June 14, 2020

Booth & Equity in Publishing

Booth’s Commitment to Racial Justice and Equity in Publishing

Booth and the rest of the publishing industry must work to dismantle institutionalized white bias and intersecting global oppressions. We are listening to our readership, our staff, and the many non-white writers calling out and calling in literary magazines and journals around the world. We understand that common deterrents to writers of color submitting work to journals like Booth include but are not limited to the following:

1. Submission and Reading Fees

Booth has never charged and will never charge reading fees for publication in our journal. We are unable to pay our writers, but all contributors receive two copies of Booth.

We are privileged to read and house the work of writers of color, and we are committed to publishing more of this work. We acknowledge that contest entry fees are often an obstacle that writers of color must overcome just to be seen. In an effort to widen the scope of Booth’s commitment to equity and to acknowledge the intersectionality of global oppression upheld by the publishing industry, all Booth writing contests for the next five years (through 2025) will be free to all writers of color. This policy may be extended beyond 2025 if Booth is financially able to do so.

2. A Lack of Black Writers and Writers of Color on Staff

We are committed to being transparent. Booth’s staff consists of Butler MFA students, faculty, and alumni. Thus our staff is primarily white, particularly our editorial board. While we fight for racial justice in publishing, we are also fighting for racial justice in academic institutions. We are hopeful that as we dismantle institutional racial bias, our staff will reflect those changes. Until that time, we are committed to reading work that challenges our internalized bias and to championing work that is not only devoid of explicit racism but also actively anti-racist.

3. Publication of Diverse Work by Writers of Color

We are committed to excellent, weird, wonderful work. We accept poetry, fiction, nonfiction, comics, and lists. We do not consider blind submissions to be “slush.” We commit to housing work from both emerging and seasoned writers, as well as work that avoids archetypes and tokenism. We will not publish work that does not meet those standards, and we hope that potential contributors feel welcome and encouraged to submit work that reflects the diversity of their own experience and aesthetics. This is absolutely true for work submitted by Black writers and writers of color. We are interested in publishing work about all facets of Black life and the lives of writers of color.

4. Publication of Diverse Work by Trans/Non-Binary Writers of Color

Booth has championed women and femmes for a long time. (See our editor’s statement on the curation of our Women’s Issue here.) We are interested in publishing work that reflects the experiences of trans/nb femmes of color and trans/nb Black writers. In the past we have not been as explicit about our commitment to intersectionality and trans-inclusivity. We acknowledge this, and we are committed to strengthening this core tenet into a tangible intersectionality.

In pursuit of this goal, we pledge to publish annual data regarding the gender breakdown of our accepted work. While we are not included in the VIDA count, our commitment to intersectional gender inclusivity is a pillar of what makes Booth, Booth.



***Addendum 01/17/2021: Indigenous Writers

5. Publication of Diverse Work by Indigenous Writers

Booth acknowledges that we gather here at Butler University on the traditional land of indigenous peoples, including the Potawatomi, Miami, Lenape/Delaware, and Shawnee. We honor with gratitude the land itself and the indigenous peoples past and present who have stewarded it throughout the generations. Part of that honoring is to prioritize housing stories told from an indigenous perspective—challenging western linguistic habits and interrogating a colonial bias in our evaluation of work. We commit to reading and honoring stories that steward the many indigenous histories and living cultures that find their way to Booth.