When Literary Mama was celebrating its tenth anniversary and I was an editorial assistant here, I wrote this post about how I came to the journal. The story I told then is not the same story that I would tell now; five years ago, I was still only beginning to think of myself as a writer. My first published poem appeared in Literary Mama in 2007, in the thick of my early motherhood years. I didn’t begin to prioritize writing, let alone submitting my work, until I had joined this creative staff, which at the time included Kristina Riggle, Suzanne Kamata, and Caroline Grant, codirector of the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Now, I’m finally looking forward to the publication of my first chapbook, which won the 2018 New Women’s Voices Competition at Finishing Line Press. (Slow and steady: my credo, in mothering as in art.)
In more than six years on the Literary Mama masthead, one of my greatest satisfactions has been following the accomplishments of the writers we’ve published. Some of them I learn about on Facebook. Others are revealed in a fresh submission from a past contributor with a shiny new bio. And sometimes, we get a heartwarming email like this one, which Ruvanee Pietersz Vilhauer sent us last month:
As a former contributor, I am writing to express my gratitude to Literary Mama for publishing one of the first of my short stories. “A Soft Wife” was published in Literary Mama in October 2011. It gave me the confidence to keep writing. This year, I won the Iowa Short Fiction Award for a short story collection titled The Water Diviner and Other Stories. It is forthcoming from the University of Iowa Press next week.
I am grateful to Literary Mama for another reason as well. My first novel, The Mask Collectors, is forthcoming next summer from Little A. One of the main characters in the novel is Grace, a character I first began developing in “A Soft Wife.”
Literary Mama has always welcomed emerging writers; now we want to celebrate the achievements of those who have found an artistic foothold in this community. Do you have a story to tell about how Literary Mama played a role in the development of your writing career? If so, please share it with us at LMblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com, in under 500 words. As we look back on fifteen years of publishing mother writers, we’d love to revisit your past work and feature your recent successes.
Images by Cat Walden, Danilo Batista, George Coletrain, Joanna Kosinska, Kira auf der Heide, Laura Kapfer, Rudri Patel, and Trinity Treft