Over the past week, dozens of people — men and women — have taken Vela’s #listtheunlisted challenge, naming all of the women writers they know in thirty seconds. They’ve done it while rock climbing, juggling soccer balls, rocking babies, doing push-ups.
These videos are microcosms of Vela’s overall mission: to put women writers on people’s radar, to ensure that people can rattle off a list of exceptional women writers just as easily as they can rattle off all the given male greats.
"Because you know that making great writing, editing great writing, publishing and promoting great writing by women takes time, money, and experience, and most importantly it matters. It matters in building a more just, compassionate, egalitarian, and hell, just plain enjoyable society. It matters to the big picture and it matters to the everyday, when you’re burnt out and you sit down and you read something that makes you write a friend you have to read this.”
"There’s value in sharing one’s stories, in bearing witness, in giving voice to one’s experience. And sure, the questions I was facing were ones a lot of writers encounter, even successful writers. But at the end of the day, sitting in the same bathrobe, hearing the sounds of the same traffic below, I couldn’t really look back on my day and feel like I’d done much of value, added much to the stream of life."
We have 9 days left in our campaign. Please share and consider donating. Keep Vela alive and strong, and make writing a sustainable career choice for women! Click here to go to our Kickstarter.
1. Because women writers should be as known, celebrated, and available to readers as male ones, and this is still not the case.
2. Because writing is WORK. And it can change the world.
3. Because writing by women is not, and yet has long been dismissed as, “touchy-feely wishy-washy lovey-dovey female emotional abstraction.”
4. Because your funding could put more women writers in front of readers, anthologists, and editors, at a time when women still make up less than 1/4th of the writers in many major magazines and anthologies and on major awards lists.
5. Because it takes a lot of time and labor from editors and writers to produce quality long-form nonfiction.
6. Because the world needs women to tell their stories, and feel confident to do so.
7. Because Vela is committed to literary citizenship, and we review and draw attention to exceptional writing by women around the web.
8. Because women writers in particular need to support and share each other’s work.
9. Because the byline gender gap will persist unless we draw attention to work by women.
10. Because women are often expected to work for free, from the home to nonfiction writing, and because their work is not seen as work.
11. Because women are often subtly encouraged to write on “female” subjects while men given meaty assignments.
12. Because certain important subjects are still framed as “female” and dismissed or marginalized, and women writing about those subjects are also treated this way.
13. Because you believe in changing publishing from the ground up.
14. Because you are a women writer frustrated with the limited number of places your work seems to fit.
15. Because if we don’t close the byline gender gap ourselves, who will?
16. Because writing BY women is writing FOR everyone.
17. Because we bring you stories from the Mexican rodeo, the Yukon bush, Ciudad Juárez, Peru, Afghanistan, Hanoi, Ohio, and more.
18. Because women are tired of having their work framed as “the story of a young girl.”
19. Because Vela will pay writers competitive rates, not $20, and will seek the funding to keep doing so.
20. Because we all read so much each week for free, and yet if we want to continue reading, sharing, and being inspired by quality work we have to find a way to make online publishing sustainable.
21. Because Vela operates in that terrain between the personal, the reported, and the essayistic, and encourages wide-ranging intellectual and creative styles.
22. Because we’ve published writers from India, Mexico, Russia, Zimbabwe, Australia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, and are committed to soliciting work from and publishing diverse writers.
23. Because publishing is changing to become more aware of the enormous discrepancy between how men and women’s work is received, published, and promoted, and because we have been a part of that change and will continue to be in significant ways.
24. Because you have read, shared, and loved a Vela story.
25. Because after running on passion alone for three years, imagine what Vela could do with funding.
“Answers and questions, then, are perhaps the wrong way of looking at the issue of what a living is and how to make it. We can only know this: no matter what, no matter how forward-thinking you are, or how well-loved, or how tenacious, there’s always the ominous pressure of daily life, and the possibility that the weight will eventually be too great.”
Vela contributing writer Miranda Ward’s F**k The Radio We’ve Got Apple Juice follows the journey of British band Little Fish and looks at what it means to “make it”: as an individual, as a band, as a musician, as a person trying to make a living.
Give $35 on our Kickstarter, and get yourself a copy. Help us pay our writers, move forward and meet our campaign goal!
Today, we bring you another Women We Read This Week, and another reason to ignore your weekend errands and chores. In this week’s round up, we’ve got meaty essays on the price of black ambition, cartoons and mental illness, writing with kids, and immigration and privilege. Happy reading!
"It’s not necessarily political awareness I’m looking for so much as life reflected back at me, in all its possibilities. The crucible of wartime provides ample ground for exploring the human condition – what it means to be in love, to be lonely, to be hopeful, to have lost hope, to serve something greater than yourself, to serve a lost cause."
Andria Williams recommends five phenomenal fiction writers on war in today’s Bookmarked column.
And because we need more women who use their experience to “make their own brand of art,” fund Vela! We have fantastic awards, including magazine subscriptions, signed books, Skype advice sessions, photo prints, a writing retreat, handwoven rug, and more- help us reach our goal and take the next big step as a publication! Click here to check out our Kickstarter.
"But that one choice was a powerful one. The acts of becoming and being a mother are usually lost upon taking religious orders, but the woman is the rejecter."
This week on Vela: medieval nuns and the dolls they worshipped, aging, longing for what isn’t, and baby jones. The Cloister and the Cradle, by Shannon Reed.
"I wasn’t deep enough to ‘get’ real literature, and I wasn’t cool enough to fit in with the outsiders. So I stopped writing. I let myself fall silent."
Lauren Quinn examines her time as an undergraduate, alienation in the literary world, and writer’s block in Neither MFA Nor NYC.
We’ve got ONE coveted ticket to the upcoming International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Awards as a Kickstarter reward! Since its inception in 1990, the Courage in Journalism Award has honored 100 women journalists who have distinguished themselves by reporting with extraordinary bravery and breaking down barriers for women’s voices to be heard. The reward is good for the event in both New York, on October 22, and Los Angeles, on October 28. Snag the ticket while it’s still here, and support both incredible women journalists and Vela’s growth!
In 2010, Kalief Browder was accused of stealing a backpack. He then spent three years in Rikers Island’s Robert N. Davoren Center—more than half of that time in solitary confinement—without ever standing trial. Jennifer Gonnerman investigates the case and offers a rare account of life inside the notorious jail for adolescents, in this week’s issue.
Photograph by Zach Gross