Diving For Pearls

Online writers' resources by Ingrid Bruck

Ingrid Bruck is an editor at Between These Shores.  She was a featured writer in BTSA Issue #2. Her column is devoted to online writer resources. She found her own writer support community online. Writing this column is one way of "paying it forward". 

Diving for Pearls: Online Writers Resources

BTS Books strives to be a writers resource. Toward that end, we invite writers to share their information, link, and news of interest for the literary community. 

Email your pearls of resources for writers to:

Ingrid Bruck, Network and Resource Editor


February 2021

The Literary World Aftershocks: Black Voices Speak Out

George Floyd was murdered by a policeman on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. The white officer arresting Floyd restrained him with a knee to the throat, and he didn’t stop until Floyd suffocated, despite the victim’s repeated pleas of “I can’t breathe.” Protests against this act of racial brutality spun into the streets, around the globe, into the art world.

I refer you to an article, “The Ten Biggest Literary Stories of the Year” by Emily Temple that appeared in Lit Hub, December 22, 2020. https://lithub.com/the-ten-biggest-literary-stories-of-the-year/. Floyd’s murder is #3 on her list of literary stories.  She writes, “…protests against systemic racism and police violence sparked by the murder of George Floyd sprang up around the country…” And “ 3. Everyone read Antiracist Books—or at least bought them. And I mean everyone.”  


Floyd’s killing in the US brought to the forefront an unresolved history of racial conflict based on skin color. This protest spilled into the world of literature. Writers of color and many who are white protested alongside marchers of color. Writers amid the protestors claimed personal responsibility in their art, this protest for George Floyd spilled into social, political and literary action. 


All spring after Floyd died, a procession of online and print journals and literary groups adopted the mantra of “Floyd’s Life Mattered” and “Black Lives Matter.” The literary world self-assessed, the establishment found itself wanting. They acknowledged the sad fact that a small number of Black authors have been published in relation to the much larger demographics of color. Publishers pledged to change this inequity. The lit-world declared support for Floyd and Black voices, journals and organizations released public policy statements opposing racial violence, future plans to publicize Black writers and artists were announced. Journals and lit-groups issued targeted Calls for Blacks to submit for publication. The literary community took a stand against racial violence. They expressed their desire to be part of the answer, not the problem.


The theme of Black Voices and online writer resources is well-suited to address in the Pearl Diving Column for February. Why? February is Black History Month in the US and America just celebrated the birthday of Martin Luther King, assassinated civil rights leader in the US, a federal holiday, held on the third Monday of January. The entire month of February, Black History Month, continues a celebration of Black Voices. Because February is Black History Month, many writer resources highlighting Black Lit are now being released in the US. 


In the February column of Pearl Diving, I leave you with a select list of Black Lit websites and rich offerings by Literary groups in honor of Black Voices. Some of these sites and events were planned for Black History Month in the US.  Others mark a continued dedication by literary journals and groups to highlight the wealth of work produced by Black voices which accelerated following the murder of George Floyd.   


Select List of Black Lit Resources


“12 Poems to Read for Black History Month.” A  poets.org spotlight on 11 renowned modern Black authors who cite a work by a classic Black literature writer that influenced them in their development.  https://poets.org/search?combine=12%20poems%20to%20read%20for%20Black%20History%20Month.  poets.orgspotlights more Black Lit Resources for Black History Month: Jazz Poetry, Black Reading List, National Poetry Month, Langston Hughes, Harlem Renaissance, Contemporary Black Poetry.  


Black Lives Matter, HomePage:  https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/
BLM, FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BlackLivesMatter/


“The 10 Best Political Books of 2020 by Black Women,” IDEAS, recommended by Ibram X. Kendi , January 10, 2021 in The Atlantic.  Last year, Black women called upon themselves, made themselves heard, and shared their political talents and minds.https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/01/10-best-political-books-black-women/617630/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheAtlantic+%28The+Atlantic+-+Master+Feed%29

IWWG: International Women’s Writing Guild, offers this fee-based class for Black Women Writers: “Black Like Us: Women Writing & Weaving Wisdoms - by Dorothy Randall Gray Feb 18, Feb 25 and March 4, 2021 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET A 3-week series with Dorothy Randall Gray. The power, the pathos, the poetry, lives laid bare daring to be heard - Black Like Us is an insightful exploration of fiction, nonfiction and poetry as seen through the lens of evolutionary, lesser-known, and contemporary Black women writers. Stimulating exercises, handouts, in-class writing and music inspire you to excavate the intersection of our lives, and deepen your writing arenas. This workshop invites you to share the choreography of creative consciousness with Warshan Shire, Mahogany Brown, Nikky Finney, Jacqueline Woodson, Jasmine Mans, Octavia Butler, Yaa Gyasi, Tracy K. Smith, Taiye Selasi, Stacey Ann Chin, Roxanne Gay, Tananarive Due and Aja Monet.”  https://iwwg.wildapricot.org/event-4133338. IWWG Member Registration - $59 Non-Member Registration - $89


IWWG also offers one free open mic event for Black History Month.  “We're looking forward to hosting author E. Dolores Johnson for our Feb. 7, 2021 IWWG OPEN MIC in honor of #blackhistorymonth. She'll be reading from her Memoir, "Say I'm Dead. Here's an excerpt from & link to a review from WBUR: "Johnson’s book, her first, covers decades of racist run-ins from the plantation rape of a relative to cops pulling her parents over and calling their children mongrels to a cross burning in her yard in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The author expertly flashes forward and back to show us how certain experiences shape her morphing identity which gets “tangled up in the fraught definitions of America’s racism.” Growing up she speaks the King’s English at home, Ebonics in the streets and later code-switches at her corporate job to the point of exhaustion." https://www.wbur.org/artery/2020/07/06/say-im-dead-review Please register free - all welcome - here http://www.iwwg.wildapricot.org/openmic

“10 Black Poets of Past and Present Who Deserve Unending Recognition for Their Work”  by Kara Jillian Brown in Well + Good Magazine, July 17, 2020.  https://www.wellandgood.com/black-poets/. A good list of  names of contemporary Black poets to read. 

“21 Black female poets to add to your bookshelf: It's time to diversify your literary canon.”  by Claire Cheek , The Temptest, August 5, 2020. https://thetempest.co/2020/08/05/entertainment/21-black-female-poets-to-add-to-your-bookshelf/

7 Resources on Translating Blackness, Race, and Racism," by Corine Tachtiris, from WWB Daily reading lists, in Words Without Borders, Jan. 28, 2021. https://www.wordswithoutborders.org/dispatches/article/7-resources-for-translating-blackness-race-and-racism-corine-tachtiris


“100 Best-Websites-for-Writers in 2021.”  Go to The Write Life’s list of best websites. The list has 10 subdivisions, go to ‘Black Voices’ for writer resources for Black freelancers.  https://thewritelife.com/best-websites-for-writers-2021/


Cave Canem Foundation: A Home for Black Poetry.  A gathering place in the US for modern Black poets. https://cavecanempoets.org'


“African American Poetry: 100 Must Read Books of 2020.”  TIME, November 11, 2020.  https://time.com/collection/must-read-books-2020/  Best Black Lit of 2020 includes: fiction, non-fiction & poetry. 

And Don't Forget...

High Quality Journals (No Fee to Submit)


Between These Shores Annual- Open: January 1 - June 30, 2020



Gold Dust Magazine  -  two editions per year, in June and December. They don't accept simultaneous submissions and recommend you submit two to three months prior to the publication dates.     http://www.golddustmagazine.co.uk/Writers.htm


Poetry Breakfast- Subscribe for a daily poem in your inbox. Submission Guideline:



Rat’s Ass Review- Open: Aug. 1-Sept. 30, 2019  Those published receive an invitation from Editor Roderick Bates to join a fine workshopping site.   



Verse-Virtual— supportive poetry’s community that accepts submissions the first ten days of the month.   https://www.verse-virtual.com/submit.html


General Information About Where to Submit (Fee & Free to Submit)

Submishmash Weekly by Submittable- subscribe to receive the posts  


Entropy Magazine: Where to Submit: June, July & August 2019



Erika Dreifus- subscribe to Practicing Writing Blog



Trisch Hopkinson- subscribe to her writer’s blog - Trisch emails weekly blasts of information about writer opportunities  https://trishhopkinson.com


NewPages - subscribe to receive information about writer opportunities and places to submit https://npofficespace.com/newpages-newsletter/

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