Poetry & Prose Chapbook Competition – Underrepresented Writers


In the last few weeks we’ve received some concerns, questions and some hate comments about our upcoming chapbook competition, particularly the fee-free submissions for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ writers. We would like to address some of the issues expressed by the community.

Firstly, we would like to address some of the outright hateful comments we have received we have received concerning the decision to offer 10 free submission positions to writers from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. This is NOT an attack on “straight white men” as some have claimed, nor is it “discriminatory” towards white cis-het writers. The 10 free spots were suggested as incentive for writers from certain backgrounds who, for whatever reason, have not submitted in the past to Broken Spine Arts. We want to be a more inclusive space for all. We are offering these 10 submissions for free as asking underrepresented voices to pay to be involved is not only exploitive but counterproductive to our statement of inclusivity.

This does not mean that the 20 paid submission spaces are exclusively intended for white cis-het writers. Anyone, from any background is welcome to apply and pay for their submission should they wish to or if the free spaces have already been claimed. The paid submissions will be used to fund the chapbook project, it is not a tax on the submitter’s identity.

1/3 of the overall submissions will be free and offered to individuals from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. All submissions will be read blindly by several writers of different nationalities, faiths, sexual identities and ages. No one will be discriminated against and no one will be favoured for their backgrounds.

Secondly there have been some concerns about our previous wording surrounding the free submission form. The free submission form is designed purely to offer opportunities to traditionally underrepresented writers. It is not for there as a request to prove your identity but for you to introduce yourself, à la a bio or cover letter, as much or as little as you’d like to share. It will not affect our reading of your work (as all submissions will be read blind) and it is not there for you to prove your right to be considered a part of that community or deserving of the free submission place.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. We hope it has cleared up some misconceptions. We appreciate the feedback we’ve received from you all (even the hate comments helped us outgrow them!) and we endeavour to continue to provide you all with an inclusive and supportive space at Broken Spine Arts.

You now have until 12/08/22 to respond to the waived-fee form (only the first 10 respondents will be accepted, although we will respond to all who respond next weekend).

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