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Electric Literature’s Spring Salon Series continues to bring you in-depth professional insights on how to write well and get published—whether you want to pitch author interviews to websites, put a book into the world, or catch an editor’s eyes with your short stories or novel. 

Our Spring Salon Series has concluded, but replays of all events are available to ticket holders via the Crowdcast pages linked below and in our store. If you didn’t buy a ticket prior to the live stream, no worries! The price of a ticket will now get you access to the recording.

Electric Lit Spring Salon Series

Ticket sales support Electric Lit’s fundraising efforts, replacing in-person events during the pandemic, and contribute to our mission to make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. Reserve your tickets to the live event and bring all your questions to the Q&As—or watch the recorded video any time you like, even if you can’t make it during the event time. We look forward to seeing you there!


The Secrets of Successful Author Interviews

Thursday, March 11, 2021, 6:30 PM EST / 3:30 PM PST

Do you dream of having in-depth discussions with your favorite authors about their latest books? Join a panel of Electric Literature’s veteran interviewers—Tyrese Coleman, J.R. Ramakrishnan, and Arriel Vinson—to learn how the professionals do it. How do you pitch an interview to a publication and get the author to agree to talk to you? What are the secrets of crafting great interview questions—and how do you avoid the ones that thud? How do you get your conversation with the author to really flow—and if it does flow freely, is there any way to make transcribing less arduous? Our panel will dig into all of these questions and more. Moderated by Preety Sidhu. Q&A to follow.

Demystifying Publishing

Monday, March 15, 2021, 6 PM EST / 3 PM PST

You know you want to publish a book—but you’re not sure how to take the first step, or even what the first step is. (“Write the manuscript,” obviously, right? Well, no, not always!) Agent DongWon Song (Howard Morhaim), nonfiction editor Rakia Clark (HMH), fiction editor Angeline Rodriguez (Orbit), and marketing director Meghan Deans (Ecco) open up the black box of publishing and walk you through the steps between “good idea” and “physical book you can sign.” Learn what to expect, what will be expected of you, what to watch out for, and how to prepare yourself to navigate the publishing world. Moderated by Jess Zimmerman. Q&A to follow.

Submission Roulette

Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 6 PM EST / 3 PM PST

First impressions count—and they never count more than when you’re trying to impress an editor who has 1,500 submissions to read. Editors often say that they can tell within the first page whether a story will be worth accepting, so how do you make your first page really shine? Eavesdrop on our evaluation process—and vie to get your story noticed—with Recommended Reading editors Halimah Marcus and Brandon Taylor. They’ll be reading opening pages submitted just for the occasion, sharing their reactions and thought processes as they go. Submit your own first page anonymously to see if your story has what it takes to catch our editors’ eyes, or simply tune in to see how other writers fare. 

Submission instructions: You can find the link to submit in the chat, on the righthand side of the event page. (Please note, you will only see the chat if you are registered for the event.) If you are unable to find the submission portal or have questions about submitting, email preety@electricliterature.com. Please submit one page of fiction, double spaced, in 12 pt, Times New Roman font. Your submission should be the first page of a story or novel chapter that you would like to submit (to a literary magazine, agent, MFA program, etc.). Do not include any identifying information on the document. You may submit only one entry.

We will select and anonymize a dozen or so submissions to read and respond to during the salon. Prescreens will be conducted by other RR editors so Brandon and Halimah will read the work for the first time live on Crowdcast. 

Submissions are optional. You are welcome to attend the salon without submitting. Please be advised that salon submissions will not be considered for publication, and that not all submissions will be read during the salon. For information on how to submit your stories for publication in Electric Literature, please visit our submissions page.

Participant Biographies

Rakia Clark is a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. She acquires serious and literary nonfiction about contemporary culture, politics, the arts, sports, and anything social justice-oriented. She occasionally acquires fiction, where her tastes lean towards diverse marginalized voices with big, big emotions. Prior to HMH, Rakia was a senior editor at Beacon Press, Kensington, Viking and HarperCollins. A proud Atlanta native, she’s still upset the Falcons lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl that one time.

Tyrese L. Coleman is the author of How to Sit, a 2019 Pen Open Book Award finalist published with Mason Jar Press in 2018. She is also the writer of the forthcoming book, Spectacle, with One World, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Writer, wife, mother, attorney, and writing instructor, she is a contributing editor at Split Lip Magazine and occasionally teaches at American University. Her essays and stories have appeared in several publications, including Black Warrior Review, Literary Hub, The Rumpus, and the Kenyon Review and noted in Best American Essays and the Pushcart Anthology. She is an alumni of the Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University. Find her at tyresecoleman.com or on twitter @tylachelleco. 

Meghan Deans is the Senior Marketing Director at Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins. She’s been with Ecco since 2016 and has worked on campaigns for books by Anthony Bourdain, Natasha Trethewey, Rumaan Alam, Kevin Wilson, and more. Prior to her time at Ecco she worked in the marketing department at Little, Brown, and Company, where she worked on campaigns for Donna Tartt, David Sedaris, and Stacy Schiff among others. She began her publishing career at Vintage and Anchor Books and is a graduate of Eugene Lang College at the New School University.

Halimah Marcus is the executive director of Electric Literature and the editor-in-chief of Recommended Reading. She is also the editor of Horse Girls, an anthology that reclaims and recasts the horse girl stereotype, forthcoming from Harper Perennial in 2021. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Literary Review, The Southampton Review, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, One Story, BOMB, and elsewhere.

J.R. Ramakrishnan‘s work has appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Harper’s Bazaar, and elsewhere. In a previous incarnation as a fashion and nightlife reporter, she spoke to pop culture characters such as Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, and Bill Clinton. More recently, in the literary realm, she has interviewed the likes of Jenny Offill, Laila Lalami, and Samanta Schweblin for Electric Literature. For close to a decade, she curated literary conversations for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival. Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she is a graduate of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and Columbia University’s Journalism School. Her website is www.jrramakrishnan.com.

Angeline Rodriguez is an associate editor at Orbit Books, specializing in speculative fiction. She was founder and co-chair of the employee group POC@PRH, and is a member of PoC in Publishing and Latinx in Publishing.

Preety Sidhu is Electric Literature’s marketing and editorial assistant. She holds an MFA in fiction from Louisiana State University, where she worked as an editorial assistant at The Southern Review. Before that, she taught middle and upper school math in the New York and Boston areas for many years. You can find her on Twitter @_preetysidhu.

DongWon Song is an agent at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency representing science fiction and fantasy for adults, young adult, and middle grade readers as well as select non-fiction. They were formerly an editor at Orbit, a product manager for an ebook startup, and taught as an adjunct instructor in the publishing program at Portland State University.

Brandon Taylor is the author of the acclaimed novel Real Life, which has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and was named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. The senior editor of Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading and a staff writer at Lit Hub, he holds graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa, where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in fiction.

Arriel Vinson is a Tin House Winter Workshop alumna and Hoosier who writes about being young, Black, and in search of freedom. She earned her MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Kweli Journal, The Rumpus, Catapult, Waxwing, Electric Literature, and others. Her work has also been nominated for Best New Poets 2020, Best of the Net 2019, and a Pushcart Prize. She is a 2019 Kimbilio Fellow and 2020 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest semifinalist.

Jess Zimmerman is the editor-in-chief of Electric Literature and the author of Women and Other Monsters, forthcoming from Beacon Press. She is also the author, with Jaya Saxena, of Basic Witches (Quirk, 2017). Her nonfiction writing has appeared in The Guardian, Slate, The New Republic, Hazlitt, Catapult, and others.


Our Winter Salon Series has concluded, but replays of all events are available to ticket holders via the Crowdcast pages linked below and in our store. If you didn’t buy a ticket prior to the live stream, no worries! The price of a ticket will now get you access to the recording.


This December, our editors will reveal the secrets of how to get published in Electric Literature and our literary magazines, Recommended Reading and The Commuter. For our second virtual salon series, we’re inviting you behind the scenes for candid conversations about our editorial vision, our personal preferences and pet peeves, and best practices for submitting. Join us to learn how to make your essay pitches, short stories, flash fiction, poetry, and graphic narratives stand out from a crowded submissions pile.

These salons come just in time, because the next open submissions periods for Recommended Reading and The Commuter are fast approaching! Both literary magazines will be accepting new submissions in all categories from Monday, January 18, 2021 to Sunday, January 24, 2021 at 11:59 PM EST. View submissions guidelines here.

Here is the schedule of events, with more information below.

Electric Lit Winter Salon Series, presented by Reedsy:

Ticket sales support Electric Lit’s year-end fundraising efforts, and contribute to our mission to make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. Reserve your tickets to the live event and bring all your questions to the Q&As—or watch the recorded video any time you like, even if you can’t make it during the event time. We can’t wait to see you there!


Electric Lit Winter Salon
How to Get Published in Recommended Reading: A Candid Chat with the Editors
December 11, 2020

How to Get Published in Recommended Reading

Friday, December 11, 2020, 6 PM EST / 3 PM PST

About a third of the stories published in Recommended Reading are unsolicited submissions, which share space in the magazine with work by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners. Unlike some legacy lit mags, we really are reading all the work you send in, and we really do publish it. So how can you make your stories stand out among the thousands of submissions we receive every year? Recommended Reading’s editorial team—Halimah Marcus, Brandon Taylor, Erin Bartnett, and Alyssa Songsiridej—pull back the curtain on their decision-making process and offer invaluable advice to short story writers. A must-watch for anyone who is planning to submit. Q&A to follow.

Electric Lit Winter Salon
How to Pitch Electric Lit
With Jess Zimmerman and Jennifer Baker
December 14, 2020

How to Pitch Electric Lit

Monday, December 14, 2020, 6 PM EST / 3 PM PST

For freelancers, writing an essay, feature, or opinion piece doesn’t start when you type the first line. It starts with the pitch. Having a topic and a talent isn’t enough; you also have to be able to package your idea in a way that catches an editor’s eye. But how do you get started writing a pitch? How long is too long—and how short is too short? What does a good pitch look like—and a bad one? And why does Electric Lit ask people to write a pitch, anyway? Electric Literature editor-in-chief Jess Zimmerman and contributing editor Jennifer Baker fill you in on everything you need to know when proposing nonfiction work to Electric Lit and other publications.

Electric Lit Winter Salon
How to Get Published in The Commuter: A Candid Chat with the Editors
December 16, 2020

How to Get Published in The Commuter

Wednesday, December 16, 2020, 6 PM EST / 3 PM PST

Unlike most literary magazines, The Commuter chooses its weekly piece of poetry, flash, graphic, or experimental narrative almost exclusively from unsolicited submissions—9 out of 10 issues are drawn from the so-called “slush.” (We don’t think it’s slush!) Work published in The Commuter has been recognized by Best American Poetry and Comics, the Wigleaf Top 50, and Best Small Fictions. But we get thousands of submissions every year, and only publish 52 issues. So how can you help your work get recognized? Commuter editors Halimah Marcus, Kelly Luce, and Ed Skoog invite you behind the scenes for a frank editorial discussion that is a must-watch for anyone planning to submit. Q&A to follow.

Editor Biographies

Jennifer Baker is a publishing professional, creator/host of the Minorities in Publishing podcast, and contributing editor to Electric Literature. In 2017, she received a NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship and a Queens Council on the Arts New Work Grant for Nonfiction Literature. Her essay “What We Aren’t (or the Ongoing Divide)” was listed as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2018. In 2019, she was named Publishers Weekly Superstar for her contributions to inclusion and representation in publishing. Jennifer is also the editor of the short story anthology Everyday People: The Color of Life (Atria Books, 2018) and the author of the forthcoming novel Forgive Me Not (Putnam BFYR, 2022). Her website is: jennifernbaker.com.

Erin Bartnett is the associate editor of Electric Lit’s Recommended Reading. She earned a Master’s in English Literature from UVA and is currently a student in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for fiction.

Kelly Luce is the editor of The Commuter and the author of the story collection Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail and the novel Pull Me Under, a Book of the Month Club selection and one of Elle’s Best Books of 2016. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Salon, O, the Oprah Magazine, The Sun, and other publications. She was a 2016-17 fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She lives in an old grist mill in Knoxville, TN.

Halimah Marcus is the executive director of Electric Literature and the editor-in-chief of Recommended Reading. She is also the editor of Horse Girls, an anthology that reclaims and recasts the horse girl stereotype, forthcoming from Harper Perennial in 2021. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in The Literary Review, The Southampton Review, Indiana Review, Gulf Coast, One Story, BOMB, and elsewhere.

Ed Skoog, contributing poetry editor for The Commuter, is the author of four books of poems, most recently Travelers Leaving for the City (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Paris Review, The New Republic, Poetry, and elsewhere. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Alyssa Songsiridej is the assistant editor for Electric Literature’s literary magazines, Recommended Reading and The Commuter. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from StoryQuarterly, The Offing, The Indiana Review and Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art and has been honored and supported by Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Brandon Taylor is the author of the acclaimed novel Real Life, which has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and was named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. The senior editor of Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading and a staff writer at Lit Hub, he holds graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa, where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in fiction.

Jess Zimmerman is the editor-in-chief of Electric Literature and the author of Women and Other Monsters, forthcoming from Beacon Press. She is also the author, with Jaya Saxena, of Basic Witches (Quirk, 2017). Her nonfiction writing has appeared in The Guardian, Slate, The New Republic, Hazlitt, Catapult, and others.

Thank you to Reedsy, our presenting sponsor!

Our October Virtual Salon Series has concluded, but replays of all events are available to ticket holders via the Crowdcast pages linked below and in our store. If you didn’t buy a ticket prior to the live stream, no worries! The price of a ticket will now get you access to the recording.


This October, we’re thinking beyond the remote book reading. For Electric Lit’s first ever virtual salon series, we’re hosting events with some of our favorite writers and artists to talk about literature, lies, and… elves? Here is the schedule of events, with more information below!

  • Writing White Fragility, an editorial discussion, presented by Penguin Random House, October 20, 6-7 PM EST
  • Swords Out: A Dungeons & Dragons Murder Mystery, presented by Substack, October 22, 8-10 PM EST
  • Magical Feminism, an editorial discussion, October 26, 6-7 PM EST
  • Spot the Fake Memoir, A Game of Two Truths and a Lie, presented by Sipsmith London, October 28, 7-8 PM EST

To purchase books by the presenters and participants, visit our virtual salon page on Bookshop.org.

All of the funds raised support Electric Lit’s mission to make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive, and help us compensate for Covid-related financial losses. Don’t wait to reserve your ticket. See you there!

A limited number of sponsorships and press passes are available. Please send enquires to editors@electricliterature.com.


Writing White Fragility, an editorial discussion, presented by Penguin Random House

Tuesday, October 20, 2020
6 to 7 PM EST / 3 to 4 PM PST

Recommended Reading senior editor Brandon Taylor talks to Ross Feeler about “Parisian Honeymoon,” a story about a man who discovers that his new wife is a bigot. They will discuss their editing process, and how to write anti-racist stories with racist characters without being morally didactic.

This event is presented by Penguin Random House

Brandon Taylor is the author of the acclaimed novel Real Life, which has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and was named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. The senior editor of Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading and a staff writer at Lit Hub, he holds graduate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa, where he was an Iowa Arts Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in fiction.

Ross Feeler’s short stories have appeared in The Common, The Potomac Review, Story|Houston, Hypertext, New South, and others. In 2019, his novel-in-progress won the Marianne Russo Award from the Key West Literary Seminar. He reads fiction submissions and occasionally writes for The Masters Review. He lives in Central Texas, where he teaches English at Texas State University.

Swords Out: A Dungeons & Dragons Murder Mystery, presented by Substack

Thursday, October 22, 2020
8 to 10 PM EST / 5 to 7 PM PST

Some of the funniest and most charismatic authors we know—John Darnielle, Leah Johnson, Daniel Lavery, Amber Sparks, and R. Eric Thomas—join Dungeon Master Matt Lubchansky for this classic tabletop role-playing game with a literary twist. The publisher of Lightning Bolt Literature has been murdered, and they’ll have to solve puzzles, fight monsters, and maybe even battle a god to get to the bottom of things. If you’ve never played D&D before, don’t worry—most of our players haven’t either.

This event is presented by Substack.

John Darnielle is the leader of the band The Mountain Goats and the author of Universal Harvester and the National Book Award-nominated Wolf in White Van.

Leah Johnson is the author of inaugural Reese Witherspoon book club YA pick You Should See Me in a Crown (and a former Electric Lit employee!).

Daniel Lavery is Slate’s Dear Prudence, a founder of The Toast, and the author of Texts from Jane Eyre, The Merry Spinster, and Something That May Shock and Discredit You. 

Amber Sparks is the author of the story collections The Unfinished World, May We Shed These Human Bodies, and And I Do Not Forgive You.

R. Eric Thomas is a humor columnist at Elle and the author of the essay collection Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America.

Dungeon Master Matt Lubchansky is a cartoonist and illustrator, associate editor of The Nib, and coauthor of Dad Magazine. 

Magical Feminism, an editorial discussion

Monday, October 26, 2020
6 to 7 PM EST / 3 to 4 PM PST

Electric Literature executive director Halimah Marcus talks to Marie-Helene Bertino and Elissa Washuta about coping with trauma and subverting expectations at the intersection of magic and reality. They will discuss how magic works in practice and as a rhetorical device in fiction.

Marie-Helene Bertino is the author of the novels Parakeet (NY Times Editors’ Choice) and 2 a.m. at The Cat’s Pajamas, and the story collection Safe as Houses. Her work has received The O. Henry Prize, The Pushcart Prize, The Iowa Short Fiction Award, and in 2017 she was the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Fellow in Cork, Ireland. She teaches in the M.F.A. programs of NYU, The New School, and Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in Brooklyn, where she was the Associate Editor for One Story and Catapult. Her fourth book, the novel Beautyland, is forthcoming from FSG in 2022.

Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of My Body Is a Book of Rules and Starvation Mode, and her book White Magic is forthcoming from Tin House Books. With Theresa Warburton, she is co-editor of the anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Creative Capital, Artist Trust, 4Culture, and Potlatch Fund. Elissa is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State University.

Spot the Fake Memoir, A Game of Two Truths and a Lie, presented by Sipsmith London

Wednesday, October 28, 2020
7 to 8 PM EST / 4 to 5 PM PST

Making stuff up is an important writerly skill, as long as you don’t present it as true. Five Electric Lit contributors and writing group pals Angela Chen, Lilly Dancyger, Deena ElGenaidi, Jeanna Kadlec, and Nina St. Pierre will try to pass autofiction off as memoir, in a literary twist on this time-honored get-to-know-you game. Hosted by Jess Zimmerman.

This event is presented by Sipsmith London.

Angela Chen is a science journalist and the author of Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex.

Lilly Dancyger is the editor of Burn It Down: Women Writing About Anger and the author of the forthcoming memoir Negative Space. 

Deena ElGenaidi is a writer, reporter, and editor and the creator of the web series Codependent.

Jeanna Kadlec is a culture writer and the former resident astrologer for Electric Lit.

Nina St. Pierre is an essayist, reporter, and collaborative writer with Idea Architects.

Captioned recordings will be available after the events—please contact editors@electricliterature.com for more information.


Looking for the Masquerade?

For the past three years, Electric Lit has hosted the Masquerade of the Red Death on the Thursday before Halloween at Littlefield, in Brooklyn. This isn’t the year to host a pestilence-themed dance party, but we hope to be back in 2021!