Argh, how could I have forgotten to tell you about The Yellow Room Magazine? It's the brainchild of Jo Derrick (some of you may remember her as Jo Good from QWF).
I can't tell you what a formative influence QWF was on my own writing. When I first read through the stories in that little handbag shaped magazine, I felt a jolt of excitement - these were the type of stories I wanted to read and to write. Then I submitted. Was rejected. Submitted. Rejected but with such a helpful, personal letter from Jo, I kept on going. Submitted. ACCEPTED!
Here's a confession - I slept with that acceptance letter - my first ever - under my pillow that night. Pretty spooky for Jo to hear, I'm sure, but there is almost no experience that comes close to that public recognition that you can write, and that your writing has been read by someone who appreciated it. A published writer - no one can take that away!
And then I kept on submitting and felt part of my first literary family. I still look out for the names of the women who were also writing and being published by QWF. Mostly Jo's taste in stories seemed to be mine too. I'm sure it helped shape my writing aesthetic. She says, "I want something which pushes the boundaries of women’s fiction. Something which goes a few steps further than the fiction found in women’s magazines." She certainly succeeded.
Anyway, as anyone involved in any kind of literary endeavour knows, editing and publishing a magazine is HARD WORK so it wasn't surprising that Jo needed a break from QWF and it went to a new editorship.
But now, she's back ... with The Yellow Room Magazine. And in typical Jo fashion is managing to create another supportive, challenging and exciting community. As the website says, it is "A place where women writers can gather together for support, encouragement and friendship."
I have to say it's the kind of initiative that makes me very happy.