Jen Michalski is author of the novel The Tide King, winner of the 2012 Big Moose Prize, the short story collections From Here and Close Encounters, and the novella collection Could You Be With Her Now. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is the founding editor of the literary quarterly jmww, a co-host of The 510 Readings and the biannual Lit Show, and interviews writers at The Nervous Breakdown. She also is the editor of the anthology City Sages: Baltimore, which Baltimore Magazine called a "Best of Baltimore" in 2010. She lives in Baltimore, MD. She tweets at https://twitter.com/MichalskiJen.
Fanning the Flames
I'm so excited to have my work included in the forthcoming anthology tentatively titled Girls on Fire, edited by Nicole Louise Reid and Janet Freeman. When so many submissions and acceptances are dominated by male authors, anthologies like these, which target girls ages 15 to 20 and will be used in classroom, may be a girl's first exposure (other than their Norton anthologies) to modern women writers, with themes that speak to them and—maybe—encourage them to write. I remember, growing up, that even though I wrote novels and poetry constantly, I never thought of becoming a novelist. I thought I might write for a newspaper or magazine. Even in undergrad I didn't realize that one could go to school, in a MFA program, to become a writer. No professor (the few writing professors we had in our English department, where I earned a BA in Language and Literature) ever raised the possibility with any of us. Now, even with the proliferation of MFA programs, gender inequities still exist, whatever the reasons may be. And although there are so many great women publishers (Paula Bomer, Cynthia Reeser, Roxane Gay, Gina Frangello, etc) and editors (Tara Laskowski, Karen Lillis, Brandi Wells, Barbara Westwood Diehl, Ellen Parker, even me, etc) out there, we need to dig deeper, start earlier. Kudos to Nicole and Janet for taking that next step.