How to Bring Your Voice to Life in Personal Essays

Diane McKinney-Whetstone is the author of three critically acclaimednovels: (William Morrow, 1996;Scribner, 1997), ( WilliamMorrow, 1998; Quill, 1999), and (William Morrow, 1999). Her short fiction has appeared in the , and in the SundayMagazine of the . Shehas been a regular contributor to , and her essays have also appeared in . She is the recipient of numerous awardsincluding a special citation from the Athenaeum of Philadelphia for anoutstanding work of fiction by a Philadelphia author, an award from theZora Neale Hurston Society for creative contribution to literature, andresolutions from the City of Philadelphia and Senate of Pennsylvania forher portrayal of urban life. She is a past recipient of a PennsylvaniaCouncil on the Arts grant and has lectured widely on the writingprocess. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Not surprisingly, personal narratives and essays are often used for state writing assessments

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It’s worth mentioning that there is a $25 fee to SUBMIT to Creative Nonfiction. I know it’s a reputable magazine and many writers would love to be included in their fine collection of personal essays, but I find this fee offensive. There are many of us writers willing to write and submit for free for the exposure alone but to have to PAY to even be considered? Shame on them.

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THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU LISA! I have been searching for months for this sort of guidance. I write travel based narratives, but so many magazines are looking for “round ups” and other helpful articles, it was feeling like good old story telling was being sent to the sidelines. I think I’m now obsessed too Alexis! Time to get pitching.
Good luck everyone.

We’re happy to hear from other magazines as well — it’s great to see so many options for personal essays! Good luck with your submission!
I just finished a personal essay. Thank you for the super list. I love the other magazines chiming in with a call for submissions.

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Erin Gautsche is the Program Coordinator for the Kelly Writers Houseat the University of Pennsylvania and coordinates the 300+ free andpublic literary programs that the Writers House offers every year, andproduces of the long-running monthly radio show, “LIVE at the WritersHouse” on 88.5-FM WXPN. She runs the 15th Room Press, a division of theCommon Press a collaborative letterpress project at Penn. She is amember of the arts advisory board for the First Person Festival, theonly national festival dedicated to documentary and memoir writing. Sheis a graduate of Goshen College with a degree in English and CreativeWriting. She has an MLA from the University of Pennsylvania in post-warpoetics, art history, and fiction writing. She has led writing workshopsfor children in Indiana and Guatemala, and reading and writing groupsfor adults in Philadelphia and an online book group for Penn alumni inthe Writers House Online Book Groups Program.

Personal essays by popular authors and novices alike are relatable, engrossing reads

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, LynnLevin, poet, writer, and translator, is the author of six books, mostrecently: (Ragged Sky Press, 2013), a 2014 NextGeneration Indie Book Awards finalist in poetry; as co-author, (Texture Press, 2013), a 2014Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalist in education/academic books;and a translation from the Spanish, (2Leaf Press, 2014), a collection of poems by the Peruvian Andean poetOdi Gonzales. Her other books include (Loonfeather Press, 2009), a Next Generation Indie Book Awards finalistin poetry; (Loonfeather Press, 2005), a finalist forForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award; and (Loonfeather Press, 2000). Lynn Levin’s poems have appearedin and on Garrison Keillor’s radioshow The Writer’s Almanac. She has published essays in , and other places. Her short fictionappears in and .Her website is .

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Marcella Durand’s recent books include , acollaboration with Tina Darragh published by Little Red Leaves in 2009;, published by Belladonna Books in 2008 as part of theCouncil of Literary Magazines and Small Press’s FACE OUT program, and, a site-specific book-length poem writtenduring a residency at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in downtownManhattan (Futurepoem Books, 2008). She has collaborated with artists onvarious projects, including most recently a collaboration with NewOrleans artist Karoline Schleh titled, “Stare: What Wild New World IsThis?” (exhibited at Barrister’s Gallery, Fall 2010). She has talkedabout the potential intersections of poetry and ecology at Kelly WritersHouse, Poets House, Small Press Traffic, Naropa University, and othervenues. Her essays and poetry have appeared in , and other journals. She was a 2009 fellow inPoetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts.