Women Who Submit at AWP

For those planning to attend AWP 2016 this week in Los Angeles, we do not doubt slogging through the list of scheduled events and managing the deluge of invites is making you short of breath. To help, we’ve created a cheat sheet of panels, readings, awards ceremonies, and cocktail parties where you can find the bright, shining women of Women Who Submit. And if our list doesn’t have a calming effect, there is always Lauren Eggert-Crowe’s piece, “How to Do AWP,” posted last week on the blog, for tips on self-care and success while getting your conference on.

So take a breath and dive in to the many wonders and amazements we have in store for you, and be sure to stop by booth #1504 to say hello and catch a glimpse of “The Amazing Submitting Woman.”

Monday March 28, 2016

The Instant. at 8pm (Not technically AWP, but a good warm up because… soup)
Ham & Eggs Tavern: 433 W 8th St, Los Angeles, California 90014
A monthly reading series that serves up local and visiting literary contributors, unique live music/performance and everyone’s favorite go-to food in a cup, Instant Ramen. Featuring Vickie Vertiz, Jervey Tervalon, Jade Chang, Jesse Bliss, & Toni Ann Johnson.

Wednesday March 30, 2016

Hello Los Angeles: An AWP Kickoff Party at 4pm-6pm
barcito: 403 W 12th St, Los Angeles, California 90015
An L.A. literary cocktail party benefitting 826LA with Special Guests Luis Alberto Urrea, Michael White, Robin Black, Desiree Cooper, Fabienne Josaphat, Bethanne Patrick, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Teka Lark and Dan Smetanka.

AWP Offsite: Coiled Serpent Publication Reading with Luis Rodriguez at 6pm-11pm
Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles: 929 S Broadway, Los Angeles, California 90015
Beyond Baroque Books and Tia Chucha Press present a publication reading for Coiled Serpent: Poets arising from the cultural quakes and shifts of Los Angeles edited by Luis J Rodriguez, Neelanjana Banerjee, Daniel A. Olivas, and Ruben J. Rodriguez. Featured readers include Don Campbell, Marisa Urrutia Gedney, Yago S. Cura, Jessica Ceballos, traci kato-kiriyama, William Archila, Sophie Rivera, Trini Rodriguez, Terry Wolverton, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo and more!

Shipwreck Presents: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, a Literary Erotic Fanfiction Competition at 7pm
Bootleg Theater: 2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90057
Shipwreck, the San Francisco-based literary erotic fanfiction competition, is coming to LA for the first time, and we’re taking on Sherlock—yep, the whole f*cking canon with featured writers: Carmiel Banasky, Nina Bargiel, Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Nate Waggonner, Zoë Ruiz, and Matt Young.

AWP16 Offsite Event: “IX LIVES” Launch Hosted by Exposition Review at 7pm
Hennessey + Ingalls Bookstore: 300 S Santa Fe Ave, Ste M, Los Angeles, California 90013
Come kick off #AWP16 with the editors of Exposition Review as we celebrate the launch of our new volume “IX Lives”!

Thursday March 31, 2016

From the Drudges: Sustaining a Writing Life from Outside of Academia at 12pm-1:15pm
LA Convention Center, Room 408 A, Meeting Room Level
The lion’s share of prizes, grants, fellowships, and accolades originates in academia and is awarded to academics. Does this mean we have to teach in order to sustain a writing life? Five panelists discuss how a meaningful and successful writing career can be established and sustained from outside of the university cycle. Moderated by Jen Fitzgerald with panelists Rodrigo Toscano, Alyss Dixson, and Ashaki M. Jackson.

From New Wave to Punk: Musical Influences on Latino Literary Aesthetics at 1:30 pm to 2:45 pm
Room 505, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
From all corners of Los Angeles and across this country, punk and New Wave music have influenced Latino writers for decades. This multigenre panel is equal parts reading, discussion, and listening party with special guest Michelle Gonzales author of The SpitBoy Rules, Daniel Chacon, Carribean Fragoza, musicologist Marlen Rios, and Vickie Vertiz.

Mistaking Planes for Stars: Writing from Los Angeles Flight Paths and Freeways at 3pm-4:15pm
AWP Conference, Room 410, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Working-class writing in Los Angeles has a long-standing tradition, from Bukowski to Viramontes. This read-ing highlights cutting-edge poetry, story, and performance by working-class and queer Latinos from southeast Los Angeles with with Steve Gutierrez, Melinda Palacio, Aida Salazar, and Vickie Vertiz.

Does America Still Dream? Depictions of Class, Poverty, and Social Im/mobility in Literature at 3pm-4:15pm
Rm 503, L.A. Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
Authors writing across genre and form hold an interracial conversation about rendering American class and poverty on the page. Moderated by LA-based writer and educator Dawn Dorland, featuring Jodi Angel, Teka-Lark Fleming, Jaquira Díaz & Melissa Chadburn.

Never on Your Own: Creating Community When Writing Is Done at 4:30pm-5:45pm
Gold Salon 1, JW Marriott LA, 1st Floor
Members of Booklift, Los Norteños, Seattle 7 Writers, the Shipping Group, and Women Who Submit—groups that focus on promotion, networking, and sending work out—share strategies on how to start and run such a group, how to partner with local bookstores and writing centers, and how to foster community both online and offline. Moderated by Waverly Fitzgerald with panelists Kathleen Alcalá, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Josephine Ensign, and Kelli Russell Agodon.

Incarcerated Juvenile? Veteran? Senior? Teaching and Reaching the Writer Hidden Within the Underserved at 4:30pm-5:45pm
Diamond Salon 6&7, JW Marriott LA, 3rd Floor
Five veteran teachers of the underserved discuss strategies and best practices to bring the power of writing into the lives of those often discounted in our culture. Panelists discuss the challenges and rewards of working in unusual classrooms and delve into how to best engage unique populations. Moderated by Monona Wali with panelists Robert Fox, Esché Jackson, Ashaki M. Jackson and Leslie Diane Poston.

La Pachanga 2016! at 5:30pm-8:30pm
Avenue 50 Studio: 131 N Avenue 50, Los Angeles, California 90042
An award ceremony & celebration honoring Francisco X. Alarcón, RIP, Juan Felipe Herrera, Lucha Corpi, Luis Javier Rodríguez, Odilia Galván Rodríguez as well as celebrating the release of the new anthology Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice (University of Arizona Press).

The Lulus at 5:30pm-7:30pm
The Palm Restaurant: 1100 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Lulu will present its first annual awards, the Lulus, in recognition of writers and organizations who actively support racial, gender and class justice. Honorees include Garth Greenwell, Saeed Jones, and Wendy C. Ortiz.
$10 per ticket

Word of Mouth offsite reading AWP 2016 at 6pm
Casey’s Irish Pub: 613 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, California 90017
Featuring David James Poissant, Tammy Delatorre, Tom Hunley Ron Salutsky, Leona Sevick, Tania Runyan, Susan Browne, Scott T. Starbuck, Martha Silano, Dave Essinger, CC Perry, Cindy Rinne, Brendan Kiely, and Tom Bligh.

Best of the West Reading at Villains Tavern at 6pm
Villains Tavern: 1356 Palmetto St, Los Angeles, California 90013
Join The Los Angeles Review, Pacifica Literary Review, and CutBank for a Best of the West Reading at Villains Tavern in the LA Arts District featuring Siel Ju, Madgalawit Makonnen, Jeff Walt, William Camponovo, Corinne Manning, Catherine Pond, Daniel Riddle Rodriguez, and Caleb Tankersley.

Best of the Net / Political Punch / Sundress / Agape Reading at 7pm-10pm
The Lexington: 129 E 3rd St, Los Angeles, California 90013
Join Sundress Publications for a night of three celebratory readings for our new poetry anthology, Political Punch, the 10 year anniversary of the Best of the Net Anthology, and Sundress’s Sweet 16 with readings by Timothy Liu, Cam Awkward-Rich, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Chen Chen, Traci Brimhall, Matt Hart, Emily Jungmin Yoon, Alix Olin, Nicole Walker, Sarah Einstein, Fox Frazier-Foley, Amorak Huey, Letitia Trent, Jill Khoury, Saba Syed Razvi, Jessica Rae Bergamino, and M. Mack!

Friday April 1, 2016

The Flash Sequence: A Reading and Discussion at 9am-10:15am
LA Convention Center, Room 406 AB, LA Convention Center, Meeting Room Level
For 20 years, the Marie Alexander Series has published hybrid work: prose poems, flash fiction, lyric essays, and books that mix all three and defy categorization. For our 20th anniversary, we decided to publish an anthology of flash sequences—that is, pieces comprising short prose segments.Each participant will read and discuss his or her contribution to the anthology. Moderator, Debra Marquart with panelists, Irena Praitis, Siel Ju, Jenn Koiter, and Sonia Greenfield.

Through the Closet: Writing Human Complexity in Queer Characters at 10:30am
Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 404 AB, Meeting Room Level
The typical “coming out of the closet” narrative is a fantasy of a starkly contrasted before-and-after, of complete disclosure and consequence. Through the lens of their works of fiction, the panelists discuss the limitations of this oversimplified account of the queer experience and explore their varying approaches in writing queer characters in all of their human nuances and differences across genres and time periods. Moderator, Catie Disabato with panelists Thomas McBee, Marcos L. Martinez, Seth Fischer, and Kate Maruyama.

“Once, I Was That Girl”: Creative Writing Pedagogy for Tween and Teen Girls. at 10:30am
LA Convention Center, Room 505, Meeting Room Level
“Empowering girls” has become a catchphrase that can be relatively meaningless. Yet, single-sex environments have been proven to be productive spaces in which creativity is nurtured and young writers can grow. Four educators and writers who have founded organizations that serve tween and teen girls speak to the practical challenges and the reverberations of success they have witnessed while mentoring girls, as well as the inspiration this has brought to their own creative work. With panelists Elline Lipkin, Allison Deegan, Nancy Gruver, Margaret Stohl, and Marlys West.

Book signing of The Amado Women by Désirée Zamorano at 2pm-3pm
Bindercon table, exhibit space #1936

¡Chicana! Power! A Firme Tejana-Califas Reading at 3pm-4:15pm
LA Convention Center, Room 410, Meeting Room Level
With a brown fist in the air, chanting “¡Sí Se Puede!” these mujeres bring la palabra. This is a reading by fierce Chicana poets stemming from Texas and Califas. Moderated by Dr. Guadalupe Garcia Montano with panelists Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Anel I. Flores, Emmy Pérez, and Laurie Ann Guerrero.

Poetas in ONE-derland (An AWP offsite reading) at 7pm
Self Help Graphics & Art: 1300 E 1st St, Los Angeles, California 90033
A Poetry evening featuring eastside and east coast sisters of the
historical Nuyorican Poets Cafe featuring Cynthia Guardado, Ashaki M. Jackson, reina alejandra prado saldivar, Peggy Robles-Alvarado, Maria Rodriguez-Morales, and Vickie Vértiz.

AWP 2016 Offsite: The Rumpus and Rare Bird Present PICK YOUR POISON at 7pm-9pm
Lethal Amounts: 1226 W 7th St, Los Angeles, California 90017
The Rumpus and Rare Bird proudly present PICK YOUR POISON, an AWP 2016 offsite event. With readings from Cornelius Eady, Rich Ferguson, Ashley C. Ford, Erika Krouse, Anna March, and J. Ryan Stradal! Hosted by Antonia Crane!

AWP Offsite: Kundiman & Kaya Present LITERAOKE at 8:30pm-11pm
Kapistahan: 1925 W Temple St, Ste 103, Los Angeles, California 90026
Come out and get down with Kaya Press & Kundiman at our AWP offsite event as we combine readings and Karaoke into a never-before-attempted experiment of entertainment and enlightenment! Features include Vidhu Aggarwal, Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Sam Chanse, Leticia Hernandez, Ashaki M. Jackson, Janine Joseph, Teka Lark, Sueyeun Juliette Lee, Ed Lin, R. Zamora Linmark, Kenji Liu, Rajiv Mohabir, Angela Peñarendondo, and more!

VIDA Dance-a-Thon at AWP at 10pm-2am
Ace Hotel Los Angeles: 929 S Broadway, Los Angeles, California 90015
Don’t worry, it’s not a competition, we just want to have a good time! Come party with VIDA at our AWP offsite event, and support another year of amplifying women’s voices with features Charlie Jane Anders, Sheila Black, Wendy C. Ortiz, Gregory Pardlo, Christopher Soto (aka Loma), Michelle Tea.

Saturday April 2, 2016

The 3rd Annual Rock and Roll Reading at 4 PM – 7:30 PM
The Echoplex: 1822 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90026
Rapid-fire readings followed by live music from Frances Gumm featuring Alice Bolin, Stephen Burt, Melissa Chadburn, Jerry Gabriell, Eleanor Henderson, Micah Ling, Nate Marshall, Adrian Matejka, Emily Nemens, Elena Passarello, Jim Ruland, Ethan Rutherford, Amy Scharmann, Amy Silverberg.

AWP: Thanks for Visiting! at 6pm-8pm
Espacio 1839: 1839 E 1st St, Los Angeles, California 90033
Los Angeles Poet Society and The Writers Underground present a showcase of Los Angeles Poets that bring it! With: Iris De Anda, Jessica M. Wilson, Jeffery Martin, Gloria E. Alvarez with Musical accompaniment from Greg Hernandez, Steve Abee, and Cynthia Guardado.

FLORICANTOS UNCOILED: Afterdark Whispers of Passion at 10pm-1:30am
Medford Street Studios: Los Angeles, California 90033
An late night reading co-hosted by Las Lunas Locas with Karineh Mahdessian and Sophia Rivera celebrating POETRY OF RESISTANCE: VOICES FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE, published by the University of Arizona press and co-edited by Francisco X. Alarcón (RIP: Rest in Poetry) and Odilia Galván Rodríguez and COILED SERPENT: POETS ARISING FROM THE CULTURAL QUAKES & SHIFTS OF LOS ANGELES, published by Tia Chucha Press.

For those not attending AWP 2016 or looking to take a break from the Los Angeles Convention Center, be sure to attend a panel or two at THE REJECTED, an alternative mini-convention brought to you by Lauren Traetto, Writ Large Press, and CIELO featuring panels and speakers rejected by “stupid ass AWP16 for no damn good reason.”


March Submission Deadlines: 20 under $20

By Lisbeth Coiman

As part of our ongoing effort to encourage women to submit to top tier literary journals, Women Who Submit has put together a monthly submission call round up, hoping women writers find it useful and come back to it again and again. For our first list, we have included 19 publications with under $20 submission fees, and one publication with a slightly higher fee.


  1. The Indiana Review

Reading Period: Opening date not listed – March 10

Submission guidelines

What They Like:  They’ve received a ton of stories about cancer, so he could do without seeing any of those for a while and would prefer to see stuff that’s “different.”

  1. James Franco Review

Deadline: March 31

Submission guidelines

Genre: Poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction

Rotating Editors

Blind reading

  1. The Masters Review

Reading Period: January 15 – March 31

Submission guidelines

What They Like: Emerging fiction from new writers. They run year-round New Voices online editions and additional contests judged by the magazine editors and other writers.

  1. The Cincinnati Review

Reading Period: August 15 – April 16

Submission guidelines

What They Like: Realistic fiction, some humorous pieces
Responses: One submission, one form rejection

  1. Room Magazine

Deadline: for issue 39.4 : April 30

Submission guidelines.

Cost: $0

Featured: Sookfong Lee and Betsy Warland

Editor: Chelene Knight

Canadian publication. Recommended to read a couple of issues to get the feel of what they publish @ www.roommagazine.com/magazine. They are interested in poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction by women. They pay from CA$ 50 up to CA$120 depending on the number of pages. They accept one submission per genre per quarter and publish 80 to 100 pieces from a 2000 submissions slush pile.

  1. The Sun Magazine

Deadline: Open Call

Submission guidelines

Cost: $5

Hardcopy submissions only sent to

Editorial Department
The Sun
107 N. Roberson St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

They publish personal essays although they also accept interviews, fiction and poetry. Your immaculate personal essay competes against thousands of other great essays in the slush pile every month. They take up to six months to reply. The nicely printed rejection letters make for a good keepsake too. They pay from $100-200 for poetry up to $2000 for interviews. SASE required.

It is highly recommended to read at least a couple of issues to get a feel for the magazine content and what the editors expect.

  1. Arcadia Magazine 

Deadline: Open Call

Submission guidelines

Cost: $3

Genre: Fiction, Poetry, Non-fiction, drama, and blog

Query before submitting. Online submission only.

  1. Red Light Lit

Deadline: Open Call

Submission guidelines

Genre: Poetry, prose, and art for events and for the magazine.

Editor: Jennifer Lewis

Submit to: Jennifer@redlight.com also

Oakland based reading series and quarterly journal since 2013 publishes emerging writers and artists who delve in the senses with sophistication, humor, and wit.

                  Short Fiction Only

  1. The Paris Review

Reading Period: All year, but do not accept more than four submissions per year

Submission guidelines
What They Like: They seem a fair bit eclectic

10. The Atlantic

Reading Period: All year

Submission guidelines
What They Like: I’ve seen a little bit of everything, but they seem to prefer realism

11. The New Yorker

Reading Period: All year

Submission Guidelines: http://www.newyorker.com/about/contact
What They Like: I’ve seen a little bit of everything, from realism to magical realism to a few other types of fiction, but not too much “genre”
Responses; If you haven’t heard from them within three months, you’re just supposed to assume you’re rejected

  1. Glimmer Train

Reading Period: Open year-round, but with general submissions in January, May, and September

Submission guidelines

What They Like: Rural stories, coming-of-age stories

  1. The Mid-American Review

Reading Period: Open year-round

Submission guidelines

What They Like: I’ve read everything from the fantastical to the dystopic to the realistic to the WTF-how-did-this-get-published, so they seem rather eclectic

  1. The Missouri Review

Reading Period: Open year-round, as far as I can tell, but don’t quote me on that 

Submission guidelines

What They Like: I haven’t been overly impressed with what I’ve read, but they seem to like realistic, rural, small-scale stories 


  1. Tayen Lane Publishing

First Annual Articulated Press Short Story Anthology

Deadline: March 31

Cost: $0

Submission guidelines

Editors: Nora Boxer and Kelly Luce

Submit to

Chosen contributors receive $100, publication, and two hardcovers, two softcovers, and an eBook edition.

Procyon Science Fiction Anthology

Deadline: March 31

Cost: $0

Editor: Jeanne Thornton

Chosen contributors receive $100, publication, and two hardcovers, two softcovers, and an eBook edition.

Submit to

  1. Ideate Publishing

Where is My Tiara? Anthology

Deadline: March 31

Genre: Short fiction

Theme: Stories that feature multilayered female protagonist that illuminate and celebrate the many facets and complexities of being a woman

Submit to

Selected stories will receive a copy of the anthology and a stipend of $100.00

  1. Masters Review

Anthology Volume V

Deadline: March 31

Submission guidelines

Cost: $20

Genre: Fiction, literary non-fiction (7000 words)

Prize: $500

This yearly anthology is composed of 10 stories by emergent writers. Last year, the Masters Review won the Silver Medal for Best Short Story Collection through the INDIEFAB Awards. (Among the past judges: Lauren Groff and Lev Grossman; current judge is Amy Hempel.)


  1. James Jones Fellowship Contest

Deadline: March 15, 2016
Submission guidelines

Cost: $33

Genre: Fiction (novels) only.


  1. $10,000
  2. $1,000 x 2

Submit to: James Jones First Novel Fellowship

c/o M.A./M.F.A. in Creative Writing

Wilkes University

84 West South St.

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766

Our most expensive publication on the list. This contest is seeking emergent fiction writers who have yet to publish a novel. The award honors the cultural and social values exemplified by late James Jones, author of From Here to Eternity. Contestants can’t have previously published novels, but are eligible with published short fiction and non-fiction work.

  1. Writers Community of Simcoe County

Word by Word – WCSC Short Fiction Contest

Deadline: March 31

Submission guidelines

Cost:       CAN$15


Judge: Literary Agent, Hilary McMahon of Westwood Creative Artists

Award:  Publication on WCSC website and

  1. $500 and commentary by Ms. McMahon
  2. $250
  3. $100
  1. Solstice, A Magazine of Diverse Voices

Solstice is a tri-quarterly magazine, with a response time of two to four months. It publishes fiction, non-fiction (essays and memoirs), poetry, and photography. It publishes both emergent and established writers of diverse backgrounds.

Solstice Annual Literary Contest

Deadline: April 20, 2016

Submission guidelines

Cost: $18

$500 Stephen Dunn Prize in Poetry

Judge: Richard Blanco

$1000 Fiction Prize

Judge: Celeste Ng. 

$500 Non-Fiction Prize

Judge: Michael Steinberg

Winners will be published in the Summer Award Issue in early August.

This is all for now. Hope to see you back next month, when we will try to compile another list of journals with plenty of details to help you plan and budget your submissions.

Headshot 2Lisbeth Coiman is a bilingual writer standing (unbalanced) on a blurred line between fiction and memoir. She has wandered the immigration path from Venezuela to Canada, to the US, and now lives in Oakland. Her upcoming memoir The Shattered Mirror celebrates friendship among women and draws attention on child abuse and mental illness. She also writes short fiction and poetry, and blogs “irregularly” at www.gingerbreadwoman.org

A WWS Publication Round Up for January

Over the last month, WWS members have been getting work published and some have won awards. Here is a brief look at what has come out this month.

From Guest Post: The Art of Low Stakes Daily Writing and How It Can Transform Your Year by Li Yun Alvarado:

I’m not brilliant, or inspired, or awake enough every day to write something meaningful, and with Low Stakes Daily Writing I don’t have to be. Each day I connect with the page. Each day I promise a few moments—however brief—to my writing. To myself.

From Melissa Chadburn’s “On Kitchens of the Great Midwest: Why We Read Books” published at LA Review of Books

Kitchens of the Great Midwest transported me to a place I longed for. A place that was warm. The protagonist Eva Thorvald had so much of what I was lacking. She was tall. So to me she had a backbone. A backbone and a discerning palate. We’re talking about a palate that lusted for heirloom tomatoes at three-and-a-half months old.

From “Melissa Chadburn interviews Carmiel Banasky” published at LA Review of Books:

This is a side people don’t get to see of women too often. Women who don’t merge or women who merge and then don’t. Women who are fickle in love.

Or women who love each other so much they think they are in love, or vice versa — who say they are in love, but it turns out to be just a beautiful, if sexless, affection. (I think we see portrayals of that dynamic between heterosexual duos on TV and whatnot, but not between female friends.)

One of my closest female friends and I certainly have had some sexual tension — but I think this is an extension or offshoot of a really lasting, big love for each other.

From “MUSLIMS DIDN’T INVENT TERRORISM” by Lisbeth Coiman published at Hip Mama:

Muslims didn’t invent terrorism
It has always existed since
Humanity created gods. No
Muslims didn’t create fear today
But we want to believe it’s true

From “HOW ON EARTH COULD YOU RAISE A KID IN LA?” by Ryane Nicole Granados published at Forth:

When they hear car speakers blasting so loud that their tiny feet and swaying car seats move in a musical jamboree, I hear a radio rewind of the Watts Prophets, West Coast Hip Hop, G-funk and that wanna-be-b-girl in me. Friday nights at the Good Life Café, schoolgirl crushes cemented by a Fatburger and a meticulously made mix-tape.

Congratulations to Tammy Delatorre for the  winning Slipper Elm’s 2015 Prose Prize for her essay, “Driving Lessons,” which can be read in the latest edition out this month!

Congratulations to Siel Ju whose manuscript “Cake Time” won the Red Hen Press Fiction Manuscript Award!


The Fabulous 40: Sister Journals to Read, Support, and Submit to in 2016

by Tisha Marie Reichle

NPG x126136; Jackie Collins; Joan Collins by Terry O'Neill

by Terry O’Neill, bromide fibre print, 1970s

When setting your reading and writing goals for 2016, consider the work being done by other women writers and editors – people like you! Think about subscribing to one or more of the journals listed below. Make a conscious effort to read print and online journals edited/curated by women writers. Submit your work regularly to the journals and magazines that address themes you are writing about. As we move towards being more responsible literary citizens in the upcoming year, keep our sister writers in mind. (Information below is edited from each journal/magazine website information.)

If there are publications that have not been included on this list, please add a brief description and a link in the comments below so others can learn about it and we can update our information.

13th Moon: A Feminist Literary Magazine
Founded in 1973 in the ferment of early second wave feminism, as a home for women writers and their readers. Because the surrounding culture has tended to erase women writers from history, their work has needed rediscovery, preservation and its own dedicated space each generation.

Adanna Literary Journal: a journal for women, about women
A name of Nigerian origin, pronounced a-DAN-a, is defined as “her father’s daughter.” Women over the centuries have been defined by men in politics, through marriage, and, most importantly, by the men who fathered them. Today women are still bound by complex roles in society, often needing to wear more than one hat or sacrifice one role so another may flourish. Submissions must reflect women’s issues or topics, celebrate womanhood, and shout out in passion.

This is an intermittently published literary journal featuring poetry by self-identified queer women. Work need not be lesbian themed. The definition of “queer women poets” is also a flexible term; they welcome work by women who identify as queer, lesbian, dyke, bisexual, and trans* as well. Each issue is built around a small number of poets and showcase the variety within the queer poetry community. They are not looking for any one style or form; each issue will represent multiple poetic forms, including traditional poetry, prose poetry, spoken word poetry translated to the page, and experimental poetry.

Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture
A nonprofit, independent, feminist media organization dedicated to providing and encouraging an engaged, thoughtful feminist response to mainstream media and popular culture seeks to be a fresh, revitalizing voice in contemporary feminism. They are uniquely situated to draw in young readers who are at a critical moment in their lives—a moment when they are discovering feminism and activism, finding answers to who they are, and questioning the definitions of gender, sexuality, power and agency prescribed by the mainstream media.

A magazine devoted to sharing the literary voices of black women. This online journal is run by women who strongly believe in its mission to showcase a new generation of writers as well as illuminate voices from the past that may have been ignored.

Bluestockings Magazine
A feminist multimedia publication with a gender-aware perspective and an anti-oppression framework. Their feminisms are rooted in opposition to all forms of oppression with an understanding that feminism links together the political, the structural, and the personal. They aim to center voices from marginalized and historically resilient communities across intersections of color, race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, immigration status, disability, gender identity, sexuality, class, substance use, status of incarceration, experience of violence and trauma, and other identities not listed here. They accept work from every genre and medium, and highly encourage work from people of color with intersectional identities. They also welcome work from first-time contributors, who can expect a hands-on editing process from the team.

Bone Bouquet
A biannual online journal seeking to publish the best new writing by female poets, from artists both established and emerging. They aim to highlight the important work of female poets, who are often underrepresented in the writing community and popular media. Rather than personal politics, their criteria are excellence and vibrance. Rather than segregating the poetry of ‘women’s issues’ from ‘regular’ creative work, their goal is to provide an additional arena to make work more visible to readers, building their reputations as artists.

Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women
A forum for women’s creative work—including work by women of color, lesbian and queer women, young women, old women—CALYX Journal breaks new ground. Each issue is packed with new poetry, short stories, full-color artwork, photography, essays, and reviews.

damselfly press: A gathering of women’s voices
The name is derived from the tenacious damselfly, a unique and highly independent insect whose remarkable compound eyes allow her the advantage of examining many aspects of her environment. They value writing that soars beyond common perceptions and seek to promote exceptional writing by women. They welcome fiction, poetry, and nonfiction from female writers of all experiences. They are interested in work that is honest and explores human nature; there is truth even in fiction.

The Fem
It is a literary journal that publishes feminist, diverse, and inclusive creative works and interviews with writers, artists, and creators twice a week. They practice intersectional feminism, and seek to act as a safe space for both readers and writers from marginalized groups.

Feminist Formations
It is a forum where feminists from around the world articulate research, theory, activism, teaching, and learning, thereby showcasing new feminist formations. An interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal, they publish innovative work by scholars, activists, artists, poets, and practitioners in feminist, gender, and sexuality studies. A permanent section of the journal devoted to contemporary feminist poetry is designed to push at the bounds of academic knowledge production to make space for creative writers whose work can help us to see, learn, and experience from fresh angles.

Feminist Studies
They are committed to publishing an interdisciplinary body of feminist knowledge that sees intersections of gender with racial identity, sexual orientation, economic means, geographical location, and physical ability as the touchstone for our politics and our intellectual analysis. They welcome all forms of written creative expression, including but not limited to poetry and short fiction in all forms. They are interested in work that addresses questions of interest to their audience, particularly work that pushes past the boundaries of what has been done before. They look for creative work that is intellectually challenging and aesthetically adventurous, that is in complicated dialogue with feminist ideas and concepts, and that shifts readers into new perspectives on women/gender.

The Feminist Wire
It is a peer reviewed online feminist publication. They welcome essays, interviews, op-eds, stories, poetry, plays, and visual art that explicitly deploy a feminist lens, and define feminism very broadly. They are also committed to anti-racist and anti-imperialist approaches.

Hip Mama
This is the original alternative parenting magazine, covering subjects from weaning to home schooling with humor and political edge. It is a forum for single, urban and feminist mothers. And the December 2015 issue features WWS member Lisbeth Coiman!

Iris Magazine: for thinking young women
After more than 30 years of publication, they continue to celebrate and empower young women through provocative pieces. Their mission is not only to showcase women’s achievements at the University and within Charlottesville, in support of the women’s community and in conjunction with the Center’s mission to creating change, but to also underscore the relevance of women’s issues throughout the community to foster change and highlight accomplishments.

Lavender Review
Born on Gay Pride Day, June 27, 2010, it is an international, biannual (June & December) e-zine dedicated to poetry and art by, about, and for lesbians. This e-zine is free, and open to everyone.

Lilith Magazine
Independent, Jewish & frankly feminist since 1976, it charts Jewish women’s lives with exuberance, rigor, affection, subversion and style. Their work includes bold reporting and memoir, original fiction and poetry, and a lively take on tradition, celebrations and social change.

Literary Mama
Since 2003, they have featured writing about the many faces of motherhood, including poetry, fiction, columns, and creative non-fiction that may be too raw, too irreverent, too ironic, or too body-conscious for traditional or commercial motherhood publications. They honor the difficult and rewarding work women do as they move through motherhood by providing a smart, diverse venue to read, publish, and share mama-centric stories.

Lumen Magazine
It is a project for (and by!) women and nonbinary people. They are interested in poetry, fiction, personal essays, and interviews that examine how people move through the world, both as complex individuals and as members of larger communities. The conversations they are interested in are those that shed light on our stories—our struggles, our triumphs, and all the in-betweens.

Luna Luna Magazine
It is the dreamer’s lifestyle diary where readers can indulge their good and bad sides in the quiet conversations, the confessions, the uncomfortable, the indulgent and the beautiful. They aim to capture everything that makes our world so powerful: beauty, light, nuance, oddities, opulence, magic and desire. They consistently profile brave, unapologetic, feminist and creative thinkers from all walks of life. They focus heavily on the personal, intimate, literary, artistic and occult.

Minerva Rising
It is an independent literary journal celebrating the creativity and wisdom in every woman. They publish thought-provoking fiction, non-fiction, photography, poetry and essays by women writers and artists. It has grown out of a love of literature and the knowledge that when women come together, we flourish. Just as the Goddess Minerva represented creativity, wisdom, medicine, commerce, arts and education, the journal provides the opportunity for and the evidence of that bounty.

The Mom Egg Review: Literature & Art
An annual literary journal by and about mothers and motherhood. Celebrated writers and new talents explore the experience of motherhood from diverse perspectives and examine the nexus of motherhood with other identities, cultural and personal. Multi-ethnic and multi-generational, it tells important stories ignored or marginalized by other publications, and nurtures exciting literary talents.

It is an online, peer-reviewed, international feminist journal. Their goals are to provide an intelligent forum for feminist discourse in cyberspace and provide space for a variety of voices on issues of gender and power. They believe that words can change the world!

Mslexia: for women who write
It tells you all you need to know about exploring your creativity and getting into print. No other magazine provides their unique mix of debate and analysis, advice and inspiration; news, reviews, interviews; competitions, events, courses, grants. All served up with a challenging selection of new poetry and prose.

Ms. Magazine
A brazen act of independence in the 1970s, the authors translated a movement into a magazine. It is the first national magazine to make feminist voices audible, feminist journalism tenable, and a feminist worldview available to the public. Today, the magazine remains an interactive enterprise in which an unusually diverse readership is simultaneously engaged with each other and the world. It continues to be an award-winning magazine recognized nationally and internationally as the media expert on issues relating to women’s status, women’s rights, and women’s points of view.

Mutha Magazine
Mutha explores real-life motherhood, from every angle, at every stage, including the ways Moms looked in the 50s and 60s and 70s and the way Moms look now. It explores how people stay creative and vital while raising kids. This is a place online to hang out with all of it, without having pink flowers or digital sprinkles of fairy-baby dust assaulting the aesthetics.

Persimmon Tree
This online magazine is a showcase for the creativity and talent of women over sixty. Too often older women’s artistic work is ignored or disregarded, and only those few who are already established receive the attention they deserve. Yet many women are at the height of their creative abilities in their later decades and have a great deal to contribute. They are committed to bringing this wealth of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art to a broader audience, for the benefit of all.

Pheobe: a journal of art and literature since 1971
They support up-and-coming writers whose style, form, voice, and subject matter demonstrate a vigorous appeal to the senses, intellect, and emotions of readers. They choose work that succeeds at its goals, whether it is to uphold or challenge literary tradition. They insist on openness, which means they welcome both experimental and conventional prose and poetry, and they insist on being entertained, which means the work must capture and hold their attention, whether it be the potent language of a poem or the narrative mechanics of a short story.

PMS: poemmemoirstory
PMS proudly features the best literary writing by emerging and established women writers. While a journal of exclusively women’s writing, the subject field is wide open. First published in 2000, the editors seek to include compelling, intellectually rigorous writing that represents a diverse range of women’s voices and experiences. Simply put, they want to be riveted.

Quaint Magazine: a women’s quarterly literary magazine
Quaint publishes dynamic, arresting, and transgressive poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction by female and gender non-binary writers. They are trans-inclusive and are strongly committed to publishing work from traditionally marginalized writers, giving voice to the strange, the weird, and the unsettling.

ROAR Magazine: A Journal of The Literary Arts by Women
ROAR is a print literary journal that exists to provide a space to showcase women’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We are committed to publishing literature by emerging and developing writers and we aim to support the equality of women in the creative arts. ROAR accepts work that represents a wide spectrum of form, language and meaning. In other words, don’t worry if your work isn’t specific to feminist issues. If you’re a gal, we just want your point of view.

Room: literature, art, and feminism since 1975
Room to read. Room to write. Room to converse across our many differences. Canada’s oldest literary journal by and about women showcases fiction, poetry, reviews, art work, interviews and profiles about the female experience. Each quarter they publish original, thought-provoking works that reflect women’s strength, sensuality, vulnerability, and wit.

Sinister Wisdom
It is a multicultural lesbian literary & art journal that seeks to open, consider and advance the exploration of lesbian community issues. They recognize the power of language to reflect our diverse experiences and to enhance our ability to develop critical judgment as lesbians evaluating our community and our world.

So To Speak: feminism + language + art
They publish poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art that lives up to a high standard of language, form, and meaning. They look for work that addresses issues of significance to women’s lives and movements for women’s equality and are especially interested in pieces that explore issues of race, class, and sexuality in relation to gender. They are committed to representing the work of writers and artists from diverse perspectives and experiences and do not discriminate on the basis of race, class, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, culture of origin, political affiliation, disability, marital or premarital status, Vietnam-era status, or similar characteristics.

Torch Journal
They publish and promote the work of black women by publishing contemporary poetry, prose, and short stories by experienced and emerging writers alike, to archive contributor’s literary work for posterity and educational purposes, provide resources and opportunities for the advancement of black women writers.

Weird Sister
An online community that makes people laugh, and maybe cry, and always think a lot. One that resonates with our lives as writers and artists and activists and teachers and curators and moonlighters. A website that speaks its mind and snaps its gum and doesn’t apologize. It explores the intersections of feminism, literature and pop culture, featuring essays, interviews, comics, reviews, playlists, secret diaries, and love letters written in invisible ink.

WomenArts Quarterly
They aspire to nurture, provide support, and challenge women of all cultures, ethnicities, backgrounds, and abilities and seeks to heighten the awareness and understanding of achievements by women creators, providing audiences with examples of historical and contemporary work by women writers, composers, and artists.

Women’s Review of Books
They provide a forum for serious, informed discussion of new writing by and about women and a unique perspective on today’s literary landscape, featuring essays and in-depth reviews of new books by and about women. Their goals include advancing gender equality, social justice, and human well-being.

Women’s Studies Quarterly
It is an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of emerging perspectives on women, gender, and sexuality. Its thematic issues combine psychoanalytic, legal, queer, cultural, technological, and historical work to present the most exciting new scholarship on ideas that engage popular and academic readers alike. It is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal published twice a year that along with scholarship from multiple disciplines, showcases fiction and creative nonfiction, poetry, book reviews, and the visual arts.

Word Mothers
It is dedicated to showcasing women’s work in the literary arts around the world, featuring female author interviews and women in the book industry discussing what they’re really passionate about. They embrace diversity; minority voices and genderqueer artists are especially encouraged to contribute.

ac9b1d5f-71bc-4c76-92ed-7aa18d1b98edTisha Marie Reichle is a Chicana Feminist and former Rodeo Queen. Her stories have appeared in 34th Parallel, Inlandia Journal, Muse Literary Journal, Santa Fe Writers Project, The Acentos Review, and The Lunch Ticket. She earned her MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles and is the fiction editor at Border Senses magazine.

Claps and Cheers: A WWS Publication Round Up

Over the last month, WWS members have been getting work published and some have won awards. Here is a brief look at a few recent publications.11209699_1030527333634119_5403440345070340561_n

From Antonia Crane’s essay, “In rape culture, there’s no such thing as a safe word” published this month in Quartz:

“But as someone who has spent her entire adult life working in the sex industry, I can attest to the fact that women in this business face inherent, unique physical risks. I’ve been bitten, drugged, smacked and ripped off. Years ago, a large man tried to block me from leaving a private room in a nude strip club in San Francisco. When I yelled for help, the person who came running was a stripper named Cinnamon. She yanked him by his shirt from behind. I ran.”


“When she cranes her neck up at the sky, at night, she shivers. This may be because she is trying to find Scorpio. She is more afraid of falling up endlessly than gravity. The night is colder than it should be. She wonders if one of the spheres has a hole. A leak that hisses the light out like a deflated tire.”

From Ashaki M. Jackson’s poem, “Fulcrum: The Support About Which A Lever Turns; The Part Of An Animal That Serves As A Hinge Or Support,” published in Cura Magazine:

“You consider lynching mechanics and question which was raised first – the rope or the neck. You think of the ease with which dancers lift each other’s bodies at particular curves and imagine a neck hoist bringing a faceless audience to its feet. You ask who is in this audience. You are in the audience.”

From an interview with Karineh Mahdessian and Sophia Rivera, founders of Las Lunas Locas womyn’s writing circle, published last week at La Bloga:

“So, are Las Lunas Locas really locas? How did your nombre lunático come about?

We knew we wanted to name ourselves that which spoke to us, the moon is the most feminine of it all. And womyn often tend to be thought of as “crazy” and “emotional.” In this capacity, we wanted to celebrate all things that are often misjudged and ridiculed. The naming of Las Lunas Locas allows for embracing all that is wonderful and challenging about being a womyn in a patriarchal and misogynistic society.”

From Tisha Reichle’s YA fiction piece, “I want to be a Cowgirl,” published in the latest issue of Lunch Ticket:

“Mom watches from her bedroom window; I can feel her. Not ready to be wrong about my hunger, I stand on the bales of hay stacked behind the heeling dummy. It was painted brown a long time ago and Dad actually put a frayed rope tail so it looks like the skeleton of a steer’s butt. Its rusty pole legs dangle lifeless until I kick them; their squeaky rhythm breaks the morning’s silence. Mom closes the curtain. She hates when I practice roping and defy her orders.”

From Tiana Thomas’ essay, “High Hopes For Thanksgiving (And What It’s Like To Grow Up On A Pot Farm)” published last month at Role Reboot:

“Mom is sitting at the kitchen table with several bags of weed in front of her. She has taken off her jeans, and has a glossy look of heat shining off her face, as she rolls another joint. I head out the back door to the wooden water tank at the rear of the house. It’s hot and I’m thirsty. The tank sits in the shade surrounded by Ti leaves and banana trees, its sides covered in thick green-black moss and a thin layer of moisture. The rainwater that fills the tank is sweet. I slurp it straight from the spout, letting the run-off splash on my muddy toes.”

Lastly, congratulations to Melissa Chadburn and Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo who share the honor of being awarded grants for nonfiction from Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund.

On Melissa’s project:

“This essay collection includes the title essay, a previously published piece about my experience in foster care. The other essays capture the myriad of effects of poverty—or the converse: the effects of affluence and power. I think this is the one element that binds all of my work together—I talk about class and race but what I really am speaking of are the effects of power on the human condition.”

Pssst! Fiction writers, The Barbara Deming Fund is now taking applications for fiction projects. It awards “small artist support grants ($500-$1500) to individual feminist women in the arts.” Submissions close December 31st.

Interview with Ashaki M. Jackson

Ashaki M. Jackson is a poet and social psychologist residing in Los Angeles. Her poem “An American Paratrooper” appears in [r.kv.r.y. quarterly‘s] April 2014 issue. Noted authors and Ashaki confidants Khadijah Queen (www.khadijahqueen.com) and Kima Jones (www.thenotoriouskima.com) recently pitched a few questions to her about her work – an ongoing reflection on grief, coping, and defunct mortuary rites grounded in her grandmother’s death.

This interview is reposted with permission from the editors of r.kv.r.y. quarterly where it was first published

Khadijah Queen (KQ) begins a little late but gracefully: Snap! I got distracted by YouTube and middle school homework and cake and hot dogs… ​What distracts you most from your creative work, and how do you overcome said distraction(s) and/or use them to your advantage?

Ashaki Jackson (AJ): This day-to-day thing. I’m responding from bed while deep-conditioning my hair and jotting a To Do list for the next four hours.

Chicken is marinating. Dishes still aren’t going to wash themselves. This basket of clean laundry is giving me the side-eye. It is 5:30 PM.

Being swallowed by the mundane is very comforting to me. My writing revolves around personal loss — mainly that of my grandmother. I still reside in her memory and fold into my grief when I evoke her in poems. The feelings are oppressive even when I write about my broader reflection on loss as I did with An American Paratrooper. Inundating myself with a Big Bang Theory-spring cleaning-pedicure session or reading books in a loud restaurant gives me respite. It gives me spaces to tuck my grief until I’m ready to see it again.

KQ: Talk about the bodied-ness of your poems. How central, tangential, and/or inextricable are the physical and the linguistic?

AJ: I have bodies. Many bodies. Other peoples’ bodies. Loved ones’ bodies.

Sometimes it is the thought of the last state in which I saw a late loved one that pops into my mind.

This is a painful but helpful entry into my drafts. I also spent quite a bit of time studying anthropologists’ articles about mortuary rites. Cecilia McCallum, Ph.D., is a lasting favorite. She documents the care with which certain South American tribe members once treated their deceased family members’ bodies before consuming them.

I learned that mourning isn’t merely psychological; it is a ceremony, a meal, something that lingers on the palate. The language of consumption in relation to the lingering sense of loss underpins many of my pieces—devouring, preservation, and that sense of never being sate. Some of my poems read as if words are falling out of the mouth haphazardly. Others read as if I’m choking on the grief. I’m not able to articulate the craft, but thematically I might refer to it as written keening.

Kima Jones (KJ): Essentially, form is choosing skin, so I want to revisit Khadijah’s question on bodied-ness: Which form, which body do you like to take on most? And for your grandmother?

AJ: My good friend, Noah, mentioned that some of us “like to wear each other’s bodies.” We were speaking about recent travesties — Malaysian Flight 370, MV Sewol in South Korea, the Chibok girls. For all of those bodies lost, families only received apologies from officials — the emptiest gesture. Like gristle.

I think you crave a body — living or dead — particularly when you do not have one.

Bodies are tangible and to be cared for. That care is some kind of ritual.

My work doesn’t have a particular body. Forms are rare in my work. However, I allow my lines to occupy the page in non-traditional ways. One poem is written in the choppiness of a choking cry. In a different piece, the words collide at the bottom of the page – a visual homage to hopelessness in grief. The reader should want to gather words from these pieces, scrape them from the ground, and comfort them.

I spend a good amount of time thinking on my late grandmother’s passing. It aides my coping to wade through the memories, but it also gives me access to a dialect of grief that others might make use of in the future. In my manuscript, I write about her transition in various forms with the same sentiment about the body. She should be home, with us, and cared for. I don’t know if it’s the best I can do to evoke her in my pages as if my manuscript is her portable body. It is a start for me.

KJ: There is always something hiding, even in the uncovering and undoing. I am wondering how Ashaki keeps the secret things hidden during the excavation, the mining of all those graves?

AJ: I’m of the mind that the reader does not need to know me to enter, understand, experience, or relate to the work. Few books would ever be read with this requirement. What I need from the reader: trust. I might not hand you my articulated grief or reveal everything I’ve had to unearth to write a piece, but I’ll share work that will resonate in some way with the reader–that will rub the reader’s bruises just as my ache is continually touched.

KJ: It’s a question I’m turning over more and more in my head in regard to my own heart and my own good feeling, so I ask you, what is the use of the love poem?

AJ: Use of the love poem: praise for a body; idolatry; celebration of the mind’s fire; a method of serenading; to fully taste; to build a word altar to a moment; to sustain a beautiful feeling; to tuck a piece of candy in my pillowcase for later; to be reckless in my selfishness by flaunting; to maintain my warmth; to serve me.

I think that’s broad enough to comfortably fit my poems on grief and loss and loose enough to include the poems I have yet to write for the loves I have yet to know.


KQ: Truth & honesty– where on the spectrum when dealing with loss/grief do these consciously figure? Are they seeds or threads? Both? How much gives way to metaphor or story or construct?

​AJ: I think Kima’s question about the use of a love poem is relevant here. If I were to write a love poem — let’s say “romantic” in some way — my approach could be seen as dishonest because I haven’t known love. I’d tell you that in the poem. I’m pretty forthcoming with what I don’t know. But, it would still be a decent poem because lies are often the most interesting genre.

When dealing with loss, I am more honest about what I have experienced than what I have not. I think my feelings are evident and even resounding when I write about personal loss because I know its labyrinth. I become the omniscient tour guide. When writing others’ losses: my empathy might seem insufficient. My feelings about documenting grief are still true and perhaps a projection of my mourning. But, I don’t know others’ specific pains, which are rooted in long relationships, family, home, and hopes for the future.

The lyric fills in those hollows. The poem becomes indigenous to its characters — not me. I am honest until my imagination converts a paratrooper’s body being retrieved from Cambodia into a native stork.


Dr. Ashaki M. Jackson is a social psychologist and poet who has worked with post-incarceration youth through research, evaluation and creative arts mentoring for over one decade. She is a Cave Canem and VONA alumna. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Rkvry Quarterly and CURA Magazine, among others. Miel Books will publish her chapbook, Language Lesson, in fall 2016. She lives and works in Los Angeles, California.


Back in September, The New Republic published an article entitled, “Cheat! It’s the Only Way to Get Published.” but not everyone was so convinced. Here is one rebuttal from writer, Rachael Warecki reposted here from Zoetic Press, first published October 5, 2015.

First, let me say that I’m aware I have several legs up in the literary world just by dint of being white, middle-class, over-educated, and employed in a white-collar job. My family and friends have always been supportive of my desire to write, even when they haven’t understood it; I’ve never had anyone tell me that writing is something I shouldn’t do. I have time, space, and a room of my own: in many ways, to many people, the life I lucked into could be considered its own literary cheat.

In the fall of 2011, though, I was recovering from several serious medical issues, unemployed, and in the middle of my first semester as a graduate student in Antioch University Los Angeles’ MFA program. (In the spirit of encouraging fellow emerging writers, it’s perhaps pertinent to add that I did not just sail into an MFA program; Antioch accepted me off the waitlist.) I didn’t have any literary connections to recommend my work. I didn’t have any prestige-journal stationery on which I could write my cover letters. While looking for literary magazines that might publish my short stories, I noticed a call for submissions for the inaugural issue of The Masters Review, a lit mag that—at that time—was only open to writers attending grad school.

Back then, my assets consisted of my words, my classmates’ assurance that my stories were ready for publication, and the generosity of a literary magazine truly committed to helping new writers succeed. Because The Masters Review’s author demographic was so narrow, I thought my work might have a better chance of successfully making its way through the slush pile. As it turned out, I was right: my short story “The Rites of Summer” was published in The Masters Review’s 2012 issue.

In the years since, I’ve worked to build those post-slush literary relationships. I’ve kept in touch with one of The Masters Review’s editors, and I’ve continued to submit my work to their contests and anthologies, which have now expanded to include all emerging writers—not just those in MFA programs. My most recent submission, “10:25 a.m. EDT,” earned an honorable mention and a pending review from a top literary agency, which is an amazing career opportunity for which I’m eternally grateful.

More importantly, I’ve also continued to work those slush piles. Although I had zero relationships with any of the top-tier literary magazines, once I had work I thought was strong enough, I started shooting for the moon. Out of those long-shot submissions, I’ve received personal rejections and encouragement from fiction editors at Tin House, The Atlantic Monthly, Agni, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Blackbird, and PANK. I say this not to brag, but to point out that you can submit to slush piles of top-tier magazines and, if your work is a good enough fit, editors will start to pay long-term attention to you, even if you don’t have a list of previous publication credits or a fancy lit mag’s letterhead to back you up.

Here’s the rub, though: at the most basic level, if you want to be published without “cheating,” you need to be selective about what you send. Three years later, I’m still proud of “The Rites of Summer,” as I am of every story I’ve published, but I’ve also written stories that I’ve stopped submitting for now because I know they’re not yet strong enough for the markets in which I want to be published. Of my unpublished work, I have three “powerhouse” stories making the rounds of contests and top-tier literary magazines, but I also have five other stories, all written almost two years ago, that I’m still pumping up to that heavyweight level. Beyond that, everything else is unsalvageable for various reasons. That’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my fledgling writing career: my work can be well-written and well-constructed, but it can still be too unoriginal, too white-bread, and/or too autobiographical to be publishable. Not everything is fit to print.

Which leads into the fact that you also need to be selective about where you send your work. If you’re an emerging writer, look for literary magazines that are committed to finding, publishing, and promoting emerging writers; that way, you won’t be competing for limited page space with the likes of Joyce Carol Oates and Adam Johnson. The Masters Review is a great place to submit since it’s only open to new voices, but many other top-tier publications, such as Glimmer Train and A Public Space, hold contests and grant fellowships specifically designed to attract new writers. If you’re working in a certain genre, submit to magazines that appreciate that genre rather than disdain it. If you think a certain publication might be a good fit for your work, get a hold of some back issues to make sure—even print journals usually have one or two stories available for free online.

The world of literary journals and publications can seem exclusive, insular, and elitist, and that reputation is in many ways deserved. But it’s not a completely impermeable membrane, and you don’t have to cheat to make inroads. Just be strategic and selective about your submissions, and don’t be afraid to cultivate relationships with other writers, wherever you may find them.


1091093_347757792022433_1818843801_oRachael Warecki received her MFA in Fiction from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is also an alumna of Scripps College, Loyola Marymount University, and the 2008 Teach for America Los Angeles corps. Her fiction has appeared in The Masters Review, Midwestern Gothic, The Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. In her spare time, she enjoys rooting for the Cleveland Indians and the Ohio State Buckeyes. She is currently at work on a novel.