With only three days left in 2017, it’s time to look back over the past year and take stock of how far we’ve come. It’s been a banner year for Women Who Submit, and we are excited about the year ahead. If 2017 is any indicator, 2018 is going to be a productive, shimmering year.
This year, Women Who Submit added chapters in three cities. Welcome, Westside Los Angeles, San Antonio and Women & Non-Binary Writers Who Submit- Houston!
We also were awarded our first grant! WWS will use funding from the Center for Cultural Innovation for accessible public programming and submission parties during 2018 to conclude with the publication of a WWS anthology celebrating a year of submissions and acceptances to be released in early 2019 in partnership with Jamii Publishing, an Inland Empire indie press focused on fostering community and celebrating women writers of color.
Many WWS members and organizers participated in Writ Large Press’s 90×90, a groundbreaking cultural and literary festival of 90 events in 90 days, aiming to “celebrate, investigate and activate” with readings, music, performances, and conversations. WWS hosted our August Submission Party and Orientation at Cielo Galleries as part of 90×90, and presented our Submission Strategies workshop.
For the third year in a row, WWS participated in Lit Crawl. Following up on our previous year’s Lit Crawl events of Hitting Send and The Rejection Game, we presented Accepted, which celebrated the work that WWS members had submitted during submission parties and for which they got publication acceptance.
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo wrote Ten Kind Suggestions for Being a Literary Citizen, which Entropy chose as one of their favorite nonfiction pieces of 2017.
Ramona Pilar wrote The Power of No, reminding all of us writers to listen to our inner voices and draw the boundaries that protect our work and our hearts.
Just like in previous years, WWS was out in full force at AWP in Washington, D.C. Our members presented on 12 panels, 11 readings, and 4 book signings!
Many of our members and organizers attended the Latino Arts Network first Gathering of Latina Writers at Plaza de la Raza.
We were also active on panels and readings at the L.A. Times Festival of Books in April.
We hosted our annual Submission Blitz both online and locally in Los Angeles.
Individually, we each had a memorable year. Here, some of our members and organizers share what they are proud of from 2017:
Tisha Reichle: I FINALLY submitted my novel to the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. And I started a PhD program. Two dreams in progress!
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo: I think I’m most proud of being able to travel with my book and present at universities and talk to young poets and writers, especially writers of color, and encourage them to celebrate where they come from, their homes, their languages, their families. That’s been HUGE.
Second to that, I’m proud of being selected as the first Poet in the Parks by Poetry Foundation and National Parks Arts Foundation, hanging in Gettysburg and starting a new poetry project on what makes an American hero.
Mahin Ibrahim: I would say getting published after my 40+ rejections, thx to the women I met through WWS! I joined WWS this year.
Anita Gill: For me it’s two things: being nominated for an AWP Intro Award through my MFA program and getting into a writing residency at Vermont Studio Center come next year.
Noriko Nakada: Being short-listed for the 2040 prize with Through Eyes Like Mine was a big one for me. Oh, and the milestone of 100 passes! Woo hoo!
Lisbeth Coiman: I’m very proud of my self-published debut memoir, I Asked the Blue Heron. It took all I had financially and emotionally to put out, but I did. After so many years, I finally let my story go into the world.
Carla Sameth: Very proud of getting a story out in the magazine, Brain, Teen and two others in anthologies, getting two poetry scholarship/fellowships and just pushing ahead in my writing, in spite of rejections and life’s challenges.
Danielle Moody: In the past year (thanks in large part to WWS submission meetings) I’ve submitted more work than in the previous 15 years of my writing life.
Melissa Chadburn: This is so great, seems like every year in review I could only see what I have not yet accomplished but this year I have some things to be proud of. I got my first big contract with a print magazine doing an investigative piece on a topic that is very close to my heart and mind, it’s the type of journalism I’ve always wanted to pursue and with a few false starts I finally got both a grant and a magazine to agree to publish.
Also, I spent a lot of time digging through LMU’s archives while researching for an article. One day I called my Beloved and said, “this campus is beautiful and one day I’m going to teach here.” Sure enough just before this year ended I got a contract to teach two classes at LMU.
Elline Lipkin: I’d say a handful of poems published, but most proud of making it up through the slush pile and into Calyx this year — a journal I’ve always admired. Plus, did a one-month poetry Daily Grind and submitted my manuscript to two contests this fall. I know it’s not ready, but committing to send it out got me closer to getting it into shape at long last. And getting/doing the CA Writing Residency through Yefe Nof!
LiYun Alvarado: I planned and executed a book party for my chapbook collection “Words or Water” – which felt huge for this first time mom whose little one was born 10 days after the book arrived and who was almost 9 months old for the book party
Kate Maruyama: I’m proud I got through the roughest year of my life, but still managed to finish a rewrite on a novel which is now out to editors. I’m also proud I was able to help Writ Large Press’s 90x90LA in small ways with a number of events, (and grateful as it kept me moving forward and because it was a beautiful thing to witness.)
Arielle Silver: What I’m most proud of is keeping my nose to the grindstone since 2014, and then giving myself complete permission to rest all sense of ambition and drive when, around Halloween, the grindstone let up. I haven’t run from the exhaustion. I haven’t chastised myself. I’ve missed emails. I may have disappointed some. I have flipped aimlessly through books, sat and watched movies with the kids, and gotten enough sleep every night. Right now, that is what I am most proud of.
JE Lee: 1) submitted my first manuscript of poems “Not My White Savior” (pub. date March 2018); 2) accepted to Las Dos Brujas Writer’s Workshops which i learned about through Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo (thank you SO much!!!!!); 3) hosted a poetry reading of adopted POC during #90X90LA which has launched into a writing workshop
Deborah Edler Brown: This has been a hard year with a lot of losses. But one of the things I am proud of is finally joining WWS. Even though I’ve only come to two meetings, they reminded me that I am so much more than someone’s teacher and put the words “writing career” back into my vocabulary in a way they have not been since I left journalism. I am also proud of the quiet way my pieces are calling to one another, asking to be books. Thank you all for holding this space and writing new horizons. I hope to have more to share next year.
Barbara Berg: Proud to have two poems in Gayle Brandeis‘s lady/liberty/lit and to have finally met her! Also glad to be part of WWS LA and WWS West LA and two other writing groups that keep me writing and submitting.
Désirée Zamorano: Proud of being invited this year to so many venues, including the Pomegranate reading series [hosted by WWS organizer Lauren Eggert-Crowe]. Also happy about an essay in Catapult, a short story in Taste, and a short story out in a collection that’s gotten national attention. Really happy to be part of a writing group that’s inspiring and motivating.
Rachael Warecki: Getting into Ragdale, winning the Tiferet Prize for Fiction, and querying my novel — all submitted while at WWS parties!
Lauren Eggert-Crowe: I published two essays that had been in my head for years. I hosted a release party for my fourth chapbook, Bitches of the Drought, and I was proud to feature WWS members and friends Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Ramona Pilar, Kate Durbin and Siel Ju alongside me. The chapbook sales raised $450 for Planned Parenthood, SisterSong, and the Coalition of Humane Immigrant Rights. I also applied to Hedgebrook!
Ramona Pilar: Proud of? Not giving up. Continually finding ways to find a new way. Getting closer to a sense of voice.
Jamie Moore: I’m most proud of taking the risks of getting my work out there, even when the larger project is still in progress. I’m proud of taking advice, and submitting to Hedgebrook and the Nervous Breakdown. I’m proud of helping support a group of women writers in Fresno! I’m proud of my friends for leading the way!
Congratulations, writers! Looking forward to rocking 2018 with all of you.