“What You Need to Know About Me” is an exciting new anthology (published by The Hawkins Project, co-founded by Dave Eggers) that highlights the experiences of young people (ages 11-24) who have immigrated from one country to another.
The International Alliance of Youth Writing Centers was conceived in the summer of 2018, when about 20 youth writing labs from around the world convened in Amsterdam. The leaders of these centers agreed there was a need to unite under one loose banner, while of course remaining independent.
I was curious how and why this anthology began, so I asked Yalie Saweda Kamara a few questions to find out. See my interview with Kamara and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about the “What You Need to Know About Me” anthology.
KAMARA: Thanks so much for this opportunity to share some information about this anthology! What You Need to Know About Me is an anthology that endeavors to create a platform for some of the most important stories of our time. It’s no secret that we’re living in a very politically tenuous moment and that one of the most hot button issues on the table is immigration policy.
Amidst the mounting violence and human rights violations we are witnessing on a global scale, we’re again being reminded that some of the most salient and brilliant thinking and forms of activism is coming from young people. We want to hear about how their lives have been affected by immigration and find it incredibly important to center this narrative on their voices; all of our contributors are between the ages of 11 and 24. As such, it would be our honor to amplify these voices, and all of the hopes, fears, and dreams tied to each of our contributor’s unique stories.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
KAMARA: Everyone who is willing to listen. There is always so much more left for us to learn about young people, and to complicate that statement more deeply, their personal experiences with immigration. So many of the narratives of young people do not receive a proper platform. We are excited to be creating an anthology of nonfiction and poetry to be read with the uninterrupted attention that it merits. The stories of these young people are hopeful, complex, nuanced, heartbreaking, yet altogether riveting.
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
KAMARA: We are looking for poetry and nonfiction from young people between the ages of 11 and 24 who have experienced immigration. We are also open to receiving submissions from young people who are part of the first generation demographic in a new country. We’re excited by all types of poetry and nonfiction. If we are really taken by a piece that was previously published, we will consider re-publishing in the pages of the anthology. We are accepting submissions until July 1, 2019, so please send us your work!
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
KAMARA: We’ve enjoyed many of the submissions that we have had the pleasure and honor of reading. In spite of this, a deep wish of ours is to have the voice of youth from every country on earth represented.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
KAMARA: There are tons we admire! We really adore lit mags and journals that find value in championing the voices of writers from marginalized communities. We also really enjoy reading journals that simultaneously celebrate the works of both established and emerging writers.
HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
DEADLINE: July 1, 2019
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS:nonfiction pieces between 100-1500 words (yes, our range spans from very, very, short to considerably longer!) and poetry (3 pages max)