You Too? 24 Journals That Champion Women's Writing
In this time of VIDA counts and #metoo awareness, some writers may seek literary journals that focus on publishing work by women and nonbinary, female-identified writers. Some of these journals have been working to support work exclusively by women for decades, such as CALYX, which was established in 1976 and has introduced many women writers to the literary world or published them early in their careers. But CALYX is in good company with other lit mags that share this specialty and have weathered the decades—as well as many that are new to the scene.
The descriptions that follow are taken from the journals’ About pages. If you know of any journals not mentioned here, please add them in the comments section below!
CALYX “is committed to: introducing a wide audience to high quality literature and art by women, providing a forum for diversity and underrepresented writers and viewpoints, discovering and publishing emerging and developing writers, and preserving publications for future audience.”
damselfly press. A Gathering of Women’s Voices “damselfly press seeks to promote exceptional writing by women. We welcome work from female writers of all experiences. We accept fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. We are interested in work that is honest and explores human nature. We think there is truth even in fiction.” [EDITOR’S NOTE: damselfly press appears to be defunct.]
Lavender Review. “Lavender Review was born on Gay Pride Day, June 27, 2010, and became a publication of Headmistress Press in 2013. Lavender Review is an international, biannual (June & December) e-zine dedicated to poetry and art by, about, and for lesbians, including whatever LGBTQ might appeal to a lesbian readership.”
Literary Mama, an online literary magazine, features writing by mother writers about the complexities and many faces of motherhood. It publishes book reviews, columns, creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and profiles of mother writers. Literary Mama features mama-centric writing with fresh voices, superior craft, and vivid imagery.
Minerva Rising Press “is committed to the power of women’s voices and wants to make those voices heard.” Each call for submissions is themed, and the journal is published three times a year.
Lilith publishes a limited number of poems and short stories along with articles and other commentary on Jewish feminist life.
Mezzo Cammin, An online journal of formalist poetry by women. “Publishing twice a year, Mezzo Cammin features poems in form by contemporary women writers; reviews of new books by and about women poets who work in form; and essays that explore a variety of topics, ranging from the accomplishments of a particular poet, to the possibilities of a particular form and the history and politics of canonization.”
Minola Review. A Journal of Women’s Writing. “Minola Review features all women and is carefully curated for only the strongest, fiercest, most honest voices. Minola Review is a space for us to inhabit our full female selves, to be messy, real, goofy, angry, and bewildered without worrying about censoring for or pandering to the visions and opinions of men.”
The Mom Egg “is a literary journal about motherhood. MER promotes and celebrates the creative force of mother writers and artists through publications, performances, workshops, and online.”
Mslexia. Based in England, but international in scope, Mslexia describes its mission this way: “At Mslexia we are committed to helping women writers progress and succeed, through our quarterly magazine, writer’s diary and annual writing competitions.”
NELLE (Previously PMS poemmemoirstory): “celebrates and publishes the best, most innovative writing by women (cis and transgender). The journal is a University of Alabama at Birmingham publication staffed by faculty and students and funded by the English Department and the College of Arts and Sciences. It was founded by Linda Frost in 2001 as poemmemoirstory, and edited by Kerry Madden from 2010-2017. The journal was renamed NELLE for its 2018 issue edited by Lauren Slaughter.”
Persimmon Tree, “an online magazine, is a showcase for the creativity and talent of women over sixty. Too often older women’s artistic work is ignored or disregarded, and only those few who are already established receive the attention they deserve. Yet many women are at the height of their creative abilities in their later decades and have a great deal to contribute. Persimmon Tree is committed to bringing this wealth of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art to a broader audience, for the benefit of all.”
ROAR: A Journal of the Literary Arts by Women. “A literary journal that exists to provide a space to showcase women’s fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We are committed to publishing literature by emerging and developing writers and we aim to support the equality of women in the creative arts.” [EDITOR’S NOTE: According to Duotrope, ROAR has been on hiatus since early 2018.]
ROOM Magazine “is Canada’s oldest feminist literary journal, and has published fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, art, interviews, and book reviews for forty years. Published quarterly by the West Coast Feminist Literary Magazine Society, also known as the Growing Room Collective, Room showcases writing and art by women (cisgender and transgender), transgender men, Two-Spirit and nonbinary people. We believe in publishing emerging writers alongside established authors, and because of this, approximately 90 percent of the work we publish comes from unsolicited submissions or contest entries.”
Sinister Wisdom. “Sinister Wisdom is a multicultural lesbian literary & art journal that publishes four issues each year. Publishing since 1976, Sinister Wisdom works to create a multicultural, multi-class lesbian space. Sinister Wisdom seeks to open, consider and advance the exploration of lesbian community issues.”
So To Speak was founded in 1993 by an editorial collective of women MFA candidates at George Mason University. Its mission states: “We believe in an intersectional feminist outlook which includes, advocates for, and amplifies the perspectives and experiences of marginalized women and nonbinary people. We are looking for poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art from various identities and backgrounds.”
TORCH Journal is a part of Torch Literary Arts. Its missions is “to promote the work of Black women and girls by publishing contemporary creative writing by experienced and emerging writers alike, to archive contributor's literary work for posterity and educational purposes, and provide resources and opportunities for the advancement of Black women and girls through literary arts.” [EDITOR’S NOTE: TORCH Journal appears to be on indefinite hiatus.]
TRIVIA, Voices of Feminism, “recognizes and encourages an expansive definition of feminism as an evolving, dynamic, life-affirming praxis with a rich history. We see feminism in all its manifestations, waves, and expressions—as creative explorations of the radical.”
Understorey. “Understorey Magazine publishes literary writing and visual art by and about women in Canada. ‘Women’ includes all who identify as such or as non-binary. ‘In Canada’ includes those who identify as First Nations or Métis, those with or applying for permanent residence and Canadians living abroad.”
Vela, Written by Women. Since 2011, Vela has published nonfiction by women. “Vela has taken steps to help close the byline gender gap by publishing exceptional nonfiction writing by women, and by drawing attention to outstanding work by women writers at other online publications, print magazines, and publishing houses.”
wicked alice. “Founded in 2001, wicked alice is an online journal dedicated to women-centered writing and art. Published under the auspices of dancing girl press & studio and a member of Sundress Publications, the journal seeks to publish work that is fresh, innovative & exciting in a number of creative genres, including poetry, fiction, essays, visual art, multimedia, & hybrid works.”
WomenArts Quarterly Journal’s mission is to “to provide a platform for women-identified creators and heighten awareness of their achievements.” It is a project of The Women in the Arts organization was founded in 2005 by Dr. Barbara Harbach, professor of Music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Women's Studies Quarterly “Since 1972, WSQ has been an interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of emerging perspectives on women, gender, and sexuality. Its thematic issues focus on such topics as Activisms, The Global and the Intimate, The Sexual Body, Trans-, Technologies, and Mother, combining psychoanalytic, legal, queer, cultural, technological, and historical work to present the most exciting new scholarship on ideas that engage popular and academic readers alike.” It showcases fiction and creative nonfiction, poetry, book reviews, and the visual arts.
This is not a complete list! Help us add to it by telling us about other lit mags that publish writing by women in the comments section below.
Laura Moretz was an assistant editor for The Review Review and for Boulevard. She has won the Rick DeMarinis Award for the Short Story and is working on her first book. She lives in North Carolina with her family.