Monday, July 11, 2011

A lovely bit of magnolia-scented synchronicity in my life as a writer/editor...

I am delighted to announce the publication of Magnolia: A Journal of Women's Literature. I was invited to be guest editor for the inaugural print edition, which focuses on socially engaged fiction by women. Magnolia is an offshoot of the wonderful Her Circle Ezine: Feminine Experience and Socially Engaged Creative Practice and is now also a project of the Institute of Arts and Social Engagement, so it's mission is very close to my writer-activist heart. The anthology is a wonder, full of poems, fiction and creative non-fiction that delve into women's experience--in the body, in the world--with great honesty and power. Here is the official description of the collection:
In this first volume of a new series dedicated to socially engaged literature by women, guest editor Gayle Brandeis introduces us to powerful storytelling that speaks out loud the atrocities of our world, breaking the silence and taking pause. Included are the traumatic tale of a mother’s loss during a clandestine border crossing, the unionization of a women’s light bulb factory in pre-World War II Chicago, a child whose life has been stunted by a futuristic device she is stored in on a daily basis, and many more.

This year’s writers represent a diversity of geographies, stylistic sensibilities, and perspectives. Through poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, they universally challenge us to reconsider what “women’s experience” looks and sounds like—they require us to break our hearts, celebrate even the smallest triumphs, and to critically examine the seemingly mundane moments of everyday life, all through the medium of language. Featuring new and established voices, this collection is a must read for compassionate and thoughtful readers from all walks of life.
Pick up a copy today! (They are also starting to read submissions for next year's edition, edited by Karen Connelly, so if this project appeals to your own sensibilities as a writer, be sure to send in your work.)

In other Magnolia news, I will be reading my vintage essay, "Meditations on Magnolia" to help celebrate the online launch of Inlandia: A Literary Journey (for which I am an associate fiction editor) this Saturday, 1pm at the Arlington Library, 9556 Magnolia Avenue (fitting address!) in Riverside. Please join me and many other local writers as we explore the Inland Empire through the written (and spoken) word!

Now I feel like finding a magnolia tree and staring up into the lush, startling beauty of its blossoms...

Saturday, July 02, 2011

I am thrilled and honored to be on the Advisory Board for the Afghan Women's Writing Project, which offers online writing instruction for women in Afghanistan and a rare, deeply important, chance to get their voices out into the world. The AWWP recently launched a campaign, The Freedom to Tell Your Story, to raise funds to reach more Afghan women and unleash more of their hidden words. Through July 31, if you donate at least $20 (tax deductible) to the AWWP, you will be entered in a drawing to win a variety of wonderful prizes, from handmade jewelry to signed books (including ones by Amy Tan, Khaled Hosseini, Jennifer Egan and yours truly), cds and films. Donations will fund an internet cafe in Kabul, an expansion of AWWP in Herat, and an oral history project.

Please donate to this special campaign today. As the AWWP website says, to tell one's story is a human right. You can help restore that right to countless women whose voices have not yet been heard.

“When I don’t write, I am like an orphan child searching love of parents — I am like a broken lover — I am like a blasted Kabul street full of blood.” -- Roya