Calls for Submissions!


[image via Twitter]

Call for Submissions: Short Speculative Fiction by Transgender Writers

 Topside Press is now accepting submissions for an anthology of short speculative fiction by self-identified transgender writers. Publication would be Fall 2016, and its paid! Deadline is December 1, 2015, so you have some time. Check out the post! 

Call for Submissions: Male Survivor Zine

Looking for personal experiences and ideas from male survivors of  sexual abuse and rape. Lots of suggestions and a basic framework for the zine here.

Calls for Submissions: Ottawa International Animation Festival

The OIAF is seeking new animated works to showcase in the capital this September. Check out their submissions page to see the categories and guidelines.

Call for Submissions: bpNichol Chapbook Award 2015

This award recognizes excellence in Canadian poetry published in chapbook form. The prize is awarded to the best chapbook, with the author receiving $4000 and the publisher receiving $500. Interested authors or publishers, submit three copies of a chapbook in English, published in Canada in 2014, to Meet the Presses by May 29, 2015. More info on their submissions post! 

Call for Submissions: Gay 4 Pay Press

Gay 4 Pay Press, a radical gay zine distro that our assistant editor Jonathan Valelly is involved with, is seeking submissions for two zines. The first is a second edition zine about consent in gay/MSM contexts, and the other is a zine about fantasies and turn-ons at the cusp of adolescence, asking — what turned you on before you knew what i meant to be turned on? Deadline for both is March 16, 2015.

The Close Shave

Story went, I’d been asked to moderate, to get the skinny on the Sad vs. Weirdo semi-final round of the 2015 Broken Pencil Deathmatch.

So I did. I lurked. I loitered. I kept my eyes peeled and the Deathmatch page on refresh. And so far it was quiet. Real quiet. Quiet like that couple driving in a car, right before the argument–the one that’s been brewing all day like a bad pot of diner coffee–begins.

Quiet like there’s probably more to this than meets the eye, like the kid who works at the deli, the one with the new limp who used to drive for what’s-his-name with the big house and the girlfriend half his age. And I’m talking the deli on 5th, pastrami-on-rye to die for. You get your pastrami-on-rye from anywhere else, you’re crazy, I tell you, nuts. Looney Tunes. Certifiable. But I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, the Deathmatch was real quiet. Yeah, sure, the votes were coming in like gangbusters, but the writers seemed relaxed. Maybe too relaxed. Only they knew for sure.

Roxanna Bennett, with her poem, “The Museum of Dead Presidents,” she said was first dreamed up on the subway. Tweets, she called ‘em. I asked the kid next door what that meant and he gave me this look like I was a dinosaur, washed up, old news. “Daddio,” he said, “you wouldn’t understand if I told ya.” What I did know was the lines were punches to the gut, raw observation and emotion poured out on the page. Skewers through the shrunken heart of what we called culture. And I liked it. I liked it a lot.

And then there was Nikola Jajic, with his story, “The Boogeyman,” a walk on the wild side. Whiskey and cigarettes. The nighttime is tickle time. Streetlamp glow and the promise of violence. As celebrities ran amok, drinking Singapore Slings and ushering in unholy man births. A freaky nightmare you could feel on your fingertips when you woke up and the kind of story gold you had to bite just to make sure it wasn’t a dream.

Who would advance to the finals? Sad? Weirdo? The question lingered. Only time would tell. The contest was close like a barber’s shave, less than 100 votes separating them. See, Broken Pencil gave the power to the Internet, to the people. And talk about quiet. I couldn’t tell if they were peaceniks or packing heat and just waiting for the scribes to turn their backs.

Well, two could play that game.

So I waited and watched, watched and waited. As I did, I sniffed the air. And you know what? It smelled like the calm before the storm.

Fun with Crowdfunding: This Heart is Homebound


This Heart Is Homebound is a Detroit based compilation zine on toxic beginning,s non-traditional upbringings, and redefining family. It includes submissions from all over the country and world exploring the concept of home and support.

The makers intend to provide free postage-paid copies of this zine to each contributor as well as distribute it to readers, which breaks down to $6 a copy. But if you donate more, you get special edition prints, original comics, music, and more!

check out the crowdfunding page here.

Book Review: A Safe Girl to Love


a safe girl to love

A Safe Girl To Love
Casey Plett, 229 pgs, Topside Press,, $19.95

In a powerful and absolutely unique debut, Casey Plett daringly and flirtatiously sketches wildly different episodes in the lives of 11 protagonists, all twentysomething transwomen. Plett’s stories dance from the illuminating banalities of contemporary life to the landmarks of a perpetually existential reality, negotiating romance and family along the way.

Some stories are short and dreamy, like the stoned memory of “A Carried Ocean Breeze” or “Youth”, a train-of-thought musing that concludes the collection. Others are punchy and vulnerably sarcastic, like “How to Stay Friends” and “Twenty Hot Tips to Shopping Success.”

However, Plett’s contemplative, rhythmic stride takes shape most evocatively in her longer form stories, like the Williamsburg romance “Lizzy & Annie.” This simmering story begins with a morning-after moment and its attendant glow, particularly poignant given the context of the two women. A text the day after reads, “I know this is weird to say over text but it’s beautiful to be touched by another body like mine. Especially one as sexy as yours.”

But it’s not all sweet or easy— Plett is downright hilarious sometimes, and particularly cutting when it comes to calling out “radical” “queer” “lefty” “hipster” culture in all of its self-righteousness and narcissism. Lizzy and Annie are out for breakfast when they run into Weetzie (“cis girl, soft butch”), who comments on a hip queer party place, “I feel like for a queer space it’s not always a welcoming environment to trans women, you know?” Annie responds, “And that environment actually fucking exists where?” — perfectly summing up the hypocrisies and complexities of so-called allyship and queer politics.

In “Winning,” the protagonist moves home to help her (also trans) mother, battling back her fantasies of fleeing back to Brooklyn. Like in every story in the collection, transness courses through the daily experience of Plett’s characters, and yet the thematic palette and quarter-life questions may be uncomfortably familiar for many readers.

These are poignant, precise stories that tap into the zeitgest with charming specificity.

(Jonathan Valelly)

The Need for Feminist Zine Fairs!

In November, we were lucky enough to attend the first ever Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair at SACHA. It was delightful, fun, but also felt powerful and purposeful. Now, as we look toward another year of feminist zine events in Philly, New York, Toronto, Hamilton, and beyond, we invited one of the HFZF organizers, Amy Egerdeen,  to reflect on the significance of these kind of gatherings. 

ideal fem

A collaboratively produced zine from the HFZF


The Need for a Feminist Zine Fair

We started organizing the first ever Hamilton Feminist Zine Fair (HFZF) around the need for a space that celebrates the voices of folks who are traditionally isolated and ignored, and engage in a larger conversation about feminist zine-making and self-publishing.

We started working towards the HFZF with previous feminist and social justice minded zine fairs in mind – the Philly Feminist Zine Fest and the NYC Feminist Zine Fest specifically, as well as the amazing Toronto Queer Zine Fair. These fairs were total inspiration to us – spaces that prioritize feminist, queer, and other typically marginalized voices. We put the HFZF together with lots of their values in mind, and with feedback from these fair’s co-organizers. Talking to these zine fair organizers – who also all make their own zines –helped us to further build community between zine fairs and zine-makers, and learn more about what is going on outside of Hamilton / southern Ontario.

Deathmatch Round 5 Semi-Finals: The Winner Is…..

internet cat


Hey everyone. So there has been some confusion regarding the winner of the Round 5 Semi-Finals of Deathmatch 2015. Some votes were being registered after the final deadline at midnight last night, which led to confusion regarding whether Talita or Aerin’s story had won.

We consulted our web developers, and this is what they said:

It’s not a glitch or a bug, it’s more of a cached-page kind of thing. The button was removed/closed right atmidnight, and the page refreshed/updated but for some users, based on their connections, computers etc. those additional 24 votes got captured, AFTER midnight, for Aerin. For the next round, we are making a filter as an additional precaution that will prevent this from happening. So end verdict – additional votes were cast after midnight and don’t count.”

Therefore, Talita Valle is the winner with her story, “My Life As the Reincarnation of Dorothy Parker” and she will be moving onto the FINALS round of Deathmatch next week.

Congrats to Talita and many thanks to both her and Aerin for being such excellent competitors and good sports. We are sorry that this happened and will ensure it is fixed so it doesn’t happen again. Thanks for coming out and voting.