Highlight on WWS-Pittsburgh: An Interview with Chapter Lead, Jenny Ruth

How would you describe your city and your local literary community?

Pittsburgh is a literary destination! Historically the poster child for America’s industrial revolution, we’re reinventing ourselves through an economy with education at its core. We nurture an inordinate amount of literary ventures like reading series, literary magazines, MFA programs, indie bookstores, read & critique groups, etc… If you’re a writer looking for a writing community, you’ll find many options.

How did you hear of Women Who Submit, and why were you drawn to start a WWS chapter in your area?

I happened to see a tweet from the main WWS account in my feed in the spring of 2015 shortly after attending a writing conference in D.C. It was at this conference that I heard a panel of lit mag editors discuss gender disparities in submission rates and the VIDA Count. I immediately connected to the idea and recognized the need to support women in their submission efforts. Seeing that WWS tweet was a great example of “right place, right time.” I started tweeting at it every time I submitted work!

In spring 2016 my family moved to Pittsburgh. I asked WWS HQ to put me in touch with the Pittsburgh chapter only to discover we did not have one. Totally surprised me because PGH seemed to have everything else. So I started the chapter here. Continue reading

Highlight on WWS-Long Beach, CA: An Interview with Chapter Leads Desiree Kannel and Rachael Rifkin

How would you describe your city and your local literary community?

We like to say that Long Beach is a “little ‘big’ city.” We have a big and diverse population and lots of very different communities. In fact, LB was named one of the most diverse cities in the US according to the last census. A fact we are very proud of.

LB has a lot going on in the literary world. It isn’t hard to find a poetry reading, someone doing a book launch, or even a critique group. Independent businesses like coffee shops and book stores like to support LB writers and welcome small groups to do events such as readings or workshops. Continue reading

Highlight on WWS-NYC: An Interview with Chapter Lead, Kirsten Major

Women Who Submit: How would you describe your city and your local literary
community?

Kirsten Major: New York is a big-little city. We are 8 million in number, but the literary scene is small–everyone is about 1 person away from everyone else. Sharing air with literary giants is not uncommon. The five boroughs, plus Jersey City, plus Long Island reading scene is endless. My fantasy day job would be to be the Bill Cunningham of the literati, on my bike every night with a camera around my neck, on my way to a reading somewhere to take pictures of my world.

WWS: How did you hear of Women Who Submit, and why were you drawn to start a WWS chapter in your area?

KM: It just gets so. Darned. Hard. To keep putting yourself out there. Leland Cheuk, who wrote The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong, has written about this beautifully, persevering in the face of unstinting rejection. And also, it is mighty easy to have dedicated writing time co-opted by sending my work out if I haven’t in a while. Above all, it’s lonely. I am pretty active on Twitter so one day I put it out there, “Is there any one who knows if there are submissions parties? Is this a thing?” And someone sent me the WWS Twitter handle and I thought, that’s for me. It was absolutely key that Ashaki Jackson, co-founder, had a training session, coached me about attracting people and then worked her own NYC-based network of poets at Cave Canem,to help me get started. The national organization has supported me at every level and that keeps me going. Continue reading

Highlight on WWS-San Francisco: An Interview with Chapter Co-Lead, Dominica Phetteplace

Women Who Submit: Where does the San Francisco chapter meet?

Dominica Phetteplace: Our chapter meets every other month at Borderlands Café in the Mission District of San Francisco, which is adjacent to Borderlands Bookstore, one of my favorite independent bookstores in the world. Borderlands Bookstore specializes in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Mystery fiction. They also have a great magazine section with lots of cool literary journals for sale. I draw a lot of inspiration from this place. The café has been very supportive of our mission. They set aside tables just for us! Look for us in the back, we’re the group of hardworking women with laptops. Continue reading

Highlight on WWS-Las Vegas: An Interview with Chapter Lead, Jocelyn Paige Kelly

Women Who Submit: How would you describe your city and your local literary community?

Jocelyn Paige Kelly: Vegas is becoming a vibrant literary community. We have very supportive local bookstores that showcase local authors: The Writer’s Block and Books or Books.

There are also lots of opportunities for poets. We have three paying markets for poets: Desert Companion, Downtown Zen magazine, and Helen: A Literary Magazine. There are numerous open mics, a local slam team (Battle Born, named after the state motto), and readings that go on throughout each month. A few local groups have also started to sponsor awards and contest for local poets as well. We also have our first Clark County Poet Laureate Bruce Isaacson who does a lot to support the local poetry scene.

Continue reading