The first meeting of Women Who Submit took place in Los Angeles in 2011, following a discussion among writers and cofounders Alyss Dixson, Ashaki M. Jackson, and Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo about women’s representation in publishing. Dixson had worked with the organization VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, which—among many efforts to diversify literary publishing—compiles statistics regarding gender parity in the publishing industry. That year VIDA released the first of what would become an annual analysis of gender representation in widely distributed literary journals and periodicals. The results were striking: On average only 28 percent of the bylines in the thirteen publications that were the focus of the first study belonged to women. Representation at some publications was as low as 16 percent. Dixson and the other VIDA organizers reached out to the editors of some of the reviewed journals to ask about the editorial gatekeeping that created this inequity and how women and nonbinary writers might push back against it.
“The most common answer was that women don’t submit as often and don’t resubmit as aggressively as men,” says Bermejo. “Alyss, knowing that information, was brainstorming how we could make a difference, and she came up with this idea of a submission party.”
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We Build It Ourselves
A roundtable on race, power, and the writing workshop
Things We Lost to the Water
Eric Nguyen whose debut novel, Things We Lost to the Water, was published in May by Knopf.
THE FIELD OF STORIES
IN HER NEW MEMOIR, POET WARRIOR, PUBLISHED BY W. W. NORTON IN SEPTEMBER, U.S. POET LAUREATE JOY HARJO TRAVELS THE ROADS, RIVERS, AND RHYTHMS OF HER LIFE, TAKING READERS ON A JOURNEY ACROSS GENERATIONS AND SINGING POWERFUL LESSONS ON THE CYCLICAL NATURE OF TIME AND BECOMING.
The Other Black Girl
Zakiya Dalila Harris introduced by Maurice Carlos Ruffin
Your Career On The Line
Writers and agents discuss “The Call”
How We REMEMBER
WITH HIS FIRST NONFICTION BOOK, HOW THE WORD IS PASSED, PUBLISHED IN JUNE BY LITTLE, BROWN, POET AND SCHOLAR CLINT SMITH DELVES INTO THE LEGACY OF SLAVERY ALIVE IN MONUMENTS AND LANDMARKS WITHIN AND BEYOND THE UNITED STATES, IN AN IMMERSIVE READ THAT EXQUISITELY DEPICTS HOW A NATION AND ITS INHABITANTS REMEMBER ITS HISTORY.
Lee Lai introduced
Ehrlich Speaks to Mother-Writers
Lara Ehrlich, author of the short story collection Animal Wife (Red Hen Press, 2020), has a deep narrative investment in the ways the world denies women power and agency. In October 2020 that commitment took a new shape with the first episode of her podcast, Writer Mother Monster, a much-needed balm for those of us balancing mothering and writing in the midst of a global pandemic. Aimed at dismantling the myth that women can “have it all,” her podcast is a series of interviews with mother-writers working in all genres, at varied points in their careers, who candidly discuss the joys and complications of that dual identity. Ehrlich, herself a mother-writer—her daughter turns five this year—spoke about what she has gleaned from these exchanges and how they’ve influenced her own approach.
A Decade of Women Who Submit
For the past decade an international community of women and nonbinary writers have been working to claim space for themselves in an industry historically dominated by men. Known as Women Who Submit (WWS), the group supports and empowers its members to submit their work in spite of publishing’s inequities. Their achievements have been extraordinary: This July, the organization celebrates its tenth year, with twenty-seven chapters across the United States and Mexico, more than one hundred fifty successful book and magazine publication credits by its members in 2020, and a devoted community of writers, editors, and publishers.
Saddle Up and Read
A young reader finds an attentive audience during a July 2020 farm visit.