VIDA Monthly Update!

Winter is roaring and so is VIDA Reads with Writers! We have interviews with writers we love about the books they’re reading now, writers they can’t stop reading, what they can’t wait to read next, which of their own projects we can look forward to on the horizon, and more.

    •       Discover which parallels Krystal Languel found between Muriel Rukeyser’s novel,Savage Coast, and the 2015 attacks in Paris, and which book about Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes that she found “RIVETING!” Languel adds, “I’m going to write [the author] a fan letter! That’s how awesome.” CONT’D–
    •       Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib writes that he “learned to write at the feet of a lot of black women.” Find out whose words he returns to time and again—Josephine Baker is among them—and the “incredible trifecta of poetry books” he’s reading now. CONT’D–
    •       Ever wonder which book Wendy C. Ortiz keeps on her night table? Ortiz says that we can look out for her book, Bruja, and how her tumblr notebook and “its revisions and new incarnations” might feed into her next project. CONT’D–
  •     Amber Atiya has a great list of books of the moment and books that remain, and she assures us that on her own horizon, “There’s definitely a full-length manuscript brewing, but, really, I’m just writing and writing and reading, trying to stay sane, taking it one day at a time.” Good advice for us all! CONT’D–
  •      Find out which read Kima Jones calls “one of the best decisions I’ve made this year,” and which Toni Morrison novel she reads annually before her birthday, and which Edwidge Danticat book she reads before every New Year. CONT’D–

Keep an eye out for more from this column because we have many more VIDA Reads with Writers to share!

In Melissa Studdard’s other new column, VIDA Voices and Views, she interviews poet and editor, Don Share, in part one of a two-part interview. “In this segment, Share reads his poem ‘Food for Thought’ from the collection Squandermania and discusses topics ranging the power of the imagination to effect change in the world to Poetry magazine’s open door policy to language’s complicity in the mania for squandering resources.” You’ll want to watch it!

What’s hot right now—

A List of Women-Run Presses

“This list exists because I went looking for this resource and couldn’t find it…”

–Kate Angus

We are delighted to have this running Women-Founded &/or Primarily Female-Run Book Presses, Organizations, & Literary Magazines, and we hope that you’ll peruse them and discover new and old loves, and we hope you will help us expand the list. Please submit further women-founded and/or female-run presses to our VIDA Resources here: Please send additional presses, organizations, and literary magazines to include in this list to Olivia Postelli, and please remember to include the full name of the organization, contact information, and website link.



 On Fear, Fearlessness, and Intergenerational Trauma

“My mother doesn’t dwell in the past, so she smiles and shakes her head when I ask about her life during the Khmer Rouge regime. Mom, what did you do? Did you have to work? She shrugs. Her eyes are soft, then perplexed by my eagerness to bear witness to her story. What story? What do you want to know? In order to live her life and support me and my brother, she explains, it is necessary to move on. Forget the past. Don’t think about it. But I am not like her. I can’t forget the past and I always think about it. Yet, my mother seems to evade my questions on every rare visit home. Sometimes I give up asking. Her silence around her personal history often leaves me with doubts on how to begin telling my own.

I experience fears in my writing; in school, I would withhold certain poems from workshop, afraid that my classmates wouldn’t know how to respond to the history behind my vulnerability, afraid that I would have to explain stories already so marginalized only to discover that my words, after speaking them aloud, didn’t hold space with others.” –Monica Sok



Report from the Field: Racial Invisibility and Erasure in the Writing Workshop

“In a novel excerpt I turned into workshop, my narrator uses the word ‘chinky.’ My narrator is a Korean American woman speaking to a successful Chinese American woman, accusing her of being a sell-out. One of my peers in the workshop, another woman, white, circled that word—‘chinky’—and wrote in the margin: ‘Really? Seems too harsh.’ On another page, next to a description of the narrator expressing anger at impossible beauty standards, which for Asians can mean looking more white, she wrote: ‘What?! Wow! Really?’ After class, reading this, seeing the circles and arrows drawn on the page, I felt a discomfort that I’ve grown too accustomed to, a feeling that was once paired with shame, later with anger, and now with annoyance. It’s triggered when I’m confronted with a person who is confused or surprised that my racial background and immigrant family would make my experience different from her own, or when a person is surprised or in disbelief that racism exists, affects people’s lives, or that I think it shouldn’t be tolerated.” –Lisa Lee



With preparations for the 2015 VIDA Count gearing up, we are working hard to raise funds.VIDA is 100% volunteer-run by committed people who believe in VIDA’s mission and give their time freely to make it happen. Through donationsyou enable us to do our work. We appreciate donations of any amount, so if you would like to support women in the literary arts, you can visit our donate page ( and become a part of the movement. Thank you so much!

AWP Events – Send us your feminist, womanist, radical, activist events – both on & offsite!

VIDA is currently listing events happening during the AWP conference in LA from March 30-April 2, 2016 on our calendar.

Please send details, including date, time, name/s, location, web links (when possible), cost (if any), etc. to Amy King at

Call for submissions! seeks your content! Please check our Submission Guidelines here or email queries directly to Amy King aking@vidaweb.orgWe’re looking forward to seeing your best work!