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AfriGeneas Writers Forum

Writing Opportunity

Homelands: Women’s Journeys Toward Meanings of Home
(tentative title)

Edited by Patricia Justine Tumang and Jenesha de Rivera
To be published by Seal Press, Winter 2007

For as long as people have left their homes and returned, there have been stories written about journeying to the homeland. Yet, what does this journey look like when a homeland no longer exists? When its borders are policed by government-enforced laws and restrictions? When the memory of a physical place is too far removed, or possibly forgotten?
Throughout history, the phrase “homeland” has conjured up evocative metaphors and literal definitions of home. For those who have immigrated to new lands or who have been exiled to foreign countries, it often stirs up feelings of nostalgia, sentimentality, and longing. For some, “homeland” can also evoke feelings of displacement and utter loss. Displacement caused by war, natural disasters, occupation, genocide, militarism, political struggles, and colonization affects our relationship to our homelands, and oftentimes impacts whether we are able to physically return “home.” Homeland invokes contradictory feelings and ideas: rootedness and departure, stability and insecurity, reality and imagination. Whether national or international, domestic or foreign, “at home” or “abroad,” the idea of homeland has been branded on our psyches, especially with the establishment of the United States Department of Homeland Security after 9/11. In the United States and the rest of the world, the shifting borders of “homeland” have become blurred, and new meanings of home are continually being traversed upon, reconstructed, and re-imagined.
This anthology will explore women’s journeys to their “homeland(s)”—specific geographic locations, an imagined community, part of one’s identity/ body, or a memory. The editors are looking for personal essays written in first-person that investigate the complexities of how women experience, remember, or imagine journeys to their homelands. The essays will be told from the perspective of a journey. Essays from emerging as well as established writers will be accepted. We are not looking for submissions on travel adventures abroad. Rather, we are looking for unique, well-crafted personal essays from women of all races, classes, ethnicities, abilities, sexualities, religions, and nationalities, who have been transformed by their journeys—physical, spiritual, political, or imagined—to their homeland(s). We define woman as a person who has been, is, or will be a “woman.” We are interested in essays that challenge current and conventional notions of homeland. We welcome and consider new ideas other than the topics suggested below.
Possible topics include:

• The estranged homeland: the experience of living in exile

• The grass is greener on the other side: stories of immigration

• Back to my roots: stories by American-born women traveling back to the land of their ancestors

• Pilgrimages: spiritual journeys to the homeland

• In search of safety: stories of refugee journeys

• The border crossed us: women’s lives in and across borderlands

• Not another Starbucks: homelands affected by globalization

• Fragments of home: journeys to homelands affected by war or natural disasters

• Off the map: journeys to a homeland that no longer exists

• This land is my land: struggles over land and sovereignty (including, but not limited to: Guam, Hawai’i, Native Americans, the Caribbean, indigenous people, etc.)

• Ancestral amnesia: memories that are far removed from the homeland (i.e. African Americans who don’t have memories of Africa, and 2nd/3rd generation daughters of immigrants)

• Fallen walls: journeys to homelands that were once divided by walls (i.e. Germany, China) and how the destruction of these walls changed the notion of homeland and community

• Divided lands: journeys to homelands that are currently divided territories (i.e. North and South Korea)

• Making a living in a foreign land: stories of women migrating to other countries for work

• Coming home, coming out: queer women’s experiences in their homelands

• Stepping outside the gender box: transgender and gender variant women’s journeys

Editors: Patricia Justine Tumang and Jenesha de Rivera are Filipina American lesbian writers, activists, and performers who live in Oakland, CA. Their essays are in the Seal Press anthology Waking Up American: Growing Up Biculturally and Patricia’s work has appeared in Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism, and Hyphen Magazine, a magazine dedicated to Asian American issues and pop culture.
Publisher: Seal Press, an imprint of Avalon Publishing Group, publishes groundbreaking books by and for women in a variety of topics. For more information, please

Deadline: April 1, 2006

Length: 3,000–6,000 words

Format: Essays must be typed, double-spaced, and paginated. Please include your address, phone number, email address, and a short bio on the last page. No simultaneous submissions. Previously published essays will be considered. Essays will not be returned.

Submitting: Electronic submissions are preferred. Send essay electronically as a Word or Rich Text Format file (with .doc or .rtf extension) to Jenesha de Rivera and Patricia Tumang Put “Homeland Anthology” in the subject line. If email is not possible, mail the essay to Jenesha de Rivera and Patricia Tumang at: Seal Press, c/o Brooke Warner, 1400 65th Street, Suite 250, Emeryville, CA 94608. Please direct any inquiries

Payment: $50-$100 plus two books

Reply: Please allow until September 1 for a response. If you haven’t received a response by then, please assume your essay has not been selected. It is not possible to reply to every submission personally.

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18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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