Sponsor Shout-out: Financial Times

We are just two days away from the start of BinderCon, and we can see you’re all getting excited. We are too!

We are very grateful to the Masthead_blackFinancial Times for making BinderCon possible.

Make sure you check out the Financial Times‘  Executive Diversity Report, out today! It includes articles about how a rental car company might be more inclusive than Hollywood, how a contribution to the fight against marriage equality cost a Mozilla chief exec his job, and a list of the top 100 LGBT people in business.

The FT’s Team Communities would like to invite you to join their Communities Forum (signup here). What’s in it for you? Exclusive access to events, giveaways and more. It is free to join and you don’t need to be a subscriber to get in on the action.

Great access and opportunities aside, the FT would welcome your feedback. If you have any ideas about how they can better meet your needs, email teamcommunities@ft.com or find them on Twitter @FTCommunities.



Sponsor Shout-Out: The Harnisch Foundation

harnisch2The Harnisch Foundation has been encouraging philanthropy, investing in entrepreneurial journalism, and funding research into professional coaching since 1998. What all these things have in common is a search for improving people’s lives with great ideas the Foundation seeks out. As the Harnisch Foundation puts it: “We are collaborative and inclusive. Our projects often showcase the work of others, and we act as a convener.”

We are so grateful that the Harnisch Foundation chose to invest in us and in women and gender-nonconforming writers through their support of BinderCon, and we wanted to let you know how else they could help you directly.

The Harnisch Foundation has a long history of supporting innovative models of entrepreneurial journalism, which have the potential to upend the old model that has left women and people of color behind. One project they’ve supported that we really love is the Op Ed Project, which seeks to diversify the range of expert voices being heard in the media by giving those experts media training and connecting them with journalists.

And new this year, the Harnisch Foundation has gotten on board with the Awesome Foundation, starting its own chapter called Awesome Without Borders, which gives out $1,000 grants every week to people with an awesome idea that will help the world. You don’t have to be part of a non-profit; you don’t even need to live in the States. Just have an awesome idea and apply here. (Just take a look at least; the form is so straightforward, you might be inspired!)




Required Reading: Links of the Week

Here’s what we at BinderCon have been reading this week. But first, a reminder to act fast and grab one of the last few slots for our speed pitching event, happening on Sunday morning of the conference, which starts in eight days!

Ali Liebegott, writer for the TV show Transparent (available to you through your own or somebody else’s Amazon Prime account password), penned an essay about their experience as a butch dyke freelancer writer, being invited to write for Transparent, and how their experience informs the show:

I wanted to get it right, and recognized the dangers of a bad representation. I’ve lived a good part of my life in a gender non-conforming body. As a butch who is constantly misgendered and regendered throughout the day by strangers, I have some crossover with a trans experience especially when it comes to using public restrooms, navigating airports, getting wanded by security detail on entering a sporting event, so I felt like I could use my experience to add to the conversation.


Daisy Hernández‘s account of a summer editorial internship at the New York Times is funny, enraging, and useful to other young women writers of color entering journalism (alas, things haven’t been getting better). Hernández’s anecdotes are cutting, like this one:

Because it’s the beginning of summer, NPR has an obligatory story about the high number of girls who are going to tanning salons. I listen to this while lying in bed next to my girlfriend, who frequents these salons, and with my idea for getting Colombians political asylum stalled, I suggest writing on the evils of the fake tan.

Mr. Flaco loves it. White men can always be counted on to agree that girls do crazy things in the name of beauty and that they need to be chastised. Who better than to scold teenage girls than a young woman herself?

BinderCon speaker Jill Filipovic wrote about how “parental consent” laws in Alabama are putting minors who want abortions on trial (not just morally; literally in a court room):

It allows the court to appoint the embryo or fetus a “guardian ad litem,” which is a person, usually a lawyer, tasked with advocating for the embryo’s interests in court. It also requires that the district attorney appear to represent the interests of the state — which the law explicitly says are “to protect unborn life.” And the DA can call the young woman’s friends, family members, teachers, or employers as witnesses if he deems it necessary.


Zoë Heller and BinderCon speaker Leslie Jamison ask: Should Writers Avoid Sentimentality? Jamison gets to the heart (ahem) of it, saying:

The fear of being too sentimental — writing or even liking sentimental work — shadowed the next decade of my life. The fear was so ingrained in me it became difficult to tell where outside voices ended and internal ones began. But the whole time I wasn’t entirely sure what I was afraid of: What was the difference between a sentimental story and a courageously emotive one?

Finally, ICYMI, as if: a conversation between Roxane Gay and Lena Dunham, including this dialogue about Internet criticism:

[Gay] Absolutely. I run into it because so much of what I get is noise and people being evil, and there is nothing I can do to fix that. But then something comes through, whether it is in a comment or on Twitter or via email, that is lucid and that challenges me in a truthful way, and that is when I respond. I respond when I am going to be able to become better and do better.
[Dunham] That is so well-put. It is hard to be criticized and it is hard to change, but it also feels good. The thing that allows you to keep being vital in your work is to open up to stuff and to be a permeable membrane. When I first started, the [charges of] racism around the first season of the show — I did not know what was going on and I had evil people telling me not to speak, but I also had people [saying], “You have to shut everything out, or you are going to go insane.” And it took me a little while to realize that it was going to be better for me to engage and learn and hear than it was for me to go into my house and wrap a blanket around my head. That was the beginning of a really, really, really important lesson for me.

Happy Weekend Before BinderCon! Rest up!


Meet Marie Myung-Ok, Journalist and Novelist

MarieMyung-OkLee200We sent out a survey asking the same questions to our speakers to help you get to know them better. Here’s Marie Myung-Ok Lee, who will be participating in the panel Mothers Writing Motherhood, on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at the Great Hall at Cooper Union.

In a few sentences, who are you?

My essays have appeared in The New York Times, Slate, The Guardian, The NationSalon, and I’m a regular contributor to The Atlantic.  I was the first recipient of a creative writing Fulbright Fellowship to South Korea and has been one of the few journalists granted a visa to North Korea. I’ve held residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, Ucross and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and teaches fiction at Columbia, where was the Our Word Writer-in-Residence. My forthcoming novel is being published by Simon & Schuster.

Describe one moment, event, person, relationship or other thing that put you on the path to becoming a writer, or told you that this was going to be your career.

When I was nine and my brother gave me his old typewriter. I’d been writing stories before that, but with the typewriter, I was struck at how “professional” they looked right off the bat, so I three-hole-punched it and bound it in yarn, and sold it to my parents for I think a dime. It was at that moment I realized that’s ALL I wanted to do, forever.

What’s essential for your work routine, ie. early morning start, some type of music, clean teeth, a looming deadline?

Piping hot, french-pressed coffee, beeswax candles, 4:30 a.m., gluten-free cookies. Also, no chi-moving stuff (e.g., yoga, meditation) until after writing is done.

After casting a glance at our program, who’s another speaker you’re excited to see at Out of the Binders and why?

Leslie Jamison. She’s taken the essay form, exploded it and put it back together in a way that some of its irregularities are the most beautiful parts. Her essays evoke something in the viscera that I once thought–snobbishly, I know–that only novels could do. And that she’s a woman and writes with the “I,” but is obviously a writer to be reckoned with, makes her a perfect fit for BinderCon.

Why do you think this Out of the Binders conference needs to exist?

We need to connect, support, share, inspire as women writers and just as writers. Plus, it’s fun to be in a club as an adult.

What’s one link you’d give to someone who wants to read or find out more about your work?

My forthcoming novel is not autobiographical, but it’s a satire about the “future of medicine,” and I’m realizing how much it’s been influenced by my father, who was quite a “character”–this essay [published in the New York Times, and featuring our favorite Mitt Romney] captures aspects of both my nonfiction and fiction.

Let’s get people connected with you!

Twitter: @MarieMyungOkLee [and Instagram too!]
Facebook: Marie Myung-Ok Lee

Feel free to add anything you’d like included in this post, like a thought, a quote, a cat gif, whatever.

Flannery O’Connor, one of the best writers who ever lived, said, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” I feel exactly the same way. Thank you, Flannery!



Sponsor Shout-Out: Bustle, Financial Times and hint

BinderCon has been lucky to find great partners to help make the dream of helping women writers out of the binders and supporting, sharing and collaborating with each other into a reality. We’d like to tell you about three of our sponsors–Bustle, the Financial Times, and hint–who generously support BinderCon.


The Financial Times’ new Communities Forum

The FT’s Team Communities would like to invite you to join their Communities Forum (signup here). What’s in it for you? Exclusive access to events, giveaways and more. It is free to join and you don’t need to be a subscriber to get in on the action. Great access and opportunities aside, the FT would welcome your feedback. If you have an ideas about how they can better meet your needs, email teamcommunities@ft.com or find them on twitter @FTCommunities.


Bustle is a website “Redefining Women’s Interest” with smart takes on news, entertainment, fashion, book, lifestyle and anything else that women care about. Dig in, starting with our own BinderCon Director of Outreach’s Bustle piece, “I was in an abusive relationship with a woman… until one book got me out.

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