October 2013 marked Literary Mama’s ten year anniversary! On Wednesdays for the next few months we’ll celebrate this milestone with editors and columnists, both past and present. They’ll share what being a part of Literary Mama has meant to them, what they hope for the future of the magazine, and how Literary Mama has shaped their writing, their mothering, and their lives.
Kate Hopper– Literary Reflections Editor
I began working with mother writers in 2006 when I developed a class at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis for women interested in writing about motherhood. My own daughter had been born prematurely a few years earlier, and I remembered the desperation I had felt during those long, isolating months after her birth. I remembered the way I had craved stories that would reflect some of the conflicted emotions I was experiencing as a new mother. And so I launched Motherhood & Words as a way to offer support, encouragement and guidance to other women wanting to process their motherhood experiences through writing.
That class turned into another and another. I was hooked—hooked on the sense of community that develops between women all grappling with the joys and sorrows and struggles of being a parent; hooked on the dark and beautiful truths revealed in my students’ writing; hooked on the ways that we encouraged each other to go deeper, to be brave, to not give up.
Not long after that first class, I started a blog to discuss motherhood literature and the constant juggling of life as a writer mama. My community grew, and I began reading the blogs of other mother writers, which led me to mamazine, Brain, Child and Literary Mama—journals that celebrated literary writing about motherhood, journals that didn’t shy away from the dark and vulnerable, journals that celebrated the joys of being a parent without being clichéd. And then in early 2009 I happened to be on a panel at a writing conference with a couple of Literary Mama editors, and as I sat back and listened to their wise words, I knew that I wanted to be involved with the magazine. These women were kindred spirits.
By August of that year, I had accepted a position as co-editor in Literary Reflections—the perfect place for me to help mothers shape their experiences as reading, writing mothers into essays that offer comfort and recognition to other literary mamas out in the world. I knew I had found a home.
I have now been at Literary Mama for almost five years, and I can honestly say that I don’t know of another journal that spends as much time working with writers on their submissions. And what I’ve realized over these last years is that Literary Mama is not only a place for readers to come and dive into great writing about motherhood; it’s also a place for writers to be nurtured, to hone their craft, to be encouraged to dive deep and find the true heart of what they’ve come to say. That’s a beautiful thing. Thank you, Literary Mama!