As we come to the close of this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of our Minerva Rising community. I'm proud of the way we value women and their stories.The work we do is vital in our current political environment.
This idea was driven home to me recently as I finished reading a book published by Inanna Publications, an independent feminist press in Canada. Dancing in Red Shoes Will Kill You by Donna Decker bears witness to lives of the fourteen women engineering students who were murdered on December 6, 1989 at École Polytechnique, an engineering school in Montreal, Canada. The perpetrator specifically targeted women, claiming he was fighting feminism.
I found the story particularly disturbing, because I lived in Detroit in 1989. Canada felt like an extended family member, but I had no idea a massacre of women my age had happened just on the other side of the Detroit River. And even more troubling, is the fact that the misogynist sentiment in play during that heinous event feels eerily familiar twenty-seven years later here in the United States. Most Americans – both men and women – have no knowledge whatsoever of those 14 women who were murdered for being women. Our ignorance makes it easier for history to repeat itself. That’s why our stories are so important. They remind us of where we've been and question where we're going. And the role of literary presses like Minerva Rising and Inanna Publications is to create space for women to tell their stories and tell them well.
Minerva strives to not only champion women writers, but to bear witness to the complexity of life, especially in light of the uncertainty of our time. We want to publish stories, books and poems that open eyes, hearts and minds to the challenges, beauty and struggles of the people around us.
In 2017, Minerva Rising Press will facilitate two new book contests. Our memoir contest, themed “Doubt and Wonder” will be accepting submissions from February 1 through April 1. We will revamp the Owl Award into a Book Award that speaks to social justice and/or suggests social change, regardless of genre. We will be looking for stories that leave the reader inspired to think differently and act courageously. We will also be branching out to help non-traditional writers who have a skill, insight or knowledge they wish to share develop their books.
We will still publish our literary journal twice a year. The reading period for the spring/summer issue, themed "Ripples," will be January 1 through March 1, and for the fall/winter issue, themed "Roots," will be June 1 through August 1.
Before signing off for the year, I want to thank you for being a part of our community. Without you, there would be no us.
May the New Year be the best one yet!