Above all else at Cambridge Common Writers, our goal is to support our very talented writers in all genres. To that extent, this page is dedicated to providing you with writing resources and opportunities, as well as to promote alum-led projects and publications.
What Cambridge Common Writers Can Do For You
Here at CCW, our mission is to promote, celebrate, and provide opportunities for our fellow alums. To that extent, here are the various resources we have at your disposal:
Publication News & Announcements
This post goes out every few weeks to share the latest publication news with our community. If you’ve had a story, poem, or essay published, an upcoming workshop, an exciting announcement about a book or a play, or anything else you want to share with your fellow writers, please let us know! This post is published on our website and our social media.
Do you have an event you would like to promote? We’d love to add it to our calendar of events. This page is shared out on our social media on a regular basis to share all the amazing things our community is doing!
Our alums truly are incredible. Below are examples of literary magazines, online bookstores, festivals, and companies all founded and run by Lesley alums.
Bonita Lee Penn (Poetry, January 2015) serves as the Editor/Writer’s Coordinator for this free publication launched in 2010 as a spin-off to TheSoulPitt.com website. SPQ Magazine features people in the Tri-State area of Western PA, Ohio & West VA who are making a difference in business, non-profit, the arts and in life in general in the community.
Robbie Gamble (Poetry, January 2017) is the Associate Poetry Editor for this magazine of diverse voices that publishes fiction, poetry, nonfiction, photography and graphic lit. According to their mission statement, “We experiment. We publish fine work, of course, from published established writers to emerging writers, whether formal or informal, traditional or experimental. We also publish underserved writers, or writers on the margins. We publish writers of diverse nationalities, races and religions, and also writers from diverse cultures within our culture.”
Founded by Leah Young (Nonfiction, January 2018), Powher Books is a woman-owned, Black-owned, indie online bookstore that sells books “by, for and about women.” There is a section of the shop dedicated exclusively to selling books from Lesley alums and MFA Writing Faculty.
Founded by Aaron Wallace (Poetry, June 2019) and Zac Furlough, Passengers Journal debuted in the summer of 2020 and accepts submissions for poetry, prose, and visual art. According to its website, “ Passengers Journal is an online literary and visual arts publication that seeks to feature artists whose work challenges and perhaps offends prevailing sentiment, whether it be artistic or societal. We accept art of all kinds but are especially intrigued by art that is necessary, rather than desired. We want to be surprised, shaken, and moved by your work.”
This annual festival was founded by Saraciea J. Fennell (WFYP, January 2020) and promotes literacy and a love of reading among children, teens, and adults. The festival provides the Bronx community with panels, workshops, and more with award-winning and bestselling authors, illustrators, and creators. The festival’s The Bronx is Reading literacy program seeks to create an interest for reading among young people while also promoting reading and writing skills through engaging author visits, reading group guides from publishers, and new books for children.
This twice-a-month online newsletter is written, edited, and distributed by Hurley Winkler (Fiction, January 2017) and covers a variety of reading and writing topics ranging from writing swaps, process diaries, and building setting. She’s also interviewed a number of prominent authors, including Kimberla Lawson Roby, Chelsea Hodson, and Lesley alums Celeste Mohammed (Fiction, June 2016) and Candice Iloh (WFYP, June 2017). Readers can participate in her reader questionnaire and have some of their responses included in future newsletters.
This writer’s theatre group based in Los Angeles, CA was founded by Wendy Ewan (WSS, June 2018) and is often seeking submissions on their website. “All great stories start with the blank page. It is our mission to inspire, harness, and showcase creativity in a collaborative environment; to find a stage for writers, actors, and directors at any point in their careers, from emerging to mid-career to professional; to provide opportunities for artists to hone their craft and experiment without crushing time or financial commitments.”
This podcast is co-hosted by Tavi Taylor Black (Fiction, June 2008) and Christine Junge (Fiction, June 2008) where they listen to and discuss their love for essays. They are always looking for new personal essays to talk about, and encourage writers to get in touch to submit essays for discussion on their website.
Founded by Enzo Silon Surin (Poetry, 2012), Central Square Press is an independent literary press that publishes poetry which reflects a commitment to social justice in regards to African-American, Caribbean and Caribbean-American communities. “We strive to publish poetry that does not cater to the academic establishment but is part of the witness continuum; work that bears witness to the struggle and residual prejudices that plagued our communities, with emphasis on emerging poets.”
Founded by Eileen Cleary (Poetry, June 2016) in 2019, Lily Poetry Review is a print journal set to publish in the winter and summer of each year. The Lily Poetry Review is interested in promoting contemporary poets, poetry, art, flash fiction and literary citizenship.
This literary journal publishes twice a year and was founded by Lori Desrosiers (MFA Writing Faculty, Poetry) . “Naugatuck River Review is dedicated to publishing narrative poetry in the tradition of great narrative poets such as Gerald Stern, Philip Levine or James Wright.”
Founded in 2009 by John Kippen, Nano Taggart, Jerry VanIeperen, and Natalie Young (Poetry), Sugar House Review is an independent, nonprofit poetry publisher based out of Utah. Their website notes, “Our mission is to promote an eclectic range of poets through publishing and live events to build nationally connected literary communities and foster the literary arts in Utah. We are excited to be some of the first people to see your work and to help the best of that work become available to a larger audience.”
This writing service created by Megan Margulies (Nonfiction, June 2008) and Aileen Weintraub offers writers feedback and advice for pitches, essays, query letters, book proposals, and more. A full list of their services and prices are available on their website. “The only spell we cast is to empower you to find your voice and present your finest work. We offer our coven a unique opportunity to receive feedback from two well-published authors who have landed successful pitches in top-tier publications.”
Post-Graduate Study in the Lesley MFA
Return to the Lesley MFA Program any time after graduation to partner with a MFA Writing Faculty Mentor in order to finish a book, revise a short story collection, and take the next step in polishing your work for publication. Read more about this opportunity here .
One of the most time-consuming and important parts of writing is the submissions process. The below websites can help you find and screen potential publications to find the right home for your work:
Submittable is a centralized location that keeps track of your submissions to various literary magazines and publications. While some publications still prefer email or their own personal submission portals, the vast majority will ask you to submit your work via Submittable. Submittable can also help you organize deadlines, search for writing contests, and browse publications by genre or subject. Submittable is free to use, and an essential tool in your submissions arsenal.
Duotrope provides up-to-date market listings of publications including reading periods, submission requirements, publication frequencies, and more. They also offer submission trackers, deadline calendars, statistical reports, and extensive interviews. If you want to double-check the legitimacy of a publication before you submit, Duotrope can help. There is a subscription fee, but Duotrope offers a free trial and there are some basic features you can access for free.
Manuscript Wish List
Searching for an agent or editor and have no idea where to begin? Manuscript Wish List provides a place for agents and editors to post specifically what they’d like to read, represent and/or acquire, making it an ideal resource for writers. Take a look at the FAQ section for best practices, and don’t forget to stop by the blog to get some great writing advice directly from agents and authors.
Boston Writers of Color
The Boston Writers of Color (BWoC) group, supported by GrubStreet, is a place for writers of color, and others who support the mission of the group, to connect, network, empower, and share resources with their peers. Their mission is to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) writers, foster a more representative and inclusive writing community in Boston, and work toward a more equitable publishing landscape.
Feminist, GWS, and LGBTQ+ Publishers
This is a list of women’s, feminist, and LGBTQ+-focused publishers created and maintained by the Office of the Gender and Women’s Studies Librarian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. They center feminist, anti-oppression, trans-inclusionary publishers, including international publishers. The list is up to date with new publishers as well as publishers who are no longer accepting submissions.
Resources for Race, Equity, Anti-Racism, and Inclusion from We Need Diverse Books
This page provides an extensive list of organizations advocating for equity, anti-racism, and inclusion, book recommendations, black-owned bookstores organized by state, and further reading and educational resources. We Need Diverse Books is a non-profit and grassroots organization that advocates for changes in the publishing industry to put more books featuring diverse characters into the hands of all children.
Writer Beware ® is sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and has made a long-standing effort to track, expose, and raise awareness of questionable, illicit, and/or nonstandard practices in and around the publishing industry. Their website provides resources for evaluating everything from contest and awards to small presses before submitting, as well as advice and suggestions for taking legal recourse if needed, case studies, and “Whom Not to Query” lists for publishers and agents.
DON’T WRITE ALONE
“Don’t Write Alone” is a feature of Catapult magazine that offers writing resources, advice, job and fellowship opportunities, prompts and craft talk, and more. They update on a regular basis and writers could spend hours on their website without scratching the surface of all they have to offer.
Erika Krouse’s Ranking of 500-ish Literary Magazines for Short Fiction
Novelist Erika Krouse provides an extensive ranking of literary magazines based on critical acclaim, circulation, payment, and audience appeal. Her list is separated by tiers, so this is a good resource to determine your priorities when submitting to multiple magazines. Her website has a number of other resources that might also be helpful to any writer, including submission strategies and free writing residencies and retreats.
Do you know of another alum-led publication or project, or have a writing resource that’s been invaluable to you? Let us know and we’ll gladly add it to this page!