VIDA Monthly Update!

New VIDA Exclusives!

On Parsing

“A few months ago, Claire Vaye Watkins’ courageous piece, ‘On Pandering,’ was published on the web site for the literary magazine Tin House… The overwhelming response alongside my own conflicted reaction was strangely reminiscent of what I had experienced a few months ago when I heard Watkins deliver her lecture (then subtitled ‘How to Write Like a Man’) while participating at the same magazine’s summer writing workshop….

It was a truth-telling session tinged with a spiritual aura, in part because her talk was delivered in a campus chapel. Her piece deals with her own struggle to find and value her own voice as a white woman writer in the face of age-old and pervasive patriarchy and misogyny in literature….

As a woman of color writer, I sat in the pews taking it all in, her words punctuated alternately by gasps, laughter, and claps from the audience, the majority of which was white women writers. I wanted to feel the same ribald enthusiasm as they did but couldn’t. And I was frustrated at myself for this. Watkins ended her talk with the fiery manifesto – ‘let us burn this motherfucking system to the ground and build something better’ – the whole room burst into thunderous applause and hoots and hollers. I felt compelled to rise to my feet and clap even though I couldn’t shake the feeling that the celebration belonged more to the other women in the room than to myself. Essentially, the woman half of me cheered the takedown of patriarchy, but the person of color half felt incidental to the celebration.” –Kavita Das



Amrita Pritam: Sexual Politics and Publishing in Mid-20th Century India

“Writing from a minority perspective as an American, it’s often hard to find creative and intellectual predecessors who are writing from your culture of origin but who aren’t necessarily writing in English or just trying to be celebrities in the global Anglophone literary marketplace.  For South Asian writers, for women in the literary arts, and for writers who are looking to challenge the patriarchal hegemony of Anglo-American literature, Amrita Pritam is a must-know writer.  In the 1940s, she came to prominence as a political and feminist writer in India, first in Punjabi literature, then in Hindi and Urdu translation, and finally internationally.  By the 1950s, like Simone de Beauvoir and Bretty Friedan in the West, Pritam was challenging patriarchal values at home, redefining gender roles and narratives assigned to women, and openly challenging heteronormative sexual politics.  In doing so, she ushered in a new wave of feminist literature in mid-20th century India even as she faced criticism for her work from her male counterparts and from within the Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu, and South Asian publishing industries at large.” –Rita Banerjee



What are they reading? What are they writing?

VIDA Reads with Writers will give you answers! Find out who these great writers are reading on the subway, who they always return to, and who they can’t wait to read next. Plus, they’ll share what they’re working on right now and more.

  • Hannah Sanghee Park writes, “Six people I’ve known, read, and loved for years all released their wonderful first books in 2015…” and you’ll want to read each one of them. Find out which three authors she keeps in her heart, alongside Arabian Nights, the Bible, and the Greco-Roman mythology, fairytales and folklore from around the world that she read and re-read as a child. And while there are two books to be released in 2016 that she’s looking forward to reading, she’s been working hard to give her fans something to look forward to as well. “I just finished two television pilots I feel happy about, and I’m finishing the outline of a feature.” CONT’D –
  • Guess which books Wendy Xu loved so much in 2015 that she writes, “…if these books didn’t also pop for you, I feel like you’re popping wrong.” The author she returns to when she’s “sick of [her] own poems” released a book last month that’s “…a treasure from an overlooked genius.” And which book coming in 2016 is stirring such anticipation that she says, “I’m pining for it. I’m talking to it in my sleep. And you should start sleep-talking to the “book-length project of poetry and immigrant memory, tentatively titled Notes for an Opening,” that she’s working on now. “It feels colossal and unwieldy to me,” she writes, “and that’s exciting. CONT’D –
  • Brynn Saito is reading a “magical, heart-breaking, timely, and so thoughtfully curated” anthology that she’s delighted share with her International Poetry seminar this spring. Discover whose words, among others, she returns to “for her innovations in form and her vulnerable and fierce expressions of longing and grief.” And while her second book of poems, Power Made Us Swoon, will be out for you to swoon over in April, right now she’s “mostly trying to write write write and see what happens.” CONT’D –
  • Naomi Jackson is taking a short break from her “beloved Brooklyn” to teach and live in Oberlin, Ohio, and while she’s there she’s reading two books that are teaching her “about the relationship between Caribbean mythology and sci-fi and the links between African-American and Native American history, and contemplating the history of the academy.” She has a fantastic, long list of books she’s pumped to read in 2016, and is currently writing “a historical novel about a family of Afro-Caribbean women set in Brooklyn from the 1930s to the 2000s.” You’ll want to read all of these! CONT’D –
  • Learn which series David Tomas Martinezis teaching in his prose workshop, with a lecture entitled “Staying Ahead of the Swerve: Intersectionality and How to Write Unabashedly from Who You Are.” You can also look forward to his second book of poetry, forthcoming from Sarabande Books, and some other pieces on the way “…because my level of malcontent is directly proportional to my level of inactivity, and because I recognize my mortality, I’m going to work on my memoir/essays/critical writing.” CONT’D –


VIDAs, we need your help!

If your pronouns are she/her or they/them, and in 2015 you appeared in any of the “Main Count” journals/book reviews we VIDA Count, you should be receiving a survey within the next week. IF YOU DO NOT, please email us at

Repost, retweet, tell your friends!!

This year, we are seeking to include data at the intersection of gender, racial and ethnicity identification, sexuality identity, and disability of women writers in the “Main Count” publications we research.

These journals are: The Atlantic, Boston Review, Granta, Harper’s, London Review of Books, The Nation, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, Poetry, The Threepenny Review, Tin House, Times Literary Supplement (TLS)

Please help spread the word about our intersectionality survey to #helpVIDACount!


Going to AWP, VIDAs?

VIDA is currently gathering a list of events happening during the AWP conference in LA from March 30-April 2, 2016, and we appreciate individuals like you sending us your feminist, womanist, radical, activist events — both on and offsite! While submission does not guarantee inclusion, we want to hear what you’re putting together or events you’re excited to attend. To keep the list manageable, we will not include book signings or book launches this time around. The AWP Events on our events calendar and in this list have all been forwarded to us. If you would like to be considered for inclusion on our events calendar and in this list, send an email our way via this link!


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!

Call for submissions! seeks your content, and you can submit via our submissions page,’re looking forward to seeing your best work!