The BinderCast is the only podcast exclusively devoted to women and gender non-conforming writers and their careers. In each episode, co-hosts Lux Alptraum and Leigh Stein tackle the essential questions of making it as a writer. Produced by Jennifer Lai.
Soap operas. Romance novels. Fan fiction. They’re some of the most derided genres of writing – and they also happen to be the forms of writing most readily associated with women. On this episode of The BinderCast, Lux and Leigh check in with best selling author Danielle Paige about getting her start in soaps, updating The Wizard of Oz for the modern era, and why you should always end a scene with a bitch slap.
As our birthday week celebrations draw to a close we’d like to leave you with a few more nuggets of goodness. Together, we are making a difference in the careers and lives of women and non-binary writers. Here are two wonderful examples of the successes we love to see and hear about, in their own words:
“Since my very first BinderCon, I went from a small handful of regional publications to bylines in The New York Times, the LA Review of Books, The Rumpus, and Hobart, where my 2015 essay on Twin Peaks was a notable mention in the year’s Best American Essays collection!
I’ve gained the courage to ask for what I want and what I deserve, which has been one of the most important lessons I’ve ever been taught. I see my own value as a writer and can simultaneously map the directions in which I’d like to grow, basing these goals on other powerful women-identifying writers around me.”
“I’ve published personal essays online and made connections with a million Binders–who share and support my work daily. I’ve found editing jobs, been featured on another writer’s website, and been used as an article source. The agent I pitched at BinderCon NYC 2015 told me to pitch her future manuscripts, too!
Like I said, most of my friends are now Binders. I have learned so much about social justice, ally-ship, my passing privilege, how to be a decent person–and that’s not necessarily directed to writing. I’ve learned the importance of pitching, and that there is a market for personal essays, and to keep going. I’ve learned that writing full-time might even be a real possibility.”
Naseem has been an invaluable asset to our social media team and continues to give back to the organization by volunteering.
Want to get involved? Here are a few ways:
- Attend BinderCon NYC 2016 at Cooper Union NYU, October 29 & 30, 2016. Tickets are now available.
- Buy a BinderCon Support a Scholar scholarship ticket for a deserving scholar.
- Donate to the cause!
New York Times bestselling author and BinderCon keynote, Suki Kim has been getting a lot of press as of late, primarily surrounding racism, sexism, and what she considers to be the misbranding of her investigative narrative journalism book, Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite, as memoir. In the past few weeks she has been featured on BuzzFeed News, NPR’s Morning Edition, and FlavorWire.
In her recent essay, “The Reluctant Memoirist,” Kim took on racism and sexism in the publishing world.
“I really do not feel comfortable with my book being called a memoir,” I told her. “I think calling it a memoir trivializes my reporting.”
As the only journalist to have lived undercover in North Korea, Kim explores not only the decision to brand her book as memoir, but the backlash she received from journalists:
“In their eyes, it seemed, I was a memoirist treading on journalistic turf, a Korean schoolteacher who sold out her students for a quick buck.”
Kim was also recently featured on KCRW’s Press Play with Madeline Brand. You can listen to that interview here: How Journalist Suki Kim Became a Reluctant Memoirist.
Last November, Suki Kim was a keynote speaker at BinderCon NYC. Here are a few key video segments from her talk:
After putting out a call to our community for their success stories this week, we received this message from a three-time BinderCon attendee. We are sharing her letter with her permission.
It took a lot longer than I intended to get my thoughts on paper. It was impossible for me to describe in just a few sentences what BinderCon means to me because the truth is, it was the catalyst that empowered me, as a woman and as a writer, to change my life.
Two years ago I was a young mother who felt trapped in a life and a community that was oppressive and stifling. Growing up in an insular hasidic community, I didn’t know people who didn’t look like me, dress like me, or live like me, and I took for granted misogynistic and racist structures I was raised with; it was all I knew. At some point however, I became sorely disillusioned and I started questioning what I was taught to believe. I was forced to reevaluate and reconceptualize everything I thought I knew about the world and about myself.
I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t know how to go about having a career. I started looking for resources online, an infraction in a community whose rabbis had banned the internet, and I came across the kickstarter campaign for BinderCon in the summer of 2014. On impulse, I decided to support it and buy a ticket. It was an act of rebellion, almost. I had never before attended an event outside of the hasidic community, and I had no idea what to expect.
At the conference I discovered an entire new world. I didn’t understand much of the conversations during sessions and panels because most references to mainstream culture, media and literature were completely foreign to me. For the first time I was introduced to feminism and to issues like gender diversity, misogyny, racism, sexism and social justice. I came home with pages and pages of notes and I spent the next few months reading, researching, and educating myself.
Most important, for me, was the realization that diversity is a beautiful thing, not a threat. I also realized that identity is complex and evolving; something that one must define on their own, something that isn’t rooted in or dependent on communal expectation and approval. It was a long, difficult journey to find myself and be true to myself in an environment that values conformity above everything else, but I’ve never been happier.
As for my writing, I learned so much, from the basics of what a query is, what pitching is, to understanding how publishing works and how to network. I met wonderful, supportive writers who informed and bettered my work, and I am currently working on several projects I am very passionate about.
I am living a reality I never dreamed could be mine. I was in a particularly vulnerable space when I started searching for answers outside of the world I knew, and I am incredibly grateful that what I found at BinderCon was empowering and liberating.
Did you know that in the two years BinderCon has been around we’ve facilitated 1,158 pitch meetings? That’s 1,158 meetings between writers and agents, editors, and publishers. Every BinderCon offers the opportunity for attendees to add on Speed Pitch sessions to their agenda. Below are just some of the many success stories from pitch meetings at BinderCon.
A few pitch success stories:
Michelle Marie Robles Wallace pitched Arielle Pardes of Vice and sold the piece, “The Artists Using the US-Mexico Border as a Blank Canvas“!
Lisa Rabasca Roepe sold her story “Are Gen X Women Being Squeezed Out Of The Workplace” To Fast Company as a result of her Speed Pitch session with a Fast Company editor. Here’s what she had to say:
“Fast Company is a publication I read all the time but I never would have the guts to pitch them without the opportunity to speed pitch their editor at BinderCon. I am so thrilled to have pitched this article and then had this published on their site…This would not have been possible without the support of BinderCon. In fact, just about every one of my freelancing gigs can be traced back to the support I get from other Binders so thank you!”
Osayi Endolyn met her agent Monica Odem, of Bradford Literary Agency, at BinderCon, not only at Speed Pitch, but by happenstance sat right next to her in one of the panels sessions before as well. To read the full story of how they met, what made Osayi’s pitch stand out and more, read the full email feature.
Motivated to get your career of the ground? Join us for the 5th BinderCon this October in New York. Tickets are selling faster than ever so get yours now!
We’re always thrilled to see how our programming, support and efforts have helped women and non-binary writers, but it’s not every day we hear about a sister team! We hope you enjoy reading about the RossMottley sisters’ experiences at BinderCon:
I’ve gone to three Bindercon conferences so far and each and every time I have transformative experiences. I’ve been given countless opportunities to connect with women but more importantly women who write. Each time I make a new friend or network with a potential future colleague the foundation for my career becomes stronger and more dynamic. I haven’t done well with the traditional school structure in the past and I find this conference fills that educational space for me. These conferences really have been such a value to me that it can’t be quantified.
Bindercon has impacted my life in immeasurable ways; most significantly with the women I’ve been connected to through this semi-annual conference. I have no idea how I would have met writers who I now consider my mentors, my friends, and the people who inspire me to work hard and believe in myself on a consistent basis. Providing a space for women and gender non-conforming writers to get together, learn from each other, and help each other with their careers is vital. Having dropped out of university, I’ve decidedly been taking an alternative route to my goals. Out of the Binders has helped me get right back on track; especially with the practice pitch meetings. I was able to meet producers whose work I love and was given amazing advice and support. The general atmosphere of the two day event is so encouraging and inspiring! And importantly, it is still very realistic. The balance of the creative panels and workshops with the business ones is one that I personally really enjoy. I’ve made several incredible work connections from this conference that continue to grow. It may sound dramatic, but with complete honesty Bindercon has changed my life. I will always be very grateful to everyone who puts so much time and effort into making the conferences not only happen, but constantly improve. Thank you so much!
July is our birthday month and we’ll be celebrating all this week! Can you believe we’re only two years old? Not, bad for a toddler, huh?
Join us online and keep up with the latest happenings by following the #BinderConTurns2 hashtag.
Don’t forget, this week is your last chance to buy Early Bird Tickets to BinderCon NYC (Oct. 29 & 30, 2016 at NYU)!