call for flash nonfiction + confessional poetry

First encounters with one’s own femininity

DEADLINE: December 15, 2015

JUROR: Dr. Katie Cortese, Texas Tech University Associate Professor
Author of collection Girl Power & Other Short-Short Stories


Call for flash* nonfiction [personal essay] and poetry on the theme of first encounters with one’s own femininity, objects in the mirror are closer than they seem. This interdisciplinary arts and literary project will result in an online ISSUU book containing twenty (20) juror selected entries, a performative reading of five (5) those, and an art installation developed in response to the five readings. The literary deadline is December 15, 2015. The installation will be a part of the April 2016 First Friday Art Trail and will take place in the courtyard of the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, Lubbock, TX. The performative readings will take place the weekend of April 15 in conjunction with the Texas Tech Annual Women’s Studies Conference. the juror is Dr. Katie Cortese, Assistant Professor of English, fiction editor for Iron Horse Literary Review and author of Girl Power and Other Short Stories. The project is led by Texas Tech’s College of Visual and Performing Arts’ doctoral students, Meg Davis (theater) and Kathy Kelley (visual arts). Our faculty Mentor is Dr Angela Mariani. Please via our link with Submittable.com (TBA).

*Flash = 750 words or less


  • All essays and poems must be 750 words or less [FLASH].
  • All manuscripts must be submitted online, via Submittable. We do not accept submissions via email or snail mail. Our Submittable LINK WILL BE HERE SHORTLY.
  • Please include a cover letter with your name, email address, and the title(s) of work submitted. There will be a field for your cover letter to be inserted on Submittable. Do not include your cover letter inside your manuscript. We will immediately REJECT manuscripts including cover letters.
  • There is a $3 submission fee to offset costs to lead artists.
  • Our submission gates open October 25 and close December 15, 2015.
  • There are no gender prerequisites for submission. The only engendered criteria is the subject matter which revolves around first encounters with one’s own femininity.
  • Previously published materials may be submitted that fit the theme AND are under no obligations to any previous publisher(s).
  • Writers selected will be notified by email.
  • We are grateful for your interest and entry!

Perhaps you are wondering what exactly what the heck we mean by performative reading. We have not yet read your writings that will be selected by our juror, which will determine how the performative element will actually play out. But, we tentatively envision something like the following:

Eleven foot chairs composed from deconstructed domestic doors.

Eleven foot chairs composed from deconstructed domestic doors.

Imagine a cluster of women scattered in pairings, back-to-back, seated or standing, on oversized raw home furnishings built from domestic thresholds (doors and windows and frames) set outdoors in the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts’ new courtyard. It is evening and the sun has just set, silhouetting the four to seven pairs of distorted handcrafted chairs. 

A light rises on one pairing—a seated woman reading, and at her back, a second seated human-artifact is performing with a single slow repetitive contemplative body movement. The human-artifact is functioning intertextually with her objectness and gesture melding at a conceptual juncture between body and text; firsts and femininity; lived and distorted memories. The light dims as the reading and gesture of the pair begins again softly. 

A secondary pairing of reader and human-artifact becomes the attentional focus as the light intensifies upon them. The second reading and performative gesture are enacted. This continues through a series of four to seven texts. Each pairing and gesture will be unique to its specific text. 

At the end, with all lights dimmed, the readers exit their seating/standing positions. Still reading as they walk, they navigate to empty seats amidst the audience. The readers slowly lower their heads and voices in unison until they can no longer be heard but their lips remain moving with their text. Simultaneously, the human-gestural-artifacts diminish their gestures and bow their heads as they still. The lights remain dimmed for a few moments. 


The lights come up only slightly to cue the end. Readers and human gestural artifacts will remain seated, heads bowed as the floor is opened for Q and A.

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