Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Desperately Seeking Madonna Submissions

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I'm looking for sharp women-authored nonfiction essay submissions for Her Madgesty, a new anthology (forthcoming from Soft Skull Press) about our favorite freaky feminist singer/artist/'Sex'-er/mother/material girl: Madonna.

She's been such a powerful, iconic cultural figure for the past 27 years (!). For women and girls in America, it's almost impossible not have been influenced, in some way, by her media presence.

I want to hear how Madonna has changed your life. Love her or hate her, you probably have an opinion. She elicits major passion from millions of people. Whether you think she's a genius marketing maven, a pioneering feminist businesswoman or little more than a very rich stripper, I want to hear your perspectives. How did her work affect your feelings, your mindset, your sexuality, your ambitions? How did seeing her videos on MTV change the way you thought about growing up female? How did your parents react when they heard you singing the lyrics to "Like a Virgin" at the dinner table? What was it like the first time you saw her perform live? What about her pisses you off to no end?

I don't care if you love her or loathe her. Just own a strong point of view, and write your essay in an honest, thoughtful, engaging fashion. Having a very specific, unique angle is a plus.

Some possible themes are below. No need to heed them if you have another idea of your own:

How your ideas about feminism changed, or were challenged, by Madonna
How her ever-changing image helped spark a transformation in your life
Madonna's role in club / nightlife culture and how that impacted you
Madonna's role as a mom
How her sexual expressiveness affected your feelings about your body or your sexuality
How Madonna influenced your thoughts about gender roles / identity
How she influenced your approach to romantic and sexual relationships
How she helped you come out
How you felt about her as a child or adolescent vs. how you see her as an adult
The many eras of Madonna (the club kid, the sex queen, the superstar, the spiritual seeker, the caretaker, the humanitarian) -- in your own life, how have you evolved on a similar (or different) path?
WORD COUNT: Submissions should be between 1000 - 5000 words, double-spaced and paginated.

DEADLINE: Feb. 15, 2011

DETAILS: Please send your submission via email, as a Microsoft Word document attachment, to Also include your full name, address, phone number, email address and a short author bio.

CONTACT: Feel free to email the editor, Laura Barcella, at with questions.

FURTHER INFO: Writers whose work is selected for publication will be notified as quickly as possible. Writers whose work is selected for inclusion will be paid a small stipend ($TBD) upon publication. They will also receive 2 copies of the book.

ABOUT THE EDITOR: Laura Barcella is a San Francisco-based writer & editor who has written for more than 40 magazines, newspapers, and websites, including the Village Voice,,, Time Out New York, and the Chicago Sun-Times. She also contributed to the acclaimed book BitchFest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism From the Pages of Bitch Magazine. Visit her website at

Amy Stockwell Mercer is a freelance writer living in Charleston, SC with her husband and three sons. An MFA graduate in Creative Writing from Queens University, she writes about art and artist profiles for Charleston Magazine, The City Paper, Charleston Art Mag, and Art Papers. Amy also writes about living with chronic illness, and is finishing a book about women with diabetes for Demos Health. When she needs to get out of her own head, she teaches college students how to write the 5 paragraph essay. You can read more of her writing at her website.

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