The Queer Writer: January 2024

Image from the third Lord of the Rings movie, The Return of the King. On dark and fiery Mount Doom, hobbit Samwise Gamgee, sweaty and dirty, struggles to carry an unconscious Frodo Baggins on his back. Over Frodo, a text box reads, "Me, entering 2024 jaded and exhausted on all fronts." A text box over Samwise reads, "This is still Samwise Gamgee."
Originally found on Twitter in 2022 by Cassie².

Happy New Year! Despite the state of the world, I hope 2024 brings all of you rest, comfort, and contentment.

My sincerest gratitude for the unexpected rise in financial support for The Queer Writer that came in over December. You're not only keeping this newsletter going, but now helping me pay for my health insurance! Especially with everyone's living costs where they are right now in the United States, your generosity is deeply meaningful to me. I hope this newsletter has and continues to provide useful content and resources for you.

It's almost time! Applications open for The Novel Immersive for LGBTQ+ Writers on January 8th! Join a group of 10 novelists as you learn, workshop, and build community over nine months. Scholarships are available, class is remote, and queer, trans, and/or nonbinary identities of all experiences are encouraged to apply. We'll have a virtual open house on February 22nd (link forthcoming). If you'd like to receive email reminders during the submission window, please fill out this form.

Plenty of books are coming out this month, including a YA about being the first trans girl at an all-girls school, a MG fantasy rooted in Tagalog mythology, a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, a reimagining of The Secret Garden, a YA romance retelling of Jane Eyre, a romcom crossover of My Fair Lady and She's All That, a 12-year-old girl with fickle witchy powers, a nonbinary teen dealing with trichotillomania, and more!

Is there an upcoming queer book you’re excited about? Know of a great opportunity for queer writers? Read an awesome article about the (marginalized) writing world? Let me know! And as always, please share this newsletter with people you think might be interested.

Upcoming Classes

**FULL** How to Start a Newsletter

  • Friday, January 12th, 2024 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $85, scholarships available
  • 12 students maximum

With social media on fire, many writers are seeing newsletters as the wave of the future. Newsletters not only break away from the bombardment of information on social media (resulting in greater focus and dedication from your followers), but they also provide more control and the potential for monetization without ad revenue, data mining, or other shady practices. But all these benefits also come with work. In this 3-hour session, we’ll look at the basics of starting a newsletter, tips for success, platforms available, and exercises to help brainstorm personal approaches, providing students with the tools to enter the next stage of information sharing.

Queer Writing Essentials

  • Saturday, March 9th, 2024 from 10:30am to 1:30pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • $85, scholarships available
  • 12 students maximum

Writing authentic marginalized work can come with some unique problems, especially if/when we engage with the mainstream publishing industry or its readers. This 3-hour class was designed to help queer writers navigate some of the less-discussed aspects of marginalized writing, including how to introduce your characters as queer, creating effective social justice themes within your storytelling, handling “relatability,” and how to invite in outside readers without compromising your story’s authenticity. Peppered with writing exercises, this class will engage with works from such authors as Gabby Rivera, Andrea Lawlor, Rajiv Mohabir, Kacen Callender, Akwaeke Emezi, Carmen Maria Machado, Jordy Rosenberg, and more.

*While this class is designed with queer writers in mind, cisgender/heterosexual writers are welcome to attend and learn. However, please know we won’t be discussing introductory levels of queer representation or community, nor the do’s and don’ts of writing outside of one’s lane.

**FREE!** Transcestors Series: Pirates of the 1600s Atlantic

  • Saturday, March 23rd, 2024 from 11:00am to 12:00pm ET
  • Virtual via Zoom
  • Free!

How do modern-day portrayals of queer and trans pirates stack up to the real thing? Were there any pirates who we'd today define as trans? How did pirates view queer sexual orientations and gender presentations? What about other so-called political topics, such as slavery and disability? Take a look at queerness during The Golden Age of Piracy (1650-1730), centered around the Atlantic Ocean, with opportunity for Q&A. Note: This session includes mentions of queer/transphobia, racism/slavery, murder, sexual assault, misgendering/deadnaming, and appropriation.

Transcestors is a series of free 1-hour sessions focused on trans and queer (but mostly trans) history based on Milo Todd's research for his historical fiction. Those interested must have any subscription tier of The Queer Writer, paid or free, and must use their subscriber email to register for sessions. For safety reasons, sessions will NOT be recorded. Donations are not expected, but the opportunity to donate will be available during sessions. A Zoom link will be sent to registered attendees ~15 minutes before a session starts.

*Sessions are open to all identities, but please know Transcestors centers trans and/or nonbinary attendees.

Anticipated Books

Disclosure: I'm an affiliate of Any purchase through my storefront supports local bookstores and earns me a commission. Win-win!

Just Happy to Be Here by Naomi Kanakia

Tara just wants to be treated like any other girl at Ainsley Academy. That is, judged on her merits--not on her transness. But there's no road map for being the first trans girl at an all-girls school. And when she tries to join the Sibyls, an old-fashioned Ainsley sisterhood complete with code names and special privileges, she's thrust into the center of a larger argument about what girlhood means and whether the club should exist at all. Being the figurehead of a movement isn't something Tara's interested in. She'd rather read old speeches and hang out with the Sibyls who are on her side--especially Felicity, a new friend she thinks could turn into something more. Then the club's sponsor, a famous alumna, attacks her in the media and turns the selection process into a spectacle. Tara's always found comfort in the power of other peoples' words. But when it comes time to fight for herself, will she be able to find her own voice?

Lulu Sinagtala and the City of Noble Warriors by Gail D Villanueva

Lulu Sinagtala can't wait for a fun Christmas break. She's excited to hang out with her sister, Kitty, and best friend, Bart; to reenact her favorite legends from Tagalog folklore (like the amazing tale of Bernardo Carpio); and, of course, to eat as much yummy street-side inihaw as possible! But when a vicious wakwak attacks her neighborhood and kidnaps Mom, Lulu discovers the creatures and deities of Tagalog myth are real and that two additional Realms exist beyond our own. To make it worse, Lulu has superhuman strength and the ability to wield magic, meaning she's the only one powerful enough to stop the evil spirit who's determined to rule the three Realms at all costs. No pressure, right? Lulu, Kitty, and Bart set off on a quest to rescue Mom, where they outsmart cunning enemies, battle vengeful beings, and form unlikely alliances. Soon they find themselves swept into a centuries-long fight, unraveling secrets about Lulu and her past that threaten to upend everything and throw the whole universe into chaos. Can Lulu muster the strength (superhuman or not) to find out who she really is and who she can trust to save Mom and the three Realms before it's too late?

So Let Them Burn by Kamilah Cole

Faron Vincent can channel the power of the gods. Five years ago, she used her divine magic to liberate her island from its enemies, the dragon-riding Langley Empire. But now, at seventeen, Faron is all powered up with no wars to fight. She's a legend to her people and a nuisance to her neighbors. When she's forced to attend an international peace summit, Faron expects that she will perform tricks like a trained pet and then go home. She doesn't expect her older sister, Elara, forming an unprecedented bond with an enemy dragon--or the gods claiming the only way to break that bond is to kill her sister. As Faron's desperation to find another solution takes her down a dark path, and Elara discovers the shocking secrets at the heart of the Langley Empire, both must make difficult choices that will shape each other's lives, as well as the fate of their world.

Faebound by Saara El-Arifi

Yeeran was born on the battlefield, has lived on the battlefield, and one day, she knows, she'll die on the battlefield. As a warrior in the elven army, Yeeran has known nothing but violence her whole life. Her sister, Lettle, is trying to make a living as a diviner, seeking prophecies of a better future. When a fatal mistake leads to Yeeran's exile from the Elven Lands, both sisters are forced into the terrifying wilderness beyond their borders. There they encounter the impossible: the fae court. The fae haven't been seen for a millennium. But now Yeeran and Lettle are thrust into their seductive world, torn among their loyalties to each other, their elven homeland, and their hearts.

The Curse of Eelgrass Bog by Mary Averling

Nothing about Kess Pedrock's life is normal. Not her home (she lives in her family's Unnatural History Museum), not her interests (hunting for megafauna fossils and skeletons), and not her best friend (a talking demon's head in a jar named Shrunken Jim). But things get even stranger than usual when Kess meets Lilou Starling, the new girl in town. Lilou comes to Kess for help breaking a mysterious curse--and the only clue she has leads straight into the center of Eelgrass Bog. Everyone knows the bog is full of witches, demons, and possibly worse, but Kess and Lilou are determined not to let that stop them. As they investigate the mystery and uncover long-buried secrets, Kess begins to realize that the curse might hit closer to home than she'd ever expected, and she'll have to summon all her courage to find a way to break it before it's too late.

Most Ardently: A Pride & Prejudice Remix by Gabe Cole Novoa

London, 1812. Oliver Bennet feels trapped. Not just by the endless corsets, petticoats and skirts he's forced to wear on a daily basis, but also by society's expectations. The world--and the vast majority of his family and friends--think Oliver is a girl named Elizabeth. He is therefore expected to mingle at balls wearing a pretty dress, entertain suitors regardless of his interest in them, and ultimately become someone's wife. But Oliver can't bear the thought of such a fate. He finds solace in the few times he can sneak out of his family's home and explore the city rightfully dressed as a young gentleman. It's during one such excursion when Oliver becomes acquainted with Darcy, a sulky young man who had been rude to "Elizabeth" at a recent social function. But in the comfort of being out of the public eye, Oliver comes to find that Darcy is actually a sweet, intelligent boy with a warm heart. And not to mention incredibly attractive. As Oliver is able to spend more time as his true self, often with Darcy, part of him dares begin to hope that his dream of love and life as a man could be possible. But suitors are growing bolder--and even threatening--and his mother is growing more desperate to see him settled into an engagement. Oliver will have to choose: Settle for safety, security, and a life of pretending to be something he's not, or risk it all for a slim chance at freedom, love, and a life that can be truly, honestly his own.

Evergreen by Devin Greenlee

All seventeen-year-old Quill wants is a break from the family business. Flowers, plants, the generations-old garden. What he wouldn't give for a taste of the outside world. Normalcy. But his mom won't let him out of the house, telling him he's just not ready... All because he's a dryad. Well, not just any dryad, but a male dryad--the first ever. And unlike everyone else in his family, he hasn't a lick of magic. Just a shock of green hair, matching green eyes, and a growing frustration that there's an entire world out there waiting to be discovered. Until the night when the outside world--specifically his new neighbor--discovers him. Liam Watson lives in a culture filled with electronics, mobile devices, and social media--where there is no magic or even the belief in it. And as much as Quill finds Liam irritating (he's so cute it's annoying), he can't help himself. Now Quill's getting a taste of the outside world and of Liam...and he wants more. But all is not well in this magical, urban garden, and someone--or something--is changing the very essence of it. And wherever Quill goes, the danger grows...

Escaping Mr. Rochester by L L McKinney

Jane Eyre has no interest in a husband. Eager to make her own way in the world, she accepts the governess position at Thornfield Hall. Though her new employer, Edward Rochester, has a charming air--not to mention a handsome face--Jane discovers that his smile can sharpen in an instant. Plagued by Edward's mercurial mood and the strange wails that echo through the corridors, Jane grows suspicious of the secrets hidden within Thornfield Hall--unaware of the true horrors lurking above her very head. On the topmost floor, Bertha Mason is trapped in more ways than one. After her whirlwind marriage to Edward turned into a nightmare, he locked her away as revenge for withholding her inheritance. Now his patience grows thin in the face of Bertha's resilience and Jane's persistent questions, and both young women are in more danger than they realize. When their only chance at safety--and perhaps something more--is in each other's arms, can they find and keep one another safe before Edward's dark machinations close in around them?

My Fair Brady by Brian D. Kennedy

Wade Westmore is used to being in the spotlight. So when he's passed over for the lead in the spring musical, it comes as a major blow--especially when the role goes to his ex-boyfriend, Reese, who dumped him for being too self-involved. Shy sophomore Elijah Brady is used to being overlooked. Forget not knowing his name--most of his classmates don't even know he exists. So when he joins the stage crew for the musical, he seems destined to blend into the scenery. When the two have a disastrous backstage run-in, Elijah proposes an arrangement that could solve both boys' problems: If Wade teaches Elijah how to be popular, Wade can prove that he cares about more than just himself. Seeing a chance to win Reese back, Wade dives headfirst into helping Elijah become the new and improved "Brady." Soon their plan puts Brady center stage--and he's a surprising smash hit. So why is Wade suddenly less worried about winning over his ex and more worried about losing Elijah?

Cupid's Revenge by Wibke Brueggemann

It was never Tilly's intention to fall in love, but Cupid will get you when you least expect it. That's exactly what happens when Tilly's best friend, Teddy, ropes Tilly into a plan to woo his dream girl, aspiring actress Katherine Cooper-Bunting. It turns out Teddy's not the only one who finds her dreamy. But Katherine is off-limits. The only thing more important than Tilly's feelings for someone she just met is not hurting Teddy, whose heart has been broken in the past. Avoiding temptation is easier said than done, as Teddy convinces Tilly to help him audition for a local play as a way to get to know Katherine better--a complete horror for someone who grew up in an artsy family but doesn't have a creative bone in her body. On top of dealing with her growing feelings for the girl she shouldn't like (but who may like her back), Tillie is still grieving a loss while navigating her grandfather's recent Alzheimer's diagnosis. So yeah, that's a lot for any sixteen-year-old to handle without Cupid's vengeful arrows getting involved.

Emma and the Love Spell by Meredith Ireland

Twelve-year-old, Korean American adoptee Emma Davidson has a problem. Two problems. Okay, three: 1. She has a crush on her best friend, Avangeline, that she hasn't been able to share. 2. Avangeline now has to move out of their town because her parents are getting a divorce. 3. Oh, and Emma is a secret witch who can't really control her powers. It's a complicated summer between sixth and seventh grade. Emma's parents made her promise that she'd keep her powers a secret and never, ever use them. But if Avangeline's parents fell back in love, it would fix everything. And how hard could one little love spell be? This fast-paced, heartfelt story is a powerful exploration of learning to embrace who you are, even when your true self is different from everyone around you.

Just Shy of Ordinary by A. J. Sass

Thirteen-year-old Shai is an expert problem-solver. There's never been something they couldn't research and figure out on their own. But there's one thing Shai hasn't been able to logic their way through: picking at the hair on their arms. Ever since their mom lost her job, the two had to move in with family friends, and the world went into pandemic lockdown, Shai's been unable to control their picking. Now, as the difficult times recede and everyone begins to discover their "new normal," Shai's hoping the stress that caused their picking will end, too. After reading that a routine can reduce anxiety, Shai makes a plan to create a brand new normal for themself that includes going to public school. But when their academic evaluation places them into 9th grade instead of 8th, it sets off a chain of events that veer off the path Shai had prepared for, encouraging Shai to learn how to accept life's twists and turns, especially when you can't plan for them.

Okay, Cupid by Mason Deaver

As a cupid, Jude thinks they understand love a little bit more than the average human. It makes sense -- Jude's been studying love their whole teen life. And, yes, there have been some bumps in the road, and they're currently on probation for doing something that they absolutely, definitely shouldn't have done... but they're ready to prove they can make matches without ever getting involved. Only... Jude's next assignment isn't about setting up two adults. No, this time Jude has to go to high school, with kids their own age. And the assignment is a tough one: two best friends who are meant to be more than just best friends... but who aren't currently speaking to each other after a huge falling out. Jude thinks they've got this one all under control, and that they won't get involved whatsoever. Which proves that maybe Jude hasn't learned the first lesson of humans and love ... It's complicated.


The Pinch Request for Equity Submission

  • What: "As part of our efforts toward equity and inclusivity, the Pinch offers no-cost submissions to reduce barriers of participation to marginalized populations. Over the last decade, the majority of what we've publish[ed] online and in print is from authors and artists who have been excluded from traditional publishing venues. [W]e waive our submission fee for writers and artists who face barriers due to: race and/or cultural background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or differently abled, class and/or socioeconomic background."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: N/A
  • Deadline: January 1st, 2024

Hayden's Ferry Review Spring 2024 Web Issue: In-Queer-Y

  • What: "Hayden's Ferry Review is excited to announce a call for submissions that draws inspiration from the words of the renowned author and activist, bell hooks: 'queer as not being about who you're having sex with - that can be a dimension of it - but queer as being about the self that is at odds with everything around it and has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.' In the spirit of creating space, of exploring boundaries, of challenging expectations, we invite writers and artists to join us in celebrating the complexities of queerness through creative expression. We are looking for original, thought-provoking, and compelling works that are an inquiry into the multifaceted experiences and expressions of queerness. We invite you to share your stories, reflections, and creative interpretations of what it means to engage with queerness in today's world, and of what it means to queer the world itself."
  • Fee: "We will have 50 free submissions for underrepresented voices."
  • Pay: N/A
  • Deadline: January 1st, 2024

Jacobs/Jones African American Literary Prize

  • What: "The Jacobs/Jones African-American Literary Prize honors Harriet Jacobs and Thomas Jones, two pioneering African-American writers from North Carolina, and seeks to convey the rich and varied existence of African-American/Black North Carolinians. The contest, sponsored by the North Carolina Writers’ Network, is administered by the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill."
  • Fee: $10 for NCWN members, $20 for non-members
  • Pay: $1,000 and possible publication
  • Deadline: January 2nd, 2024

Poet Lore: Love Poems by Queer Writers

  • What: "From Shakespeare to Adrienne Rich to Carl Phillips, love poems by queer writers have been a cornerstone of poetry throughout thousands of years. It is one of the most universal feelings we share as human beings, and one of the most powerful. Whether intimate or platonic, the subject of love reminds us that life is more than the hardships. Love poems can speak to many topics: heartbreak, joy, grief, trauma, humor, strangeness, desire, family, history, and health. Like love, poems about love can boundary-less. For this folio, send your love poems. Send your heartbreak poems. Send your poems about sex. Send your poems about grief. Give into being without boundaries."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $50 per published poem
  • Deadline: January 5th, 2024

"Miss Sarah" Fellowship for Black Women Writers

  • What: "The 'Miss Sarah' Fellowship for Black Women Writers aims to provide Black women writers a restful environment conducive to reflection and writing. It also offers uninterrupted, independent time to plant the seed of an idea for a new writing project or to develop or complete a project underway. For 2024 the Fellowship will focus on the genre of Fiction."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $1,000 stipend and transportation to and from Asheville, NC. "Additional benefits will be custom tailored to the needs of the awardee."
  • Deadline: January 9th, 2024

Plumwood Mountain Journal: Queering Ecopoet(h)ics

  • What: "'Queering Ecopoet(h)ics' seeks poems that rupture and unsettle hegemonic thinking about 'Nature', 'the natural' and the environmental status quo. Taking cues from the work of Nicole Seymour (2013) and editors Angela Hume and Samia Rahimtoola (2018), we aim to gather a collection of poetries that 'render strange' essentialist, fixed notions of the natural world, and in so doing, get under the skin of 'queer as a verb' (Sullivan 2003) and as an ethical, ecological practice. From the queering of matter and form to spinster ecologies and found family poetics—we seek poetries of desire and embrace for the multiplicities of kinship, attachment and care in the more-than-human world."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: N/A
  • Deadline: January 18th, 2024

The Passionfruit Review: Being in Bodies

  • What: "For this poetry contest, we are calling for poetry that engages with the experience of being in bodies. We are always embedded in our environment. We inhabit physical bodies that exist in space while we are thinking, feeling, reading, and writing. Send us poetry that recognises that embodiment in some way: poetry about breathing and breathlessness; poetry about soft touches and the sensation of sunlight on your skin; poetry about the body’s limits, its pain, its power and its powerlessness; poetry which makes us cringe and poetry that makes our blood boil; poetry that reminds us what it is to be human, to exist in and to interact with bodies. As always, we are open to broad interpretations of the theme – feel free to surprise us and to stretch our imagination!"
  • Fee: £4
  • Pay: £250 (1st prize), £50 (2nd prize), £25 (3rd prize)
  • Deadline: January 31st, 2024

Bi Women Quarterly Spring 2024: Letters to Self

  • What: "Have you ever wished you could go back in time and give your younger self some much needed advice? Or perhaps you want to write to your future self about the moment you’re currently living in, so you don’t forget any part of it, or to provide some advice? What if you were asked to write to your present self—what would you say? Share your letters to yourself of advice, wisdom, and memories, with us for our next issue!"
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: February 1st, 2024

The Rose Library 2024 LGBTQ Collections Fellowship

  • What: "The Rose Library offers the LGBTQ Collections Fellowship, which supports research in Rose Library's LGBTQ related papers and archives that document the history, culture, politics, and public health initiatives."
  • Fee: N/A
  • Pay: up to $1,000
  • Deadline: February 29th, 2024

Alien Magazine: Fiction

  • What: "Alien Magazine is a publication with the goal of creating an archive of work, as well as an innovative and supportive literary community, for outsiders. We look to expand the literary journal community and its readership by publishing nontraditional work. As we believe that all great art takes risks, we encourage you to do so as well."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $20
  • Deadline: March 1st, 2024

New Plains Review: Prose (Fiction & Nonfiction) - Central Dissent 2024

  • What: "Being the first and only academic journal focused on gender and sexuality in Oklahoma, our mission is to gather and disseminate quality research, poetry, and academic reviews that explore gender theory, gender identity, as well as how race, class, and ethnicity shape society’s expectations of the individual both currently and historically. We are interested in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) that is thoughtful and compelling regarding issues related to gender and/or sexuality, but otherwise, we do not have any specific guidelines for style or subject matter."
  • Fee: N/A
  • Pay: N/A
  • Deadline: March 18th, 2024

LGBT Chamber of Commerce 2024-2025 Scholarship Application

  • What: "The LGBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation awards scholarships to build leadership and promote diversity in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and allied communities. Scholarships may be used for any postsecondary education, including nontraditional/alternative programs and vocational training. Applicants must provide proof they are a resident of Texas."
  • Fee: N/A
  • Pay: N/A
  • Deadline: March 31st, 2024

Bi Women Quarterly Summer 2024: More Than One Letter

  • What: "'B' isn’t the only identity in our yummy alphabet soup. To those of you who identify as bi+ and also as asexual, trans, intersex, or anything else under the rainbow: tell us what it’s like to be you! We want to hear about how your identities intersect, what challenges you’ve faced, or what opportunities you’ve been given. And most importantly, we want to know what it would take to be able to bring your whole self comfortably and proudly into these bi+ spaces."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: May 1st, 2024

GrubStreet Emerging Writer Fellowship

  • What: "The Emerging Writer Fellowship aims to develop new, exciting voices by providing three writers per year tuition-free access to GrubStreet’s classes and two Muse & the Marketplace summits. Over the course of one year, each Emerging Writer Fellow will attend a combination of seminars and multi-week courses of their choosing, along with a wide selection of Muse & The Marketplace programming, in order to enhance their understanding of craft and the publishing industry. This fellowship is open to anyone 18 and older with a passion for writing. The fellowship specifically aims to assist writers in need of financial assistance in reaching their writing goals. We particularly encourage writers of color, ethnic minorities, those who identify as LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and other members of communities historically underrepresented by the literary community to apply. Priority will be given to applicants who will be able to join us in Boston."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: Free classes and conferences
  • Deadline: rolling

Prismatica: Spring 2024

  • What: "Prismatica Magazine is a quarterly LGBTQ fantasy & science fiction magazine. Prismatica features short fiction and poetry from emerging and established LGBTQ authors. In the magazine’s stories and poems, readers can find fantasy and science-fiction of all sub-genres and cross-genres. We happily include magical realism, contemporary science-fiction, urban fantasy, and more."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: rolling

The Afterpast Review

  • What: "The Afterpast Review is a feminist literary magazine dedicated to uplifting underrepresented voices. We accept poetry, prose, and dramatic writing from all writers. ​Submissions do not have to fit into a specific category nor do they have to be about feminism. All accepted submissions will be published in the magazine."
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: rolling

Baest Journal

  • What: Baest Journal, "a journal of queer forms and affects," seeks to publish work by queer writers and artists.
  • Fee: $0
  • Pay: $0
  • Deadline: rolling


The big idea: should we abolish literary genres?

by Alex Clark

Genre is a confining madness; it says nothing about how writers write or readers read, and everything about how publishers, retailers and commentators would like them to. This is not to criticise the many talented personnel in those areas, who valiantly swim against the labels their industry has alighted on to shift units as quickly and smoothly as possible.

...Finding ways to describe narratives is not itself the problem, and nor is genre in the wider sense. An understanding of literary traditions that have formed over centuries and across cultures is not essential to the enjoyment of an individual book, but helpful to a broader appreciation of how texts interact with one another through recurring styles and motifs. The urge to categorise has had a deadening effect, reinforcing hierarchies that rely on an idea of what is “serious” and what is not, and by the genuinely liberating understanding of literature, in all its forms, as a playful, thoughtful, experimental tussle with words and ideas.

The Case for Never Reading the Book Jacket

by Tajja Isen

Point to any book on my shelves and I’ll tell you exactly why I bought it: because I heard about it from an essay or a list or a trusted friend or bookseller. Maybe I’m obsessed with reading everything available on the subject. Often, I loved something else the author wrote. I like the cover. I like the publisher. I like—controversially—the constellation of blurbs that tells me who the writer’s in community with. Perhaps the writer’s in community with me. They’re my buddy. My hero. My crush. My nemesis.

Rarely do I buy a book because I was seduced by the summary on the back or inside flap. As a reader, I don’t find such text all that relevant. I’ll skim it if I’m browsing in a bookstore or on a retail page—just enough to get the general contours. But lately, what used to be passive avoidance has evolved into a deliberate stance: these days, I refuse to read the jacket copy in full unless I absolutely have to. Jacket copy offers neither an effective barometer for predicting what I love nor reliable protection from buying things I regret. It is reductive, misleading, and—I have decided—none of my business.

Milo Todd's logo of a simple, geometric fox head. It has a black nose, white cheeks, and a reddish-orange face and ears.
Until next time, foxies! Be queer, write stories!