Ends on

During the month of September, Black Lawrence Press author Miah Jeffra is on board to critique creative nonfiction manuscripts.

Miah Jeffra is author of four books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently The Violence Almanac (finalist for several awards, including the Grace Paley, Robert C Jones and St. Lawrence Book Prizes) and American Gospel,winner of the Clark-Gross Award. Work can be seen in StoryQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, The North American Review, storySouth, DIAGRAM, jubilat and many others. Miah is co-founder of Whiting Award-winning queer and trans literary collaborative, Foglifter Press, and teaches writing and decolonial studies at Sonoma State University.

Miah is accepting everything from flash-length essays to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  • Flash Essays, up to 2 pages in length, $25
  • Essays, up to 20 pages in length, $55
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $225
  • Manuscripts, up to 180 pages in length, $475
  • Long Manuscripts, up to 300 pages in length, $725

Scholarships are available for this program.

All manuscripts should be double spaced and formatted in 12-point font.The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is September 30. Miah will complete his work and respond to all participants by October 31.


Miah's Statement of Purpose

We have a general problem in literature, and that is the privileging of certain voices. This has been discussed a lot as an issue within the publishing world, what is assigned in literature courses, and considerations with affirming what constitutes good writing. 

But we perpetuate this narrowly conceived sense of “good writing” in the consultation process, as well, through the discussion of craft and implementation of suggestions for revision. Our notion of what constitutes good craft is bound by white supremacy and unconscious bias. We have defined what is good writing by what has historically been celebrated as good writing, and then we call it craft—we think of exalted craft as being a methodology, one that is color-blind, that is gender-neutral, that is without a particular audience in mind. We think of it as universal. We forget that aesthetic is all relative, and established and perceived good craft is borne of whatever is the most prevalent aesthetic. Thus, we further hegemonic aesthetic unknowingly, in the innocent conceit of being good craft. I have heard it in workshop, even, the argument that “Craft is craft. Good writing is just good writing.” The thing is, it’s not that simple.

In my consultation, I will emphasize not “Good Craft” with a capital G & C, but craft that will be good for achieving authenticity in each particular manuscript. 

When working with nonfiction writers, I focus on getting to the heart of the work’s intention, communicate what I as a reader perceive as the intention, and then provide a range of possibilities on how to achieve that intention without compromising the unique voice, aware that I may also possess failings in my own reading. The potential dissonance between my read and the author’s desire is a great place to negotiate what will be best for the manuscript. 

In my own nonfiction, I lean heavily into voice/point of view, experimentation, and language that evokes character and sensibility. Many folx have called my nonfiction writing lyrical, genre-bending, hybrid, but I am not interested in labels. Each story—each voice—is an experiment. Nonfiction writers I find inspirational include James Baldwin, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Nancy Mairs, Richard Rodriguez, Eula Biss and Claudia Rankine, among others. However, I read across genre and style in order to cultivate writing strategies that move beyond my own identity and practice.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.