Torch Literary Arts is featured in Austin Woman Magazine's "Give Back" series.
L-R: TORCH Amanda Johnston, Ebony Stewart, and ena granguly. Photo by Cindy Elizabeth
Give Back: Torch Literary Arts — Visibility & Representation Matter
by Jess Bugg
What was your thought process when starting Torch Literary Arts?
I started Torch Literary Arts in 2006 to reserve a virtual space for Black women writers. As a Black woman writer, I’ve experienced the challenges of race, class, and gender discrimination. I wanted to provide an outlet where other women like me could share their work unapologetically and celebrate each other. Our mission has always been to publish and promote Black women writers on our website. Over the years, we’ve grown to include programs like our Wildfire Reading Series which features authors at local independent bookstores and workshops for writers at all stages of their careers.
Torch Literary Arts recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. Speak about the relaunch and the importance of this milestone.
The relaunch has been amazing. The pandemic has been hard for everyone. Over the last two years, I had time to think and assess how Torch was serving our community. What was needed. Along with my board of directors, we decided to relaunch and build on our years of experience with a stronger foundation and enhanced programs. We applied for and received our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, created a new publishing model to increase online [author]features to over 64 per year, continued our Wildfire Reading Series in-person and online, provided writing workshops and planned for a week-long retreat in Austin. We also pay all of our featured authors for publishing their work. Everyone should be paid for their work. But as artists, it is also an important sign of validation that will have a lasting impact on their writing careers.
This relaunch is the groundwork to grow Torch Literary Arts into a destination online and in Austin for Black women writers and readers around the world.
Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. TORCH has featured work by Colleen J. McElroy, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats.