The Greek goddess Artemis has long been a symbol of female fortitude. For Eloise Klein Healy, who became interested in the deity in the early eighties, Artemis is also a symbol of her dedication to small press publishing. In 2006 the California poet and editor—whose second collection, Artemis in Echo Park, was published by Firebrand Books in 1991—founded Arktoi Books (www.arktoi.com), an imprint of Red Hen Press, specifically to promote the work of lesbian writers. Named for the ancient Greek arktoi (“the bears,” or girls who served at the temple of Artemis at Brauron), the press was established in order to open a conversation among lesbian writers, an exchange of ideas and experiences. Until recently Arktoi had published only poetry and fiction, but the press is opening its list to nonfiction. Kansas author Kelly Barth was selected last spring to be the first memoirist to enter the Arktoi catalogue; she will do so in 2012, with My Almost Certainly Real Imaginary Jesus, the story of the author’s “trial-and-error journey through a plethora of evangelical religions while dealing with her budding lesbian sexuality,” according to Healy. Barth’s book will follow Arktoi’s February offering: Rita Mae Reese’s The Alphabet Conspiracy, a poetry collection that has drawn comparisons to Whitman in its democratic sweep. Previously published Arktoi authors include Catherine Kirkwood, whose novel Cut Away was released in 2010; Ching-In Chen, whose novel-in-poems, The Heart’s Traffic, was published in 2009; and Elizabeth Bradfield, whose poetry collection Interpretive Work appeared in 2008. (A sampler of excerpts from all the authors’ works is available as a PDF on the Arktoi website.) Because the press concentrates on a single title annually, the reading periods are limited and specific to genre. Through November, Arktoi is reading poetry manuscripts, followed by fiction from January to March; the next reading period for nonfiction will be in 2014. Submissions should consist of a full manuscript (a poetry collection should be fifty to eighty pages, but prose manuscripts may be of any length), a cover letter, a bio, and an overview of the work. Visit the website for specific submission dates and contact information.
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