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Cody Sisco first heard about Women Who Submit from Sakae Manning, a brilliant writer and friend who he met through the Los Angeles Writers Critique Group. When he started BookSwell, he asked Sakae to join the advisory group to guide our efforts to lift up the voices of marginalized writers. That led to organizing our first event at Lambda Literary LitFest 2019 “Intentional Intersectionality: Amplifying Queer Voices of Color,” which included a discussion about advocacy and community featuring Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, a co-founder of Women Who Submit.
When Cody was developing the proposal for the Road to Joy for the City of West Hollywood Arts Department, he met Xochitl over drinks at Frogtown Brewery to brainstorm the event–the first time they had met in person since the AWP Conference in March 2020 before the full brunt of the coronavirus pandemic hit and when WWS launched their first anthology, ACCOLADES. Now it’s time to celebrate their second anthology, GATHERING.
Women Who Submit seeks to empower women and nonbinary writers by creating physical and virtual spaces for sharing information, supporting and encouraging submissions to literary journals, and clarifying the submission and publication process. Meet some of the influential members who will be participating in the event on March 16 WeHo Reads: How We Gather | A Celebration of Women Who Submit’s New Anthology Gathering.
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the author of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016). A former Steinbeck Fellow, Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange winner, and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grantee, she’s received residencies from Hedgebrook, Ragdale, National Parks Arts Foundation, and Poetry Foundation. She has work published in Acentos Review, CALYX, crazyhorse, and [PANK]. Most recently her poem, “Battlegrounds,” was featured at The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day and at On Being’s Poetry Unbound. She is director of Women Who Submit.
Chicana Feminist and former Rodeo Queen, Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera (she/her) writes so the desert landscape of her childhood can be heard as loudly as the urban chaos of her adulthood. She is obsessed with food. A former high school teacher, she earned an MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles and is a PhD candidate at University of Southern California where she is an Annenberg Fellow. She also works for literary equity through Women Who Submit, an organization that empowers women and nonbinary writers to send their work out for publication. You can read her published stories and essays at http://tishareichle.com/
Thea Pueschel is a nonbinary writer, artist, hypnotherapist, and yoga/meditation teacher that enjoys exploring the psychosocial aspect of being human and the neuroscience of storytelling. Xer multidisciplinary work focuses on the power of story, whether it is visual, subconscious, written or movement based. Thea is a member of Women Who Submit, a facilitator for Shut Up & Write, a Happy Writing Munich workshop leader, a reader for Fracture Lit, and a 2021 Dorland Arts Colony Resident with work published in Short Édition, and Perhappened, among others. Thea’s website is here: https://www.theapueschel.com/
Noriko Nakada is a multi-racial Asian American who creates fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art to capture the hidden stories she has been told not to talk about. She advocates for young people, teachers, women and non-binary writers to create a more just and equitable world. She is the author of the Through Eyes Like Mine memoir series. Excerpts, essays, and poetry have been published in Hippocampus, Catapult, Linden Ave, and elsewhere. She serves on the leadership team and as blog manager for Women Who Submit: empowering women and nonbinary writers to submit their work for publication.
Hazel Kight Witham is a mother, teacher, slam poetry coach, and writer who has published work in The Sun, Bellevue Literary Review, Integrated Schools, Mutha Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Rising Phoenix Review and Women who Submit anthologies. She is a proud public school teacher in LAUSD and was a 2020 finalist for California Teacher of the Year. Women Who Submit was her pandemic lifeline, nurturing a community of care and creativity that helped her write her way through troubled waters.
Flint is a queer writer with an abiding interest in hybridity, generative genre tampering and upsetting the applecart of heteronormative discourse about sex/uality. She earned an MFA in Writing from the School of Critical Studies at CalArts, and her work appears or is forthcoming in The Good Bits, Gathering: A Women Who Submit Anthology, CutBank, Erotic Review, Arts & Letters, NAILED Magazine, and Staging Social Justice, among other publications and anthologies. Jaded Ibis Press will be releasing her memoir, Blood, in 2022.
Women Who Submit began with the idea of a submission party—the brainchild of founding member Alyss Dixson—as a response to the VIDA count. Other founding members, Ashaki Jackson and Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, were brought in to help plan the first ever submission party held in Xochitl-Julisa’s mom’s kitchen (thanks, mom!) in July 2011. On that day six women ate quiche, created a sharing library of lit journals, set goals, asked for feedback on cover letters, and sent off submissions.
GATHERING is a collection of poems, essays, stories, and plays by Women Who Submit (WWS) members from New York, New Jersey, Chicago, San Antonio, Bay Area, Long Beach, Westside, and Los Angeles chapters. It is a way for members in our literary community to acknowledge the traumas of the past year and offer hope in the face of unprecedented challenges. In spite of all that has plagued the world in 2020-2021, WWS members continued to gather across the country, share resources, encourage literary submissions, and support each other with claps and cheers. This gathering of literary voices celebrates WWS’s commitment to empowering women and nonbinary writers over the last 10 years.
Amy Paffrath from Spectrum 1 News SoCal spoke with Women Who Submit member and author Thea Pueschel about navigating creativity and healing during times of sorrow and the WeHo Reads event on March 16. Check it out!
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