From Category: Writing for Social Change
Editors say, "Our focus is on communities traditionally underserved by literary programming and underrepresented in contemporary literature. We recognize that the exclusion of so many voices from literary programming limits our understanding of the world in which we live and deprives us all." They are seeking workshop proposals to bring the project to more communities in the US, with a special interest in the Inland Empire and San Joaquin Valley areas of California.
Named for iconic lesbian-feminist writer Adrienne Rich, this journal features poetry by emerging and established women writers who identify as queer, lesbian, bisexual, or trans*. Submissions may be on any theme. Sibling Rivalry Press is a well-regarded small press with an interest in LGBTQ literature. Check website before sending work, because submission deadlines are irregular.
Located at Auburn University, APAEP offers classes in the arts and humanities to inmates in Alabama state prisons. The Project has created a travelling exhibit of "Art on the Inside" and also publish an annual anthology of their students' work.
Argot Magazine is an online publication dedicated to creative writing, smart analysis, and art across mediums. They publish journalistic essays, cultural commentary, short stories, poetry, satire, comics, illustrations, and photo essays, with a special preference for work by queer creators. This is a paying market. Editors say, "We aspire to be a safe space that centers the feminine narrative—especially the experiences of those at the margins—and to foster community through storytelling and discussion of current events. We're interested in writing and visual art that spans the worlds of queer culture, the feminine narrative, marginalized communities, and politics and culture."
Disability in Kidlit is a multi-author blog that reviews portrayals of disability in books for children and young adults. In this 2015 essay, speculative fiction author Elizabeth Bartmess surveys common stereotypes and limiting depictions of autistic children in fiction, and how they contribute to mistreatment in the real world. This piece is a must-read for fiction writers in all genres who are developing a neurodiverse cast of characters.
Black Poets Speak Out is a video series launched in November 2014 to protest police violence against people of color. In these videos, contemporary black poets read their own writing or that of their predecessors who have written about blackness and police brutality. Featured work includes poetry by Amiri Baraka, Lucille Clifton, Toi Derricotte, Cornelius Eady, Langston Hughes, and Audre Lorde. Follow them on Twitter at #BlackPoetsSpeakOut or subscribe to this Tumblr blog to be notified of new videos.
Published by Partisan Press, Blue Collar Review is a quarterly journal of poetry and prose whose mission is "to expand and promote a progressive working class vision of culture that inspires us and that moves us forward as a class." Read sample poems on their website. There is an annual poetry contest with a $100 prize.
Parents, educators, and teenagers will benefit from the New York Public Library's list of recommended YA books about gender identity, last updated in 2015. These fiction and nonfiction books can help schools create a more welcoming and diverse environment.
Broad! exists "because stories by women are printed in other magazines less often than men's, because in the past women have had to publish under male pseudonyms or under no name at all and from what we’re seeing, literary culture...is less equitable than we’d hoped. Because we write about ghosts, or families, or love, or other implausible things. Because our art is considered 'domestic fiction' instead of 'the Great American Novel.'" Submissions may be on any topic.
Climbing PoeTree is a spoken-word performance duo that uses art as a force for popular education, community organizing, and personal transformation. Poets, performance artists, print makers, video and graphic designers, muralists, and new media architects, Alixa and Naima create compelling works at the service of their vision for a more just and livable world. Climbing PoeTree's award-winning performance is composed of dual-voice spoken word poetry, hip hop, and multi-media theatre that challenges its audiences to remember their humanity, dissolves apathy with hope, exposes injustice, and helps heal our inner trauma so that we may begin to cope with the issues facing our communities. Innovative educators, Alixa and Naima have lead hundreds of workshops in institutions from Columbia University to Rikers Island Prison. They are currently developing a multimedia curriculum based of their latest production, Hurricane Season, that employs art and culture to help learners analyze systems of oppression and resistance, and build new leadership essential for fundamental social change.
Accompanying website for the anthology of the same name from Sibling Rivalry Press includes reading dates, contributors' videos, and links to their websites. Featured authors include Ellen Bass, Blas Falconer, Keetje Kuipers, Maitreyabandhu, Carl Phillips, and Amir Rabiyah.
Proceeds from the sale of this literary journal support writing and literacy programs in the US and abroad. They accept online submissions of poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, and book reviews, year-round. Editors say, "We believe that reading and writing lets us to see the world through the eyes of others and share our viewpoints with others. These conversations help us understand our shared relationship with one another. We develop the ability to make culturally, socially, and individually formed decisions toward a sustainable future."
Based in Toronto, Demeter Press is an independent feminist press specializing in books about mothering and motherhood. They publish peer-reviewed scholarly work, fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction by and about mothers, mothering and family issues. Demeter Press is the publishing arm of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement.
Disability in Kidlit is a multi-author website dedicated to discussing and improving the portrayal of disability in middle grade and young adult literature. They publish critical essays, reviews, and interviews. Their goals are to help readers, editors, and libraries find books with accurate and respectful treatment of disability, and to educate writers and editors about problematic portrayals. All contributors and editors identify as disabled.
The Diversity Style Guide is a resource to help journalists and other media professionals cover a complex, multicultural world with accuracy, authority, and sensitivity. This guide, a project of the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University, brings together definitions and information from more than two dozen style guides, journalism organizations, and other resources.
Poet, spoken-word artist, and activist Dora McQuaid raises awareness about domestic violence, child abuse, prisoners' rights, and other social justice issues.
Flamingo Rampant is an independent publisher of feminist, racially diverse, LGBTQ-positive picture books for children. They publish six titles a year, which must be ordered as a box set. Other forthcoming projects include resource sheets for parents and educators.
Pushcart-nominated poet Saeed Jones, author of the chapbook 'When the Only Light is Fire' (Sibling Rivalry Press), blogs about writing, contemporary culture, and the potentialities and limits of the "black gay poet" identity.
By Leah Horlick. This breathtaking lesbian-feminist poetry collection breaks the silence around intimate partner violence in same-sex relationships. Jewish tradition, nature spirituality, and archetypes from Tarot cards build a framework for healing. This book is valuable for its specificity about the dynamics of abusive lesbian partnerships, which may not fit our popular culture's image of domestic violence. Horlick shows how the closet and the invisibility of non-physical abuse make it difficult for these victims to name what is happening to them. The book's narrative arc is hopeful and empowering.
HEArt is an online journal that promotes the role of artists as human rights activists. They publish contemporary poetry, fiction, essays, music, videos, and artwork that challenge discrimination and promote social justice. Their print edition, published 1997-2002, featured writers such as Martin Espada, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, Sekou Sundiata, and Stacey Waite. HEArt re-launched in online form in 2013.
Hedgebrook's motto is "Women Authoring Change". This retreat for women writers is located on Whidbey Island near Puget Sound, 35 miles from Seattle, WA. Each year, the retreat hosts about 40 women writers from all over the world for residencies of 2-6 weeks, at no cost to the writer.
Ink From the Pen is a nonprofit website that accepts submissions of inmates' artwork and sells prints and T-shirts to benefit the prisoners and their families. Writers who work with prisoners may find this a useful resource to encourage their creativity.
ICORN is an association of cities and regions around the world dedicated to protecting freedom of expression by offering refuge to writers fleeing political persecution.
Kartika Review publishes creative writing (poetry, fiction, nonfiction) from Asian Pacific Islander American perspectives and creative writing that engages with Asian Pacific Islander Americans in thoughtful ways to challenge Orientalism, Yellow Peril, racism, xenophobia, American Empire, colonialism, and other forms of oppression. Accepted work will be published in the online journal and in a print-on-demand annual anthology that can be purchased at cost. Submit only once per genre per calendar year.
Kórima Press is an independent publisher committed to Queer Chicana/o and Xicana/o literary art. Authors in their catalog include poets Joe Jimenez and Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, and satirical dramatist Adelina Anthony.
Based in Philadelphia, the Leeway Foundation offers grants to women and transgender artists in the Delaware Valley region who are creating social change.
Julie R. Enszer, editor of the long-running lesbian-feminist literary journal Sinister Wisdom, maintains this free digital archive of poetry chapbooks, pamphlets, anthologies, and out-of-print journals of lesbian writing.
Lodestar Quarterly was an online journal of gay, lesbian, and queer literature, published 2002-06. Contributors included S. Bear Bergman, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Jane Rule, Susan Stinson, Michelle Tea, and Emanuel Xavier. Complete archives are available on the website.
The Mehadi Foundation (pronounced "meh-húh-DEE") is a nonprofit foundation with two missions. The first is to serve as a support network providing assistance to United States Armed Forces Veterans who were enlisted during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Our intention is to reach out especially to veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and those who self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, or who suffer from other addictive patterns. The Mehadi foundation makes a special effort to reach out to members of the LGBTQ community who served under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" statute. The second mission is to support humanitarian efforts in Iraq: helping civilians as they attempt to rebuild in the wake of the conflict. We place special emphasis on providing wheelchairs to those in need without access to them, water purification projects for schools, and helping in any way we can, LGBTQ Iraqis who have been the targets of extreme abuse and persecution.
The Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan publishes this annual journal to showcase the talent and diversity of Michigan's incarcerated writers.
The Mongrel Coalition Against Gringpo is an anonymous collective of writers of color, formed to challenge and satirize the contemporary poetry establishment's racist tropes and appropriation of the experiences of nonwhite people. What passes for avant-garde conceptual art, in MCAG's view, too often demonstrates white intellectuals' sense of entitlement to remix and strip-mine material from communities of color, in a way that centers white voices. The online journal Drunken Boat, Issue #22, features a multi-part text and image folio expressing MCAG's incisive critique of white poetics.
Launched in 2014 by the Lambda Literary Foundation, Nepantla is an online journal of poetry by LGBTQ writers of color. The journal's name is an Aztec-language word for the space between worlds, or liminal space. For guidelines or other questions, contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NuWine Press aims to provide fresh perspectives on the Christian faith without alienating any of Christ's followers because of their gender, ability, political affiliation or sexual orientation. They publish fiction, nonfiction, resource books and scholarly works. NuWine Press was founded in 2007 by Aimee Maude Sims, a multimedia reporter and music writer.
Open Minds Quarterly is a publication of The Writer's Circle, a project of NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action. Open Minds Quarterly is dedicated to writers worldwide who have survived depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. The journal publishes fiction, book reviews, poems, and first-person narrative accounts, and sponsors the annual BrainStorm Poetry Contest for mental health consumers and survivors.
Based in Western Massachusetts, Paris Press publishes groundbreaking yet overlooked literature by women. Their catalog includes both contemporary and rediscovered writers, such as Bryher, Susan McCabe, Adrian Oktenberg, and Muriel Rukeyser. Editor Jan Freeman says, "The press values work in all genres that is daring in style and in its courage to speak truthfully about society, culture, history, and the human heart." Their blog Spiraling, launched in 2015, features original poetry and short prose.
Pentimento publishes poetry, short fiction, essays, and artwork by writers with disabilities (including children), and authentic, well-written essays and poetry with a disability-related theme. Submissions may be by a individual with a disability or an individual who is part of the community such as a family member, educator, therapist, etc. Please indicate in your submission which category you are in. "Pentimento" is the term for an underlying image that shows through the top layer of a painting. The journal's name reflects their mission of "seeing beyond the surface". Currently a print magazine, with an online edition in the works.
Founded in the 1970s, this independent small press in Austin, TX publishes poetry and literary prose. Editors say, "Our books result from artistic collaboration between writers, artists and editors. Over the years we have become a far-flung community of activists whose energies bring humanitarian enlightenment and hope to individuals and communities grappling with the major issues of our time: peace, justice, the environment, education and gender. This is a humane and highly creative group of people committed to art and social change." Query by email first, and wait for a response before sending the full manuscript. Email queries should include a link to a website that features a selection of your work and information about you, or a short selection of work pasted into the message (no attachments).
By S. Chris Shirley. This funny, heartfelt, and enlightening YA novel follows a Southern preacher's kid on his journey to accept his sexuality without losing his faith. When 17-year-old Jake ventures outside his Alabama small town for a summer journalism program at Columbia University in New York City, he learns that the world is more complex than he imagined, and maybe God is too. Refreshingly, he doesn't reject his family and traditions, but instead takes on the adult responsibility of teaching and transforming them.
Palestinian poet Hiyam Noir launched this website to bear witness to the suffering of Palestinians in refugee camps and work towards an end to Israeli occupation.
'Poetry of Resilience' is a documentary by Academy Award-nominated director Katja Esson about six international poets who individually survived Hiroshima, the Holocaust, China's Cultural Revolution, the Kurdish Genocide in Iraq, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Iranian Revolution. These six artists present us with a close-up perspective of the "wide shot" of political violence. Each story is powerful, but the film's strength comes from its collective voice: different political conflicts, cultures, genders, ages, races – one shared human narrative.
Poets for Living Waters is a poetry action in response to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico begun on April 20, 2010, one of the most profound human-made ecological catastrophes in history. See website for instructions for submitting your poems by email. Previously published work accepted.
The Pratt MFA in Writing is a new and unique two-year program specifically designed to support and encourage intellectually rigorous and inspired writing practices that are philosophically, culturally and politically informed. The premise of the program is that writing can be transformative at all scales, from the personal to the social, and we aim to incubate such radically cosmopolitan, resolutely local, pleasure-filled, and potentially revolutionary poetic practices. Pratt is located in the historic Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.
Prism Comics is the leading nonprofit, all-volunteer organization supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual and LGBTQIA-friendly comic books, comics professionals, readers and educators. Prism awards an annual Queer Press Grant to help an independent comics creator publish their work of interest to an LGBTQIA audience. Prism also publishes anthologies and hosts panel discussions at comics conventions around the United States.
Co-founded by journalists from USA Today and CBS News, Prison Writers is a nonprofit organization that advocates for prison reform through sharing true stories by incarcerated writers. The group's goals are to encourage prisoners in learning marketable skills and to educate the public about life on the inside. Volunteer screeners give feedback, edit, and publish work by prisoners on the website. All contributors receive $10. There is often a large backlog of submissions, so more volunteers are always needed.
A project of the Durland Alternatives Library, Prisoner Express promotes rehabilitation by connecting prisoners to a community through literature. Prisoner Express began as a program for sending donated books to inmates. In addition to this service, they also coordinate pen-pal and distance-learning programs, and publish prisoners' writing on their website and in an anthology.
The Prisons Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that promotes the arts and education in prison and alternatives to incarceration. Visit the gallery page of their website to view and purchase original work by incarcerated artists.
This graphic novel is a collaboration between poet and playwright Vikas K. Menon, artist Dan Goldman, and filmmaker Ram Devineni. The provocative story portrays an Indian female super-hero who fights against sexual violence in a Hindu-inspired mythic reality. The comic's creation was prompted by the December 2012 gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi. The story can be downloaded for free from the website, which also features videos and information about supporting anti-rape activism.
The Riveter is a magazine of narratives and longform journalism by women. In this August 2017 piece, magazine co-founder Joanna Demkiewicz interviews poet Amy King about her work with VIDA, an organization launched in 2009 to track gender disparities in the top literary publications and book reviews. VIDA has since expanded its surveys to break down the data by race, ethnicity, sexuality/gender, disability, and neurodiversity.
In this 2017 essay in LitReactor, K. Tempest Bradford shares tips for creating a diverse cast of characters and avoiding stereotypes in fiction. Bradford teaches classes on "Writing the Other" with Nisi Shaw, co-author of the foundational book on the subject. This article includes links to related anthologies and essays.
Erotica writer and social issues blogger Xan West maintains this list of contemporary books on transgender and non-binary themes, with links to reviews by transgender and non-binary readers. West created the list because cisgender reviewers are not always in a position to recognize whether a book's portrayal of trans and non-binary experience is misinformed or offensive. Authors creating gender-variant characters would do well to educate themselves by browsing the relevant reviews.