Disembodied Voices: Friendship during COVID-19
I’m a bad friend/So don’t ask me where I’ve been/Been avoiding everything…
Bad Friend, Rina Sawayama
We are curating a series of essays, interviews and stories on friendship, particularly friendship during the COVID-19 pandemic. How we think of friendship, intimacy and closeness have radically altered during this period. Lockdown and quarantine has had us relishing time with friends and family, or dealing with feelings of isolation, anxiety and abandonment – and sometimes a mixture of both. WhatsApp, Zoom and social media have become lifelines and changed how we communicate. We’ve reached out to old friends and been turned away by new ones; rekindled some relationships and discarded others. There are friends who may have inspired or infuriated you during this time. We may feel like a failure for not being there for a friend who needs us; or, there may be those of us who feel supported and loved in a way we never have before.
We want to receive honest stories about friendship during the pandemic. We are especially keen to hear from marginalised perspectives and people from communities impacted by COVID-19. We also encourage writers to think about form carefully. For instance, essays that are co-written with a friend or recorded conversations could be an excellent way of exploring this theme.
We are also open to submissions and pitches on the representation and concept of friendship more generally. How friendship is represented on television, film and social media, in books, music and videos, before and during the pandemic, is also important. Are there representations of friendships that have given you hope and comfort during this time, such as the problematic but uplifting friendship enjoyed by Arabella, Kwame and Terry in I MAY DESTROY YOU, or the outlandish and hilarious connection shared between Ilana and Abi in Broad City? Perhaps there are depictions of friendship that have appeared toxic to you online, such as that recounted by Natalie Beach about Caroline Calloway, or displayed by so-called “Squads” associated with various pop icons and celebrities. Such explorations of friendship across media may have fed into your idea of what ideal friendship is, or encouraged you to let go of certain people in your life. If so, we want to hear from you about the representation of friendship, and how it may have influenced you in life, too.
Topics on actual friendships can include:
- Support received from friends (new and old)
- Feelings of disappointment, abandonment and loneliness during Covid-19
- Outgrowing friendships / friendships falling apart or being rekindled
- Hibernating/self-isolation as healing
- Social Media friendships / how social media has shaped the concept of friendship/ the language around friendship (bestie, BFF, frenemy, squad, clique, fam etc.)
- Representations of friendship in film, music and on TV, Netflix, Prime etc.
- Fictional friendships in literature
Forms can include:
- Personal essays
- Photo essays
- Essays / Features on fictional / celebrity / artistic friendships
- Recorded conversations/interviews
- Aphorisms or manifestos
- Recreated WhatsApp conversations
- Poetry, Fiction, Flash fiction
Send your submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Submissions are open until the end of February 2021.
We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
Aysha Abudulrazak and Sumaya Kassim, Friends and LWP Guest Editors.
About Aysha Abdulrazak
Aysha Abdulrazak is a writer, critic and illustrator. She has worked in the education sector for several years. Aysha is interested in the power of words and creating more productive self-narratives. She is currently working on a project to promote self-empowerment and self-love in children. Follow Aysha on Instagram @aysha_azk. To see Aysha’s illustration project with Banan Alkhazraj, Bananabread, follow them on Instagram @bananabreadnco and @aa.doodles
About Sumaya Kassim
Sumaya Kassim is a writer, curator and critic based in Birmingham, UK. She writes fiction and critical essays on art and culture and speaks regularly at universities, art galleries and museums about decolonising histories and the power of storytelling. She is currently working on a creative non-fiction project on autoimmunity as well as her first novel. She tweets @_SumayaKassim
View and download this Call Out in PDF form:
The Dinner Party Reloaded
The Dinner Party Reloaded is a gathering of words, art, culture and food, bringing together writers, visual artists, translators, dancers, musicians, actors and thinkers from around world. Each month we invite 3-4 guests to meet virtually, sharing their work and thoughts while eating, drinking, and cooking because, as Virginia Woolf wrote, “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
We invite each guest to contribute a post. This could be: a photo of you eating a peanut butter sandwich while perusing the pages of Martha Graham, an image of you cutting lino-prints as you cook a gourmet Indian meal, or an extract of Ducks Newburyport (or your latest draft) read whilst while making baba ganoush because “the tail end of eggplants look like the blunt noses of killer whales.”
Much of each gathering is also spontaneous, as your host Susanna asks questions and discussions evolve between the guests, because as Montaigne wrote, “The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation.” Words and ideas bounce around!
The Dinner Party Reloaded is based on an extraordinary event hosted and developed by Susanna Crossman and Alexandra Marraccini, Les Ephémères: 24 women/24h, which brought together twenty-four international writers, translators and women from the book world on the 21st March 2020. Alexandra and Susanna met on Twitter, over a short story, a Tweet to raise women’s voices, and the rest is history…
So, even in confinement, it’s time to drink champagne (or green tea), relish the space and connections art and words give us, and dance on the table.
We’ll see you there,
About Susanna Crossman, host of TDPR
Susanna Crossman is a prize-winning Anglo-French fiction writer and essayist, published internationally in print and online. She has recent/upcoming work in Paris Review, MAI Journal, Neue Rundschau, (2019) S. Fischer, We’ll Never Have Paris, (Repeater Books, 2019), Trauma, (DodoInk, 2020) 3:AM Journal, Berfrois & more…She regularly collaborates in international hybrid arts projects. Her debut novel Dark Island will be published by Delcourt (FR) in 2021. For more: @crossmansusanna http://susanna-crossman.squarespace.com/ Rep: Craig Literary, NY.
Life in Languages – Open Call for Submissions
How do you reach the shores of a language of the soul?
Mireille Gansel, translation by Ros Schwartz.
Language is our primary means of communication. By speaking and writing, listening and reading, by using our tongues and our bodies, we are able to communicate our desires, fears, opinions and hopes. We use language to express our views of the world around us. Language has the power to transcend barriers and cross borders, and it also has the power to reinforce those demarcations. Language can offer a form of resistance against oppression, and it can be used to oppress. It has the power to harm or to heal.
In these times of shifting boundaries and physical separation, when meaningful connection has become even more important yet seemingly more difficult to attain, language has become vital. The words we choose to read, write, and speak can bring us closer as individuals and as a collective. During lockdown, unable to travel, I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to reading works in translation from all over the world – not only for the much longed-for glimpses into different cultures and ways of being that I cannot experience in person (for the time being, at least), but because they offer new words, new viewpoints, new ways of expression. Grief, loss, uncertainty, anger, hope, joy, love: these are universal emotions. Finding my own feelings mirrored in the writing of womxn from all across the world, from different times and different situations, across generations, is a massive comfort. It’s also led me to examine my own relationship to language and languages: what I read, how I write, the roots of my communication, and how that’s changing today.
In this series for Lucy Writers, I’ll share some of my personal reflections on how language has shaped my life and writing, and review some of my favourite works in translation written and/or translated by womxn. Works written and translated by the likes of Natasha Lehrer, Saskia Vogel, Leila Slimani, Sophie Lewis, Deborah Dawkin, Khairani Barokka and many more will feature in Life in Languages.
The series will also be open to contributions from 25 July 2020. If you are an author who identifies as a woman or non-binary, I’d love to hear from you. How has language / different languages influenced your writing? If you speak more than one language, how does this affect your outlook? What works in translation have particularly appealed to you and why? How is the current climate, particularly the pandemic, affecting your use and view of language? These are a few ideas, but feel free to use your creative expression.*
- Submissions should be between 500-1500 words. The style and form is up to you (feel free to send poetry, creative non-fiction, essays) however please do not send work that you have translated yourself unless it forms an intrinsic part of a wider piece.
- Send your submission as an attachment (doc., doc.x, or PDF) to email@example.com with the subject line ‘Life in Languages submission’.
- Please include a short cover letter and bio (no need to necessary list past publication credits – emerging and first-time writers are more than welcome!).
- Please also include a JPEG photo of yourself, which will be used to form your contributor’s profile on Lucy Writers.
- Feel free to get in touch with ideas / pitches / questions!
Submissions for Life in Languages will be open until the end of October 2020.
*Please note that Lucy Writers and our editor, Elodie Rose Barnes, reserve the right to not accept submissions. Unfortunately we are unable to pay for entries, although we are working hard to change this and appreciate our writers’ understanding and support on this matter.
About our Guest Editor, Elodie Rose Barnes
Elodie Rose Barnes is an author and photographer. She can be found between Paris, Spain and the UK (usually mixing up her languages) while her words can be found in places such as Amethyst Review, Clover & White & Neologism Poetry Journal. Her work is heavily influenced by Modernism and surrealism. Find her online at her website elodierosebarnes.weebly.com and on Twitter @BarnesElodie
Postcards in Isolation – Open Call for Submissions
During these times of self-isolation and remote learning, visual art can still be a source of inspiration, consolation and insight. We want to read your postcards in isolation.
Postcards in Isolation was a series conceived by Rochelle Roberts in March 2020. Unable to attend exhibitions and having had to self-isolate for the duration of lockdown, Roberts found herself increasingly staring at the postcards on her bedroom wall, many of which were bought when visiting a gallery or museum. This led to her writing about how the artworks reflected her thoughts and feelings about self-isolation, social-distancing and the uncertainty of when both will end.
In her pieces for Lucy Writers (see all Postcards in Isolation features here), Roberts has demonstrated that visual art can speak to us in times of great difficulty and encapsulate ideas and emotions that are often hard to express or come to terms with. Her work, always written with a clarity of voice and understanding, subtly embraces the grief, loss and fear this time evokes; each meditation seeks to connect, through art, with readers who are experiencing a similar deprivation of contact. Writing on artists as varied as Claude Cahun, Dorothy Cross, Eileen Agar and Dorothea Tanning, Roberts demonstrates that the artistic output of womxn can offer us solace, inspiration, unity and hope for the future.
Roberts is now opening up her series to writers who are identify as women or non-binary. She would like to know how a particular artwork – a postcard or otherwise – makes you feel and think during this time of social distancing. Why does the work or artist appeal to you? When did you first come across it? What do you take away from this work going forward into 2020?
Lucy Writers encourages contributors to work in their own style, to be confident in their own creative expression.* However, for this series, we encourage our writers to look at Roberts’ own features in the series and adhere to the following guidelines:
- Submissions should be between 500 and 1,500 words.
- Include your piece of writing as an attachment (preferably as a word doc or pdf).
- Please include a JPeg photo of yourself, which will form your profile on the Lucy Writers “Writers” page.
- Please also attach an image of the artwork you have written about.
- The subject line should include “Postcards in Isolation submission”.
- In the body of your email, please include a short cover letter and a bio about yourself (we encourage submissions from emerging writers so do not worry about including a published history if it is not relevant).
Please email your submission to Rochelle at firstname.lastname@example.org
Submissions for Postcards in Isolation will be open until the end of June
*Please note that Lucy Writers and our editor, Rochelle Roberts, reserve the right to not accept submissions. Unfortunately we are unable to pay for entries, although we are working hard to change this and appreciate our writers’ understanding and support on this matter.
About our Guest Editor, Rochelle Roberts
Rochelle Roberts is a writer and artist based in London. She has an MA in Creative Writing and Publishing from City, University of London and works as Assistant Editor for the art publisher Lund Humphries. In 2019, she was shortlisted for Streetcake Magazine’s Experimental Writing prize and her poetry has been published in Visual Verse, Eye Flash Poetry and Severine, amongst others. Postcards in Isolation is her first editorial for Lucy Writers. Follow Rochelle on Twitter @rochellerart
Lucy Writers Presents Night / Shift
The child looks out towards a turquoise sky, towards a nocturnal haze as luminescent as the earthen tones within. Night hangs in the balance, taut as a hammock string, dark’s light pawing the room for answers. A female figure, alive and lithe like a candelabra, stands in the centre of the room. Her curves are more definitive than an hourglass; her tiny black feet equinoctially turned out. Another sits, translucent yet present; skin paler than moonlight, a small hand resting on a golden orb. Walls become windows become the hushed blue landscape. A wooden dresser rears up in feline alertness; a chair edges the scene. Mysterious and aglow, night nursery thrums with life.
In Night Nursery Everything (1947), artist Leonora Carrington reconceives night as a feminine – and feminist – time and space. Painted at the beginning of her exile in Mexico, Night Nursery Everything gestures to a confluence of lands, stages, roles and relationships, both in Carrington’s life and conceptually. Ingrained in its surface are figments of Carrington’s own childhood: hazy memories of her mother dressed for an evening soiree and bidding good night to the children; dim recollections of dark rooms belonging to the family home, Crookhey Hall, and its gothic environs. But Night Nursery also reimagines the early days of Carrington’s sojourn in Mexico; it recognises the artistic friendships – with the likes of Leonor Fini and Remedios Varo – that shaped her life; it celebrates, with careful circularity, the birth of her sons, her relationship to motherhood, and her reconfiguration of the domestic as a realm of creativity and painterly potential.
Most importantly, Night Nursery frames the indeterminacy of night. It captures night’s capacity to shift our sense of place, time and consciousness; to transgress boundaries and bodily limits, and upturn the rules, restrictions and regimes associated with day. With Night Nursery Carrington creates her own enchanting nocturne, one which situates womxn at its melodic core.
For Night / Shift, we at Lucy Writers want to close our eyes to the rituals of the day and open them wide to the possibilities, sites, moves, sounds and forms only visible by night. Using Carrington’s work as an entrance into this broad theme, we welcome writing – reviews, features, essays, creative non-fiction, (flash) fiction, poetry – and art work that explores night and its multiple shifts (liberating and otherwise) for womxn in particular. Is night, as Carrington suggests, a feminine and feminist zone in itself, one which subverts daily codifications and rethinks day’s conditions? Or is night – also known as Nyx in Greek mythology, the maternal goddess of death, darkness, strife and sleep – still a period of discord, a stretch of time that threatens as much as it frees?
Submissions are NOT limited to, but may fall under the following:
- Leonora Carrington’s contemporaries; Surrealist artists such as Dora Maar, Dorothea Tanning, Eileen Agar, Nusch Eduard, Frida Kahlo and others
- Mythological conceptions of night as represented in paintings, literature and performance across cultures and time
- Female types and tropes associated with the night (the witch, the werewolf, the succubus, the bleeding nun, La Llorona)
- Night “states” (dreams, insomnia, night horrors, hallucinations, lucid dreaming etc) and the psychoanalytical theories that relate to them
- Famous night sites and spots (night clubs, theatres etc.) such as Studio 54, CBGB through to The Roxy, Fabric & Heaven
- The politicisation of night through movements like ‘Reclaim the Night’
- The night in cinema (Film noire, horror, thrillers)
- Genres of music and the night: Metal, Jazz, Blues, Soul, House, Funk, Disco
- Work that historically involves womxn and often occurs during the night (nursing, midwifery, sex work, cleaning)
Send your ideas or submissions (plus 150-300 word Bio & Jpeg Image) to: email@example.com
For all other inquiries write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Call Out for submissions under the Night / Shift theme will last until late Autumn 2020. We also invite submissions that lie outside of this theme and we will continue with our reviews editorial also.
Unfortunately we are currently unable to pay our contributors. Lucy Writers is a self-funded website and all our editors and writers give their time, work and energy for free. We’re incredibly grateful to all who support the site with their work and we’re working hard to find ways to remunerate all who work with us.
Lucy Writers Call for Poetry Submissions: The Flora and Fauna of Familiar and Foreign Places
Flora and fauna define our cultural sensibility; what trees and flowers we grew up with signifies ‘home.’ Transplant an individual to a foreign environment with strange trees and flowers, he or she is likely to feel ‘foreign’. Flowers are culturally specific in symbolism expressed in social events like weddings and funerals.
As a recent graduate of a Creative Writing MSt living in America, I’ve noticed that in addition to the gift of knowledge and friendships, my journeys to the UK have sparked an interest in flora. For the first time, I notice a passion to want to know the names of flowers and trees. Somewhere along the way between the limes of Trinity College and the walnut maple of Madingley Hall; between the splendid gardens of Rydal Mount and rolling vales of Cumbria, I’ve been infected with a green-eye. I walk in my Austin neighborhood now incited to know the names of the wildflowers and trees that I took for granted visually. And I notice, how this new world seeps into my writing gradually.
Right now, the bloom of summer is upon most countries. So, it seems perfect to celebrate flowers as a theme for the poetry issue. However as many countries transition into autumn, different colours, shades and sights of fauna are also visible. Send me your poetry exploring flowers, trees and Nature it all its dimensions. Lucy Writers’ editorial rules apply here:
We invite all submissions broadly around this theme, but we are also open to receiving pitches that counter or lie outside of it. However, Lucy Writers will always consider and very much welcomes work that is not directly related to our termly theme. Lucy Writers is an inclusive site for women and non-binary writers; we hope to be the place, room and home for your words, and welcome work by women and non-binary creatives of all backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities, irrespective of what stage you are at in your career.
Guidelines are simple:
Send 1-3 poems by 7th October, 2019 to: email@example.com. From short to long, but not epic-length. About 70 lines max. Query me if you have a brilliant poem that’s 71 lines and delivers to the theme. I am more than willing to read it.
If selected, I will ask for a bio, contact details and photo. Acceptance of submissions is at the discretion of the editors.
For all other enquiries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Usha Akella, Lucy Writers Poetry Editor
Lucy Writers Flash Fiction Competition in Collaboration with Retreat West & Byte The Book
Please note: the Lucy Writers Flash Fiction Competition is now closed for entries, but watch this space for future opportunities. Alternatively, we welcome creative writing submissions, pitches for articles and reviews throughout the year.
Send your creative writing submissions to our editor, Tilda Bowden, on the email address below. All other enquiries and ideas should be sent to email@example.com
We are looking for writers or aspiring writers* who would like to hone their flash fiction skills. This two-week online course offered by Retreat West (normally costs £125) and run by Retreat West founder, publisher and novelist, Amanda Saint, will help you create new work with daily writing and feedback sessions. The course runs from 3 – 16 June, and the deadline for entries is 24 May.
Send your 500-word flash fiction story on the theme of ‘Rebellion’ to our Creative Writing Editor, Tilda Bowden (firstname.lastname@example.org), or the LWP email address (email@example.com). The winner will be notified by 29 May.
The winner will have their submission published on the Lucy Writers site, in addition to a piece completed during the Fantastic Flashing course. The winner will also need to write a short article about their experience of the course. The winner will also have their flash fiction entry published in the Byte The Book Newsletter and will be given a Byte The Book membership (worth £120). The Byte The Book membership provides free tickets, priority bookings and reduced rates to Agent Table workshops, Book Fairs, Literary Salons and more (click the link for full details).
We look forward to receiving your entries. Happy flashing!
*Please note this competition is open to only women and non-binary writers. Lucy Writers wants to create opportunity for those who are underrepresented and our decision to keep this competition for selected groups and communities only represents this.
Lucy Writers would like to thank Amanda Saint, Justine Solomons, My Ly and Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone for their generosity and making this competition happen. We’d like to thank My Ly for her extreme generosity in sponsoring the winner’s place on the Retreat West online course.
About our Sponsor & Collaborator: Retreat West
Retreat West has been helping writers learn and get published since 2012. Tutored writing retreats, online courses and live workshops teach writers a whole range of novel and short fiction writing skills; while the competitions help writers to get their work noticed, get published and get feedback from industry experts. In 2017, Retreat West Books was founded to publish short story collections, novels and memoirs and it was shortlisted for Most Innovative Publisher in the 2019 Saboteur Awards.
About our Sponsor & Collaborator: Byte The Book
Byte The Book’s network helps our members make vital connections within the book industry and with other allied industries and enables them to become more literate in the business of books. Whether you are an author, agent, publisher or supplier to the industry, the community is focused on learning about the latest technical and commercial opportunities, and collaborating to maximum benefit.We curate regular networking events on topical subjects and run practical workshops on topics related to publishing today.
We also have a vibrant online community of over 450 members and 5000 subscribers, who support each other in their business endeavours.Individual membership is £120 a year or £36 a quarter and you can join us here.
Current Submissions Theme: ‘Kooky, Funky’, Radical Women
The true artist is every self-confident, healthy female, and in a female society the only Art, the only Culture, will be conceited, kooky, funky females grooving on each other and on everything else in the universe…Valeria Solanas, SCUM Manifesto, p.61
Writing in 1968, a year that saw revolution sweep across the globe, Valerie Solanas predicted a feminist revolt of her own. Cursing the gun-toting, war-mongering, capital-crazy antics of ‘Daddy’, as she termed patriarchy, Solanas radically envisioned a world where women hit back at the oppressive structures and systems of old. With her self-published SCUM Manifesto – a text every bit as cutting, virulent and obscene as its title suggests – Solanas offered no apologetic or reformist approach to rebellion. Instead she raved of ‘funky females’ who would overthrow the government, ‘eliminate’ capitalism and ‘destroy’ masculinist culture. Freedom, empowerment and greater representation would be realised with barricade-like activism, not flower-power pacifism; with verbal ammunition, not silent resistance. One particular commitment of this rad bad female-driven world, would be to women’s creativity. ‘Culture’ and the ‘Art’ belonging to it would no longer be guarded, produced and owned by the (mainly male) few. Culture – as a system of values, as a way of life, as collective creativeness, as a communal circle – was to be cultivated by ‘conceited, kooky, funky females’. No stranger to homelessness, loneliness, ill-health and social rejection, Solanas imagined all estranged and strange female artists uniting to find faith, home and purpose in each other; to ‘groove’ to their own tune – and perhaps for herself, to fend off solitariness, seeking solace and resolution in other women artists.
Doomed to fly solo, Solanas’ voice comes to us from the margins, from the pits of radical despair and ire, from the infamy of her past and from the angrily alive prose of her manifesto. In SCUM Manifesto words bark and sentences throw shade, as Solanas snarkily and satirically debunks long-held myths and prevailing prejudices about a woman’s worth in a man’s world. Shooting out metaphors and hurling slang-like phrases with caustic intent, Solanas performs the revolution for us. Whilst it’s doubtful she formed her counter-cultural community of ‘conceited, kooky’ female artists, as philosopher Avital Ronell observes, she now belongs to ‘the girl gang of Ovid’s Heroides…Medusa, Medea, Antigone, Lizzie Borden, Lorena Bobbit…’ and all the irreverent, radical women who pushed, often literally, for more.
It is these rebels, the #ImmodestWomen, Gorilla Girls, Soul Sisters and fictive fighters, even the controversial ones, that we want to consider in our latest digital issue for the Lucy Writers’ platform. We would like pitches or submissions on the female risk-takers, law-breakers, art-makers and world-shapers of the past and present. It’s the centenary of some women gaining the vote, the bicentenary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the fifty-year commemoration of Paris ’68; we feel, therefore, that ‘kooky, funky’, radical women is a fitting theme to explore. We invite reviews, features, creative writing (poetry, fiction, flash fiction, literary non-fiction, script extracts), photography and illustration on radical women who dangerously fought for change and creativity a la Solanas.*
*We invite all submissions broadly around this theme, but we are also open to receiving pitches that counter or lie outside of it. Each term we will put forward a chosen topic in the hope of offering parameters to those creatives who require direction. However, Lucy Writers will always consider and very much welcomes work that is not directly related to our termly theme. Lucy Writers is an inclusive site for women and non-binary writers; we hope to be the place, room and home for your words, and welcome work by women and non-binary creatives of all backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities, irrespective of what stage you are at in your career.
Unfortunately we are not able to pay for submissions, but we’re working hard to change this.
Acceptance of submissions is at the discretion of the editors. We adhere to the following editorial principles when considering features, opinion pieces and investigative reports: accuracy, fairness, balance, a full attribution to sources and a clear separation of reports from analysis and opinion.
Advice When Submitting Work:
Word count will vary depending on the type of submission, but for a review we ask roughly 400-1500 words; for a feature 1000-3000 words and for creative writing 400-3500 words.
When submitting your piece or making a pitch, please include the following:
- A short 150-250-word bio of yourself to be used as an online profile (optional, but encouraged for emerging writers. You may include contact details, website links and a twitter handle)
- A JPEG of yourself suitable for your profile
- A PDF & Word Doc of your piece (unless you are making a pitch)
- JPEGs of any relevant images
Please email submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
For all other enquiries contact: email@example.com
Message & Tweet to us at: @LucyWriters