Today's Featured Writefest Speaker is Heather Lefebvre, founding editor of Broad! Magazine and Scorpion Baby Press. Scorpion Baby Press is searching for stories and voices that are often underrepresented and marginalized, which include, but are not limited to: queer, POC, women, nonbinary and trans, disabled, and working class perspectives. As a writer herself, you can find Heather's work featured in Story|Houston, Sycamore Review, Indiana Review, SunMoon Missive, the anthology I Scream Social, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
What book/story/poem have you read recently that you’re really excited about?
I'm doing a #52books challenge this year, so I've been lucky enough to read a lot recently that I loved. Analicia Sotelo's Virgin, for example, is incredible. I just finished reading Daniel Mallory Ortberg's collection of retellings The Merry Spinster and I loved every deliciously spooky, funny moment of it. And I'm reading Jennifer duBois's The Spectators right now and really enjoying it so far. Jennifer's a fantastic, incisive writer, so I look forward to seeing where the book goes.
What are some ways that you think journals & presses can make more space for underrepresented voices?
Keep in mind, always, that your perspective is limited and therefore, so is your understanding of someone else's work. Be aware of that when reading submissions! Promote that you're looking for work by marginalized writers and make an effort to center those voices, not yours. Listen.
What would you tell your younger (15-year-old) self?
Honestly? Don't spend so much time worrying about what boys think of you. (Or anyone, generally.) Take up all the space you need, both in the world and on the page. And lastly, there's no such thing as "the type of person who." You can only be the kind of person who tries new things if you try new things.
How do you replenish your creative well?
I cook something from scratch – like bread or roasted veg – or sing a good song. Oftentimes, both at the same time. Or I go to a reading! (If you're in Austin, I highly recommend I Scream Social at Malvern Books and ATX Interfaces at BookWoman!)
How did you first enter the publishing industry?
In my first office job, I managed our social media, and through that I discovered VIDA. At the time, the most recent VIDA Count showed approximately a 1:3 ratio of women to men in terms of having their work published or reviewed. I was shocked by that and decided pretty quickly to launch a literary journal that focused on the work of women, trans, and nonbinary writers. Broad!, the journal that resulted, was online-only and ran for six years.