Special Editions

Image created by Phoebe Barker via Graphics Fuel: https://www.graphicsfuel.com/standing-book-mockup-template/

What the Water Gave Us

Essays and Poetry about Migration by Women and Non-binary Writers

“Wondrous. These potent, deeply affecting pieces glimmer with beauty and vitality. Highly recommended.”

– Irenosen Okojie MBE, author and winner of the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing 2020 and Women’s Prize Judge 2023

“This anthology is a wonderful feat of curation, mentorship, community, and lineage. Here, water marks an intersection that connects body, migration, and aesthetic inheritance; a continuous stream of new writing, perfect for dipping in and out of and embracing heterogeneous cultural forms.”

– Azad Ashim Sharma, winner of The Nicolás Cristóbal Guillén Batista Outstanding Book Award 2023 and Director of the87press.

“A book that is a sanctuary for those of us who feel like we’re living mythologies; waking up not knowing how we got here, viewed like failed characters in someone else’s folk or ghost stories. I breathed a sigh of relief when I read it.”  

– Jen Calleja, acclaimed author of Vehicle, translator and co-founding publisher of Praspar Press.

Sunlight on foam. Air bubbling into syllables. Tongues of fire. Tales of salt, tears and terror…these are just a few of the elements that await you in What the Water Gave Us, an exciting anthology of experimental memoir and personal poetry by women and non-binary writers from migrant backgrounds. Spanning seas and oceans, cities and countries, traversing borders and forging new geographies of feeling, our writers explore what it’s like to be of migrant heritage in a para-pandemic, post-Brexit Britain. The result is a triumphant collage of voices and experiences, languages and formal experiments that plumb the depths of migrant identity and positionality today. In telling us, therefore, of what the water has and hasn’t given them, they ask the reader, what does it give to you?

What the Water Gave Us includes beautiful original writing from Shirley Ahura, Susan Barker, Jenny Chamarette, Yvonne Battle-Felton, Selin Genc, Denise Rose Hansen, Emma Korantema Hanson, Claire Hynes, So Mayer, Emily Midorikawa, Yen Ooi, Shamini Sriskandarajah and Rojbîn Arjen Yiğit, and features a Foreword by Editors Elodie Rose Barnes and Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou and an Afterword by Jonathan Ruppin.

You can purchase What the Water Gave Us at Burley Fisher Books, Brick Lane Bookshop, Camden Art Centre, The Mosaic Rooms Bookshop, South London Gallery Bookshop and Tenderbooks.

Order the book via Tenderbooks website here.

Written by Contributors from Lucy Writers & The Ruppin Agency Writers’ Studio, Published by Takeaway Press. £9.99 paperback. 148 pages. ISBN: 9780957665828. Publication date: 29 June 2023. What the Water Gave Us was kindly funded by Arts Council England National Lottery Grant.

Read about What the Water Gave Us via these links:

Bookbrunch press release announcing the Arts Council England funded project (2022)

Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge press release (2022)

Lucy Writers press release announcing the Arts Council England funded project (2022)

Lucy Writers press release announcing the publication of the anthology (2023)

Interview with Award-winning author Irenosen Okojie in the Inews, with mention of the anthology (2023)

Bookbrunch press release announcing the launch of the anthology (2023)

Image created by Phoebe Barker via Graphics Fuel: https://www.graphicsfuel.com/standing-book-mockup-template/

About Lucy Writers

Lucy Writers is an inclusive online platform devoted to uplifting the critical and creative voices of women and non-binary writers. In collaboration with Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, Lucy Writers supports and promotes the work of writers all around the world, from inside and outside the college community. With a thriving Arts editorial, including interviews, reviews and features on the latest shows from Tate, Royal Academy, Sadler’s Wells, the National Theatre, Barbican as well as smaller arts venues around the UK, and original writing and previews from the likes of Irenosen Okojie, Jen Calleja, So Mayer, Amalie Smith, Ida Marie Hede and Davina Quinlivan, Lucy Writers aims to forge a nurturing and inspiring online environment for the next generation of writers and journalists. Tweet to us @LucyWriters and find us on Instagram @lucywriters

About the Ruppin Agency Writers’ Studio

The Ruppin Agency Writers’ Studio offers one-to-one mentoring services and manuscript assessment. Directed by Dr Emma Claire Sweeney – university lecturer and author of the novel Owl Song at Dawn and the non-fiction book A Secret Sisterhood – it pairs writers with over 30 published authors of adult and young adult fiction and narrative non-fiction. Mentoring packages also include advice sessions with literary agent Jonathan Ruppin, whose agency was set up in 2017 with the aim of increasing the range of writers from underrepresented backgrounds published in Britain. His clients’ books have won or been shortlisted for the Portico Prize, Walter Scott Historical Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Betty Trask Prize, the RSL Christopher Bland Prize, the Saltire Society Literary Awards and the Ockham Awards.

About Takeaway Press

Takeaway Press is a small publishing house issuing collaborations between artists and writers. Takeaway Press is based in London and was founded in 2019 by Pema Monaghan and Oscar Price. Follow Takeaway on Twitter @PressTakeaway and Instagram @takeawaypress.

Artwork by Sara Rivers.

Our Body’s Bodies

Strip me down to a single bed: still, I am a many bodied being. Padded, upholstered, slip seam softness, iron casted, grave-depth darkness, enveloping one, stacked on many old caskets; you see a body for one, I tell you, there are bodies (buried) inside it: for the body’s body is not one, but a hundred – and then some – like tales threaded nightly, to sleep violent eyes awake. 

Whether foam or loam, my mattress confines me, but the bodies within swim and play. I am your hunger inside; the ache in your spine; the longing long cold from the night before last. I am the politician’s sneer, pixelated piggy live time, negligence un-warded, for a homeless hawker’s cry. My veins are thrumming with your headlines, buzzing with your new lies, carotid in the half-light of another Covid day. My nerves are rigged by your new spiel, triggered by your faux appeal, tripped by a mute reel, looping tired lagging wires. Because, the body’s body is not one, but a hundred – and then some – rapidly changing circuity, flitting genomic technology, cyber motion primetime, digitised corporeality, buffering blood and cells.

Limb to limb we sleep, my bodies and I. Limb to limb, not frozen, but chattering through long cold nights. Inside they talk of poison, policies broken, votes and vetoes choking, unclothed bodies elsewhere. Limb to limb we try to sleep, cursing retold stories, coughing up old yarns, craving dormant myths, whispered in marrow and bone and flesh. 

Our body’s bodies are open eyed hymnals, singing light and loud and high, glimpsing up into cloistered beams of a crowded chapel dim. Our body’s bodies are tree roots, grasping down into the dank earth, wrapped around an old pearl, a crown, a skull, an old shell, of some prehistoric self.

Strip me down to a single bed: still, I am a many bodied being. I am the unsaid words in your head, the roll call of remedies unfeeling. I am the soft shame that went viral, the girl who smirks and shakes her head, the jaded eyes taking in redness spilling over our many screens. I am the distant flow, the distant ebb of murmurs beneath the sea. I am your violence revivified, repairing skin and muscle, retribution in typography, this page, these tabs, displayed.

These bodies are my body; we are a many bodied being. Touch this one, you move them all, our bodies’ body.

Everything is written on the body – but what does it mean to write about our bodies in the era of Covid-19? And is it possible to write about bodily experiences in the face of such pervasive and continued violence? Using different modes of writing and art making, Lucy Writers presents a miniseries featuring creatives whose work, ideas and personal experiences explore embodiment, bodily agency, the liberties imposed on, taken with, or found in our bodies. Beginning from a position of multiplicity and intersectionality, our contributors explore their body’s bodies and the languages – visual, linguistic, aural, performance-based and otherwise – that have enabled them to express and reclaim different forms of (dis)embodiment in the last two years. Starting with the body(s), but going outwards to connect with encounters that (dis)connect us from the bodies of others – illness, accessibility, gender, race and class, work, and political and legal precedents and movements – Our Body’s Bodies seeks to shine a light on what we corporally share, as much as what we individually hold true to.  

Bringing together work by artistic duo Kathryn Cutler-MacKenzie and Ben Caro, poet Emily Swettenham, author Ayo Deforge, writer and poet Rojbîn Arjen Yigit, writer and poet Elodie Rose Barnes, writer and researcher Georgia Poplett, writer and researcher Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou and many others, as well as interviews with and reviews of work by Elinor Cleghorn, Lucia Osbourne Crowley and Alice Hattrick, Lucy Writers brings together individual stories of what our bodies have endured, carried, suffered, surpassed, craved and even enjoyed, because…these bodies are my body; we are a many bodied being. Touch this one, you move them all, our bodies’ body.

We also welcome pitches and contributions from writers, artists, film-makers and researchers outside of the Lucy Writers’ community. Please enquire for book reviews too.

For submissions relating to trans and non-binary culture email dytorfrankie@gmail.com
For poetry submissions email elodierosebarnes@gmail.com
For reviews, non-fiction submissions and general enquiries email hannah.hutchings-georgiou.16@ucl.ac.uk
Submissions are permanently open.
Quotations as springboards, points of interest, notes of inspiration:

‘I am an anachronism, a sport, like the bee that was never meant to fly. Science said so. I am not supposed to exist. I carry death around in my body like a condemnation. But I do live. The bee flies. There must be some way to integrate death into living, neither ignoring it nor giving in to it.’ – Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals, p.5.

‘…Slowly I realized that getting better meant being brave enough to occupy my body again. To be brave enough to feel the pain of it, the weakness of it, to bear witness to how broken it had become. It was only once I started to do that that my body and I started to understand each other again.’ – Lucia Osborne-Crowley, I Choose Elena, p.110. 

‘What I want to show is how power relations can materially penetrate the body in depth, without depending even on the mediation of the subject’s own representations. If power takes hold on the body, this isn’t through its having first to be interiorised in people’s consciousnesses.’ Michel Foucault, ‘The History of Sexuality’ from Knowledge/Power, p.186.

‘Intersectionality is not the morcellation of collectives into a static fuzz of cross-referenced identities, but a political orientation that slices through every particular, refusing the crass pigeonholing of bodies.’ Laboria Cuboniks, from The Xenofeminist Manifesto (London, Verso), p.57.

‘…the sea was like slake gray of what was left of my body and the white wavesI memember.’ Quoted in Christina Sharpe’s In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, (Duke University Press, 2016), p.41.

Clash, directed by Amrou Al-Kadhi, © Fox Cub Films.


“Appearances take precedence over essences: Things not as they are but as they seem to be”

Hugh Brigstocke, The Oxford Companion to Western Art (Oxford University Press, 2001). 

The ‘baroque’ is an intemperate aesthetic. Once a period term to describe the visual arts produced in the seventeenth century, its use and significance has exploded over the last fifty years. No longer restricted to the fine arts, the baroque has fallen into pop culture and become an icon. 

Inspired by the work of Shola von Reinhold, this series takes ephemera and excess as its starting point for a new exploration of the b a r o q u e. It wants to look back at the past and queerly experiment with it, to rip it up and reclaim a new space for the future – or, in von Reinhold’s words, ‘to crave a paradise knit out of visions of the past’. The b a r o q u e is present in moments of sheer maximalism, in ornament, frill and artifice. It celebrates the seemingly bizarre and the unintelligible, the redundant and fantastical. Disorienting and overwhelming, it offers a decadent way of experiencing present and past worlds. 

In von Reinhold’s debut novel, the forgotten black modernist poet Hermia Druitt is rediscovered one day in the archives. As Mathilda goes on a hunt to find out more about this elusive figure, a kaleidoscope of aesthetic joy ensues. Mathilda, we are told, is one of the Arcadian types: those with an “inclination towards historicised fragments”, but not one infected with the more insidious forms of history-worship. Instead, as she explains, “I would not get thrown off track: I could rove over the past and seek out that lost detail to contribute to the great constitution: exhume a dead beautiful feeling, discover a wisp of radical attitude pickled since antiquity, revive revolutionary but lustrous sensibilities long perished”. This series likewise wants to use the past in new and unexpected ways, that trans the archive and queer the record.

Join us to celebrate the dazzle of the b a r o q u e! 
We are looking for: 

o Illustrations & performance photographs & film 

o Critical & creative writing, including prose, poetry & audio 

o Reviews 

o Collage boards (including costumes, fashion) 

Themes that might be explored, but in no way limited to: 

o Theories of camp, kitsch, artifice & irony 

o Queer icons and pin-ups 

o Versailles: Marie-Antoinette & the Sun King 

o The bright young things & queer British modernism 

o Decadence: 1890s, Harlem Renaissance, roman decadence on film 

o Ballroom culture: e.g. Pose, Paris is Burning, The Queen 

o Body horrors, slashers, vampire films: e.g. Italian Giallo films, Jenny Hval’s Blood Bitch 

o Historical Fiction: e.g. Confessions of the Fox, Peter Greenaway films, Sappho Punk 

o Fashion History and Costume drama: e.g. Met Galas, Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lynton 

o Clowns & the circus – cabaret & burlesque – Pierrot – the work of Paul Kindersley 

o Baroque in the visual arts: 17th century and beyond 

o Gender euphoria: e.g. Jessica Love’s Julian is a Mermaid, Andrea Lawlor’s Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, Angels 

o Steampunk 

o Fetish & kink: e.g. Slagwars, the London Vagabond 

We would invite reviews or themed review pieces on works like the following: 

Jess Arndt, Large Animals (Cipher Press, 2020). 

Jayna Brown, Black Utopias (Duke University Press, 2021). 

Sara Jaffe, Dryland (Cipher Press, 2021).

Salman Toor, How Will I Know, Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art, 2020 

Please get in touch if you would like to review any of these texts, or if you have proposals for a review. We will be announcing more book titles as the series progresses.

Submissions, if text, should be between 500 – 2,000 words. All submissions should include a short bio & author’s portrait (in Jpeg form).
Please email ideas and submissions to dytorfrankie[at]gmail.com 
Submissions will be opened soon and will run through to the end of 2021.

About Frankie Dytor (Guest editor of b a r o q u e)

Frankie is a writer and researcher based at the University of Cambridge, where they are completing a PhD on renaissance afterlives in criticism, fiction and performance, c. 1855-1914. They have been a reviewer for Lucy Writers for several years and are currently involved in a number of projects that aim to queer the archive, such as ‘Queering the Museum’ for the Royal Albert Memorial Collections.

Michaela Cole’s I May Destroy You. Episode: No. 7: Kwame (PAAPA ESSIEDU), Arabella (MICHAELA COEL), Terry (WERUCHE OPIA) – (C) © Various Artists Ltd and FALKNA – Photographer: Natalie Seery. Image courtesy of the BBC

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
  • Letters
  • Recorded conversations/interviews
  • Aphorisms or manifestos
  • Recreated WhatsApp conversations 
  • Poetry, Fiction, Flash fiction
Send your submissions to: friendshipandcovid@gmail.com
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 ReviewMAI 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.

Image by Andrew Sec.

Francesca Woodman, Self Portrait Talking to Vince, Providence, Rhode Island, 1977.

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 elodierosebarnes@gmail.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 surrealismFind her online at her website elodierosebarnes.weebly.com and on Twitter @BarnesElodie

Detail from Dorothea Tanning’s Birthday, 1942. Image courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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 CahunDorothy CrossEileen 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 ro.berts@hotmail.co.uk
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 VerseEye Flash Poetry and Severine, amongst others. Postcards in Isolation is her first editorial for Lucy Writers. Follow Rochelle on Twitter @rochellerart

Leonora Carrington, Night Nursery Everything, (1947), oil on Masonite.

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: lucywritersplatformlcc@gmail.com
For all other inquiries write to: hannah.hutchings-georgiou.16@ucl.ac.uk
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.

Photograph ‘Spring Girls’ by Hasan Almasi for Unsplash.

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: usha.akella67@gmail.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: hannah.hutchings-georgiou.16@ucl.ac.uk

Yours sincerely,

Usha Akella, Lucy Writers Poetry Editor

Illustration by Sara Rivers.

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 lucywritersplatformlcc@gmail.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 (tilda.bowden@gmail.com), or the LWP email address (lucywritersplatformlcc@gmail.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.

Our events are free or at a reduced rate for our members and currently run in London, and at book fairs around the world you can see them all on our site via this link.

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

Ulrike Rosenbach’s Art is a Criminal Action,no.4 (1969-1972) silk screen print,
courtesyof the Sammlung Verbund Collection, Vienna.

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
  • PDF & Word Doc of your piece (unless you are making a pitch)
  • JPEGs of any relevant images

Please email submissions to: lucywritersplatformlcc@gmail.com

For all other enquiries contact: hannah.hutchings-georgiou.16@ucl.ac.uk

Message & Tweet to us at: @LucyWriters