find his work at

Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

**All donations make at registration and during the event will be transferred directly to Foglifter by June 25, 2021.

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