VIDA Monthly Update!


Please welcome our five new Advisory Board members: Jennifer Baumgardner, Soraya Chemaly, Corinne Segal, Cheryl Strayed and Jamia Wilson!

These accomplished feminist activists and writers will serve on our Advisory Board as mentors and advocates, lending their years of expertise and experience as we continue our work on behalf of women in literary arts. We are grateful for the support and wisdom of all these amazing women, and proud to add them to our Advisory Board.




Readings by:

Charlie Jane Anders,  Sheila Black,  Wendy C. Ortiz, Gregory Pardlo, Christopher Soto (aka Loma), Michelle Tea

Musical guests:

Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles  &   DJ Marion Hodges

$10 in advance / $15 at the door


Co-sponsored by Ace Hotel & General Assembly

Segovia Hall is ADA-compliant

Facebook details –


VIDA’s, 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 fromMarch 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. Take a look at the events we’ve listed so far, and 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!


Pressing Reports from the Field


This March 6 Report from the Field is a post by a collective of anonymous writers and artists regarding the developing controversy concerning noted literary figure Thomas Sayers Ellis.


“We are a collective of writers and artists who stand in solidarity with women who have been subject to harassment, threats, and assault by an artist in our creative communities. In light of an article posted on Feb 29th, many stories about the named individual began to be shared.

We have collected testimonies of women who have had these experiences, and wish to remain anonymous due to fear of backlash that is almost certain in the current climate which distrusts women. We want to note that this is risky work for all involved. We salute the bravery of those who have decided to share their stories. Our goal for them is to heal and get free of the shame and trauma caused by their experiences.

The following sample of de-identified disclosures are from women who have experienced traumatic interactions with a respected literary arts community member. In the recent weeks, we have learned the extent of his violations — a system of disturbing sexual and professional misconduct within and beyond learning spaces. The damage reaches back much longer than one decade and stops today. The community is late in its action but will be dutiful in affirming those impacted by his behavior, firm in its response, and swift in ending his access to spaces where safety is demanded. We begin our efforts with these disclosures of interactions with Thomas Sayers Ellis. We appreciate these women’s strength in putting their stories in strangers’ hands.”

TRIGGER WARNING:  This piece contains depictions of sexual assault and other violence which may be triggering to survivors.



Report from the Field: Aswang

“Recently, I turned forty. By society’s standards, I’ve failed in many ways. I am not married. I have no children. I very suspiciously live alone, with a large black dog. I write and speak my mind and work for a labor union that represents workers in low wage industries. I’ve been known to yell at strange men. And who knows what I do at night? What happens in my bed? I lay down with women. I read. I drink. I eat. I get fat. I run. I sweat. I work. I shrink. I have good manners. I’m prompt. I’m motivated and encouraged by the satisfaction and affection of others. In a way, I could be deemed a shape shifter. No one can really put a finger on me. My appearance is radically altered by clothing and hairstyles.

Years ago, on the herkind site, in a conversation with Roxane Gay I was asked if I thought the idea or physical reality of space was different for women than for men.

At the time, I said I felt women’s relationship to space was that of prey…. If power and freedom is what makes me a hunted thing, I say bring it. This is a year to embrace opinions and recklessness, and if I’m threatening to some men then I must be doing something right. This is why I’m calling it my aswang year.” –Melissa Chadburn



Making your reading list? Here are your writer-approved suggestions

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.

  • J. Mae Barizo grewup in rural Southern Ontario, close to the Six Nations reserves, which is why she returns to the words of these six Canadian poets for inspiration. Right now, Barizo says she’s “[w]orking on a novel and a new book of poems.  Just finished writing the text for a post-feminist song cycle, SWOON. The music is by Doug Balliett and will be sung by Canadian soprano, Charlotte Mundy. Looking forward to hearing it performed!” CONT’D –
  • Which novel 1925 novel, which also became an infamous Marilyn Monroe film, is Iris Cushing reading and loving? She writes, “My students at Queens College are reading it for our comedy and satire-based English class. I am kind of stunned at how germane it is with contemporary American life….It’s such an excellent satire on mistaking the image of power for power itself.” You’ll also find out which book of poetry, “addressing insomnia and all of its wild implications,” felt medicinal for Cushing’s own insomnia.  And right now, she’s working on this: “My grandmother, Jean Byers Cushing, was a writer. She published a few short stories in major magazines in the late 1940s. Last year, my father sent me a bunch of her journals, and I have been experimenting with writing in collaboration with her language—it’s kind of a way of spending time with her, although she died a long time ago. I love the feeling that she’s in the room with me, and that we’re getting to write alongside each other….” CONT’D –
  • Tamiko Beyer is enjoying “how it feels to be encompassed by prose.” Find out which books are encompassing her these days. In 2015, two books popped for her, one with an “oceanic plot and vivid characters,” and the other which she read “one fall afternoon by the lake.” As far as the words she returns to, she has a “go-to poetry shelf,” part of which she shares with us. What’s coming up next for Beyer, you ask? “I am slowly, slowly working on a second manuscript. So far, it’s a combination more queer::eco::poetry plus a kind of speculative eco [prose] poetry.” CONT’D –
  • Monica Wendel just finished a book that’s inspiring her to run! Meanwhile, other books have made her cry on the floor and others still remind her why she loves to write. What’s Wendel doing now? “I just finished working on my chapbook, English Kills, which is coming out from Autumn House Press…. Lately, I’ve been trying to facilitate others’ creativity, both by teaching and by hosting readings in my living room (or, as my roommate would say, ‘in our decrepit palace’). In December, I teamed up with Parallax/Singing Saw for a joyous holiday party, and in February, Mike Lala, Amy Lawless, Ruthie Rodriguez, and Rosebud Ben-Oni read their work during an evening full of magic and spilled wine. I hope for more readings in the future, and I’m open to collaborations with journals and organizations — just get in touch!” CONT’D –
  • Maxe Crandall recently read a novel that they say is “crucial & convenient because I’m teaching at Stanford this year.” They also read “three really great debuts” that you’ll want to know about. You’ll also want to know which book of poetry and which soon-to-be-novel (from a chapbook) they are looking forward to this year. On the horizon, you’ll have this to be excited about from Crandall: “I’m ‘finishing up’ three sprawling projects: a collection of performance writing/poets theater that will include my new play ‘Boccaccio on Ice,’ the biography, Gertrude Stein and Men, and my ultimate revenge tragedy/verse novel, The Nancy Reagan Collection.” CONT’D –
  • francine j. harris is keeping a book in her car, which is “[d]ifficult and prodding; it sometimes dares you to laugh,” for her wait at the post office. She keeps another book,  “[a]propos for the way the poems want to move through rooms and wrestle geometric space,” ready at the bathtub. The 2015 book of poetry that popped for her “…interrogates self and space. And while it does so at times ironically, it’s only a little hipster. There can’t, after all, be too many hipster poems that wax motherhood, or circumnavigate the architecture of Ancient Rome.” She writes that one of its poems in particular “…is cold in me like the salty fries I munch for days from containers on the floor of my car.” What can we look forward to from harris? “I’ve been working on a long poem about my father and wondering where I might send it off to. Currently, it’s about 10 pages and I’m not totally sure it’s done. Crazy long lines. I gave a reading of it here in St. Louis and it took up the whole reading time. Also working on trying to schedule events and readings for my second book, Play Dead, coming in April….” CONT’D –


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!