Featured Fem | Meet Jessica Meats

linkedin profileJessica Meats is a British science fiction author with a degree in mathematics and computer science. She works in the IT industry as a specialist in Microsoft technologies and draws on her knowledge of computers to add a dash of reality to her science fiction adventures. Outside of work and writing, Jessica enjoys reading, making jewellery, and studying martial arts.

Fem: You have a background in mathematics and computer science. What sparked your interest in these areas?

Jessica Meats: I always did well in maths lessons at school. It was something I just accepted about myself from an early age: “good at maths” was part of who I was just like “brown hair” and “hates mushrooms.” It was something encouraged by my family and my teachers, and, like most people, I like doing well in things, so when I was picking my A-Level subjects , it seemed a natural choice. When it came to university degrees though, I was less certain because I couldn’t see many logical progressions from a mathematics degree into an obvious career. We did various strengths tests and career planning exercises at school and one option that came up was computer science, apparently a good fit for someone who is good at maths. Continue reading “Featured Fem | Meet Jessica Meats”


Featured Fem | Vasilina Orlova


Vasilina Orlova was born in the village of Dunnai in the Russian Far East in 1979. She has lived in Vladivostok, Moscow, and London, and is now based in Austin, United States, working her way through the PhD program in anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin.

She holds a PhD in philosophy and is the author of seven novels in Russian—among them The Voice of Fine Stillness, The Wilderness, and The Supper of a Praying Mantis. Mostly they were published in Novy Mir literary journal. She has also published several books of prose and poetry, including Yesterday, The Wilderness, and Quartet.

Fem: Describe your latest publication.

Vasilina Orlova: My latest publication is a poem, dedicated to one of my peers, anthropologist Joseph Russo. It came out in a small New-Yorkian zine. The poem is about basilisk who has a valise and embarks on a kind of journey. It largely emerged out of play with sound, pure alliteration. It’s a little piece that I like. Continue reading “Featured Fem | Vasilina Orlova”

Featured Fem | Meet Azia DuPont


Azia DuPont is a mother, writer and editor living in Southern California. She is the Co. Founder and current Editor-in-chief of Dirty Chai Magazine. You can find her online via Twitter or online.

Fem: Explain your involvement with Dirty Chai Magazine. How did it come about?

Azia DuPont: Dirty Chai was something that I had been playing around with in my mind since 2011. At that time, I wasn’t an “active” member of the lit community. What I mean by that is mostly I was an avid reader who did not actively engage with anyone (read: writers on the internet) outside of my small circle of IRL writer friends. I was on the internet but I did a lot of lurking and was not involved to the extent I am now.  I had a few favorite poets and I would follow their work from journal to journal, and I kept seeing their work published alongside the same names time and again. I definitely saw the merit in the work but I also wanted to see some fresh meat – I knew there had to be other people writing!  Continue reading “Featured Fem | Meet Azia DuPont”

Featured Fem | Meet Vanessa Willoughby

photoVanessa Willoughby is an editor and writer. Her work has been featured on The Toast, The Hairpin, Vice, Hazlitt, and Bitch. She is Creative Director for Winter Tangerine.

Fem: Tell us about Winter Tangerine. What do you do as a Creative Director?

Vanessa Willoughby: Winter Tangerine is an online literary and arts journal founded by Yasmin Belkhyr. We started out doing just print issues, but now we’ve moved everything online and expanded upon features and columns. We’re really committed to finding and promoting marginalized writers who are often overlooked, ignored and dismissed by mainstream publishing. I’ve been with the journal since the beginning and am so proud to be a member of a collaborative team that shares my passion for challenging the white status quo of publishing and the literary world. As someone who is both an editor and a writer, it’s been, to say the least, an uphill battle to be even considered as a serious candidate in publishing. Publishing, whether they agree or not, is largely dominated by whiteness and connections (or nepotism). You can be an extremely hard-worker, a brilliant editor/writer, done some internships, even be overqualified, but your blackness will always be the first thing these people in power see. People will work themselves into mental gymnastics in order to justify the lack of POC in publishing. I’m glad to be a part of WT and thus be able to find relief from the publishing industry’s demands to appease the white gaze. Continue reading “Featured Fem | Meet Vanessa Willoughby”

Featured Fem | Meet Sarah Rafael García

Fem Project - HeadshotSarah Rafael García is a writer, community educator and traveler. Since publishing Las Niñas, she founded Barrio Writers and obtained a M.F.A. in Creative Writing. She writes poetry, creative nonfiction, and fiction. Her writing has appeared in LATINO Magazine, Contrapuntos III, Outrage: A Protest Anthology For Injustice in a Post 9/11 World, La Tolteca Zine and will be featured in Issue 03 of Lumen Magazine.

Most recently, Sarah Rafael was awarded for Santana’s Fairy Tales, which is supported in part by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, through a grant supporting the Artist-in-Residence initiative at Grand Central Art Center in Southern California. Sarah Rafael is currently the Editor for the annual Barrio Writers anthology and Co-editor of the forthcoming Pariahs: Writing From Outside the Margins anthology.

Fem: Tell us about Barrio Writers. 

Sarah Rafael García: The Barrio Writers (BW) program aims to empower teens through creative writing, higher education and cultural arts. It consists of free 1-week intensive summer workshops and additional “café hours” (one-on-one tutoring). It also includes access to higher education resources and cultural arts field trips. Through the BW program youth build skills in reading, grammar, creative writing, critical-thinking and freedom of expression through the cultural arts. Continue reading “Featured Fem | Meet Sarah Rafael García”

Featured Fem | Meet Mai Nguyen Do

DSC_6644-2 -4Mai Nguyen Do is a Vietnamese-American poet and musician living in the Los Angeles area. Her work has been published in the Rising Phoenix Review, and her debut poetry collection is forthcoming from Platypus Press. In what little free time she has, Mai can be found researching Southeast Asian history, ranting about current Southeast Asian political events, and teaching Vietnamese to young children. Aside from being founder and editor-in-chief of Rambutan Literary and being a social media manager for The Fem, Mai is also the social media manager for the journal Half Mystic, a new journal dedicated to showcasing musical creations.

Fem: Tell us about your lit mag and your role.

Mai Nguyen Do: Rambutan Literary is a literary and arts magazine showcasing literature and art from both mainland/maritime Southeast Asia and diasporic Southeast Asian communities. Although we are still very new, as founder and editor-in-chief, I’ve had the privilege of starting to work with some amazing Southeast Asian writers to cultivate and promote our new magazine. Continue reading “Featured Fem | Meet Mai Nguyen Do”

Featured Fem | Meet Melissa Rose

melpromo2Melissa Rose has been a member of the spoken word community since 2001 and has been organizing spoken word events and facilitating creative writing workshops for over 10 years. Melissa was a team member and coach of Palo Alto’s National Poetry Slam Team in 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2014. She has performed her poetry all over the United States and Germany, was a featured poet at the German National Poetry Slam in 2010 and a Group Piece Finalist at The National Poetry Slam in 2014. Her poetry has been featured in a variety of magazines and international poetry anthologies. She is currently the Executive Director of S.I.R.E.N. a non profit program that empowers teen girls through spoken word.

Fem: What are some rewards of performing spoken word?

Melissa Rose: I feel like the rewards to performing spoken word pieces are the connection with audiences. The ability to be honest with your audience and draw similarities to ourselves as sharing a genuine human experience. When I write my pieces, I know some people in an audience may not have had the same experiences as I have, but they can still identify with me when I am being fully present, authentic, and truthful about those experiences. I think spoken word as an art form is a fantastic way to educate others because it is based on human connection, so information is easier to hear and process. Continue reading “Featured Fem | Meet Melissa Rose”

Featured Fem | Meet Beatriz Fernandez

Bea headshotBeatriz Fitzgerald Fernandez is a Latina poet and a university Reference Librarian in Miami.  She grew up in Puerto Rico, the daughter of Peruvian and Puerto Rican parents.  She began to write for publication after she won Writer’s Digest’s 2nd annual poetry contest; since then, she’s read her poetry on WLRN, South Florida’s NPR news station and received a Pushcart prize nomination. Recent poetry appears in Minerva Rising Literary Journal, When Women Waken and Words Dance. Her first chapbook, Shining from a Different Firmament, (Finishing Line Press) was accepted for presentation at the Miami Book Fair International last year. She will be serving as a judge for Poetry Press Week during the O, Miami poetry festival in 2016.

Fem: Tell us about your chapbooks.

Beatriz Fernandez: My first chapbook, Shining from a Different Firmament, (Finishing Line Press, 2015) begins with a ghazal in the voice of Hypatia, who has long been a symbol of feminism after being martyred by religious fanatics for being who she was—brilliant, beautiful, educated, an inspiring teacher, an accomplished mathematician, astronomer and philosopher, and an independent unmarried woman. The poems attempt to capture the voices of historical, fictional and legendary women, some famous, some forgotten or overlooked. It ends with a poem about an unknown homeless woman on the streets of Miami who symbolizes all women whose stories will never be told. Continue reading “Featured Fem | Meet Beatriz Fernandez”

Featured Fem | Meet Evangeline Jennings

Deep In ThoughtBorn and raised in Liverpool where they invented both football and popular music, Evangeline Jennings now lives in Austin, Texas. The black sheep of her family, she comes from a long line of Californian beauty queens on her mother’s side. Evangeline gets her looks from her father. Mostly Evangeline writes stories about girls. Sometimes women. She believes in equality, so she writes about that. She also writes about gender, sexuality, and violence against women. Her characters often seek bloody satisfaction. Sometimes they achieve it.

Fem: What was the motivation behind Pankhearst, your independent writers’ collective?

Evangeline Jennings: Primarily, to learn by doing. Everything else evolved organically from there. It’s all very instinctive.
Continue reading “Featured Fem | Meet Evangeline Jennings”

Featured Fem | Meet Cathleen Allyn Conway

imageCathleen Allyn Conway is finishing her PhD in creative writing at Goldsmiths College, University of London. She is the co-editor of Plath Profiles, the only academic journal dedicated to the work of Sylvia Plath, and the founder and editor of Thank You For Swallowing. Her work has appeared in Bitch, Well Versed (The Morning Star), The Mary Sue, 3:AM Magazine, Magma, South Bank Poetry, Ink Sweat and Tears, London Grip and in anthologies. Her pamphlet Static Cling was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2012. Originally from Chicago, she lives in London with her partner and son. View her work here.

Fem: Tell us about Thank You for Swallowing. How did it get started? 

Cathleen Allyn Conway: Caroline Klocksiem wrote a piece for VIDA about the poem “Thank You for Swallowing My Cum” being included in the 2015 edition of Best of British Poetry. She was not the only one to have a strong negative reaction to the poem or its elevated status as the ‘best’ British poetry had to offer this year. The original publisher of “Thank You for Swallowing My Cum” is an online magazine that was already on my radar because its editors made some shitty “duckface” comments about a selfie included in a submission and they sent that insulting exchange back to the poet. Classy. (I encouraged duckface selfies for all submissions that first year, because you can take the girl out of Chicago…) Continue reading “Featured Fem | Meet Cathleen Allyn Conway”