Donor Helps Advance Women’s Writing

The Long Beach chapter of Women Who Submit on Saturday held a We Pay Your Submission Fees Party where fees were waived for women submitting their work.

More than a dozen poets, novelists, essayists, filmmakers, and short story writers together submitted to 10 contests, 30 journals, and three fellowships. The Submission Party, produced in partnership with the Long Beach Literary Arts Center (LBLAC), was made possible due to an anonymous donor.

“We’re making it rain,” said Desiree Kannel, founder of Long Beach-based Rose Writers’ Workshop and co-founder of the Long Beach Literary Arts Center. “The Long Beach area is rich in literary talent, and this generous donation will make our local literary talent a little richer.”

Kurdish-Canadian writer Ava Homa, a Huntington Beach resident, used a portion of the donation to apply to Jack Jones Literary Arts, a two-week retreat in Taos, New Mexico for women of color. Homa applied for a fellowship for Middle Eastern women.

“There are rare opportunities for Middle Eastern women. I have completed a manuscript for a novel, and this fellowship will help me present the work,” said Homa.

During the Submission Party, local poet Nicole Connolly submitted poems to 19 journals. Publications that the women submitted to included prestigious journals such as Tin House, New South, Sequestrum, and Brooklyn Review.

“In an era of decreased arts funding and increased awareness of gender inequities in publishing, support for writers—especially women writers—is critical,” said LBLAC co-founder Nancy Lynée Woo, a Long Beach poet and workshop facilitator. “We are very grateful for our donor’s support, which has gone a long way toward helping Long Beach women writers realize their literary dreams.”

LBLAC is a space for local writers to connect, create, and collaborate. Offering diverse literary programming, the center seeks to elevate the voices in our community through professional development training, inclusive literary events, and resources for artistic cross-pollination. Its vision is a city that loves the literary arts.

Established in 2011 by Alyss Dixson, Ashaki Jackson, and Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Women Who Submit seeks to empower women writers by creating physical and virtual spaces for sharing information, supporting and encouraging submissions to literary journals, and clarifying the submission and publication process. It was formed as a response to the VIDA count, which highlights gender imbalances in publishing by tallying genre, book reviewers, books reviewed, and journalistic bylines to offer an accurate assessment of the publishing world. (4/7/2018)

--Margo McCall