Creative nonfiction inspired by travel, written by women…
Vela was founded in 2011 by Sarah Menkedick in response to the byline gender gap, as a space for women writers to write without worrying about adhering to the often male intelligences and styles of the publishing world or catering their writing to the narrow concerns and markets of “women’s magazines.” As Sarah wrote in the founding manifesto,
The fact that all of the writers are women is almost, almost incidental: it would be completely incidental if the publishing world did not create a situation in which women’s voices represent only a small fraction of the conversation. As it stands, this is the case, and as long as it continues to be the case then I believe in creating a separate space in which women can write what they want to write, with the same intellectual freedom as men; without a major overhaul of self and world views.”
Sarah invited five other writers–Eva Holland, Amanda Giracca, Simone Gorrindo, Lauren Quinn and Molly Beer–to participate in building Vela from the ground up, contributing their work, inviting participation from writers they respected, and creating a strong and supportive community. Vela has since been featured in USA Today, Perceptive Travel, Forbes, and World Hum, among other web and print publications, and Vela stories have been selected as “Spectacular Nonfiction” by The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf and featured on Longform.org, Ann Friedman’s LadyJournos, Outside Online, Byliner.com, Longreads, and The Browser. The work of Vela writers has been anthologized in Best Creative Nonfiction, The Best Women’s Travel Writing, and Imagination and Place: Cartography, and marked “notable” by both The Best American Travel Writing and The Best American Essays. Vela writers have won fellowships and grants, earned MFAs, edited literary journals, published in magazines, and written books.
Why “inspired by travel”?
Travel is a loose sieve through which Vela stories pass. This is to say, you won’t discover the top 10 taco joints in Mexico City on Vela. Our stories often emphasize place and involve inner or outer journeys, but our definition of travel is broad, encompassing a range of stories from backpacking across remote Peru to struggling with addiction on a back stoop in San Francisco.
Submission guidelines are here.