OyeDrum is “an online magazine dedicated to women and their existence through words, art and sound.” You can read more about the name OyeDrum here. They feature a quarterly themed issue from a selection of curated work, and a weekly section that includes ongoing content including news, editorial commentary, and interviews. They are accepting submissions for their forthcoming issue with the theme of science-fiction/fantasy and are seeking visual art, performance art, short-films, spoken-audio pieces, creative writing, poetry, hybrid work, photo essays, graphic novels, and more by individuals identifying as women.
I love the aesthetic of their site, so I interviewed Head Witch/Editor Amarantha da Cruz to find out more. See my interview with da Cruz and a link to submission guidelines below.
HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about OyeDrum.
DA CRUZ: OyeDrum is a platform to find, nurture and promote creative and intellectual work by women. It is a platform, community, and most importantly, a safe space for women everywhere, from all walks of life, to have their voices heard. We also aim to bring an eclectic mix of both established and emerging artists and writers, and to encourage experimentation and exploration in creative work.
HOPKINSON: How/why was OyeDrum originally started?
DA CRUZ: While pursuing my MFA in Creative Writing at City College in New York, I took a class with author and professor Laura Hinton called Experimental Hybrid Poetics: Questions of Meaning, where we experimented with both form and "meaning," through observing and creating works that juxtapose a literary language with a multi-media form. That semester, the classroom happened to be women only, and, luckily, it was a group of very talented women. We shared some of our most honest and experimental work with each other, within a safe and supportive environment that felt like a sisterhood. We encouraged each other while providing constructive criticism. As the semester was coming to an end, I was trying to figure out how to translate that experience outside of the classroom.
In the class, we were encouraged to submit our work for publications, but it was a bit of a struggle to find publications that accepted the type of work we were doing. I also noted that there was a divide between art, media and literary publications. A year later, I stayed in touch with those ladies but didn't move forward with my ideas. Then, my mother died, and the grief was nearly impossible to handle, leading me to take up a project to keep me sane. I then remembered my old idea of wanting to reproduce that female community and exchange personal work, and I needed it more than ever. So I reached out to my old class buddies, and the magazine came immediately to mind as the project I had to do.
I wanted something that was imperfect, punk, funny, weird, moody, strange, cheerful yet snarky, cynical yet optimistic. I wanted to create a website that made the user feel like they're visiting a close friend.
HOPKINSON: Who is your target reader audience?
DA CRUZ: Everyone and anyone (of all genders or no gender identity) who wants to consume work with substance or find inspiration. We make it a point to be very inclusive and be as diverse as possible. I hope that the audience is a reflection of the diverse authors we publish. I'm also using this platform to promote more work by women of color. I hope they are reading this and feel encouraged to submit their stuff!
HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?
DA CRUZ: I'm looking for bold and fearless work. Work that evokes feeling or provokes thought. I'm looking for pieces with narrative that really say something, like a social commentary or observation. Things that are shocking, provocative, not frequently discussed, or a genre, topic or subject in which there needs to be more female voices heard. The next theme is science fiction/fantasy, partially because it's a genre that is still very male dominated. I thought it would be interesting to challenge that. I also like pieces that make me learn something new, are weird, funny, or universal themes that bring us together as people.
HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but rarely comes in?
DA CRUZ: Music, multimedia, and performance art. We're also in shortage of writing – both creative and non. We'd love to get more literary pieces, as well as journalistic efforts such as reviews, social commentaries, profiles, or personal essays.
HOPKINSON: What are some of your favorite lit mags/journals?
DA CRUZ: Off the top of my head: The New Yorker, Granta, Bitch Magazine, Winter Tangerine, The Paris Review, Words Without Borders, Creative Nonfiction.
HOPKINSON: What is your favorite part of being on staff with OyeDrum?
DA CRUZ: After I posted the first open call, before the website even existed, I was very moved and surprised to receive so much enthusiasm and support from women everywhere, even those who got rejected from the first issue. Also, having the opportunity to review an incredibly diverse body of submissions and discussing them with the team. It's actually fun.
HOPKINSON: Where can women send submissions?
DA CRUZ: email@example.com
HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?
DA CRUZ: They can submit their questions to firstname.lastname@example.org as well, and either I or the Managing Editor, Alex, will get back to them. I discourage people from asking questions on social media messaging platforms because sometimes things get lost or filtered out by the platforms (IG, FB), going directly to a spam folder, and most of the time we don't get notified about it.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Quarterly May 10th/Weekly on a rolling basis
THEME: Theme for the quarterly forthcoming issue is science-fiction/fantasy
SUBMISSION FEE: None
FORMS: visual art, performance art, short-films, spoken-audio pieces, creative writing, poetry, hybrid work, photo essays, graphic novels, and more by individuals identifying as women