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 styles of mainstream publishing, or catering their writing to the narrow concerns 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, Lauren Quinn, Amanda Giracca, Simone Gorrindo, and Molly Beer – to help build Vela from the ground up, by contributing their work, inviting participation from writers they respected, and creating a strong and supportive community. Vela has since opened to submissions, and been highlighted in The New Yorker, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Longform.org, and elsewhere. Vela stories have been selected as “notable” by The Best American Essays, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Sports Writing.

Why “inspired by travel”?

Vela stories often emphasize place and involve inner or outer journeys, using travel as a framework, lens, or jumping-off point. 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.


  1. I think your story on Dory is very negative. Since he is not alive to defend himself, I would say on his behalf and bet a million bucks he’d be embarrassed and asked for the article to be taken down.

  2. I nominated you for a Liebster Award! — Marianne Villanueva