Loading...

The Conium Review 2016 “Count”

Typically, we release our gender ratio statistics around the same time as the official VIDA count. However, we wanted to tally the numbers before the AWP Conference in Washington, DC. There’s also the small matter of today’s inauguration, wherein a serial misogynist was sworn into the nation’s highest office. It seems like a good time to remind the literary community that there are still places where women’s voices can be heard, even if those places seem increasingly under attack.

The Conium Review: Vol. 5 featured a larger percentage of women than any previous print issue of The Conium Review, and our combined print and online count held steady at 76% self-identified female authors. For those who haven’t read The Conium Review: Vol. 5 yet, there is also a distinct feminist undercurrent in many of the pieces, even more noticeably than the average issue of The Conium Review. This wasn’t a reactionary plan of any sort (the issue was finalized before the November election results). In the simplest terms, this is just where our editorial aesthetic leans — toward fiery voices that refuse to be marginalized. Given the events of today, I’m glad to see our press putting out a lit mag with stories in this vein. It seems necessary in this social climate. Keep writing. Keep submitting. Keep reading. Stay strong.

(And as always, we’d like it if you’re writing something a bit weird/surreal/bizarre too).

The Conium Review 2016 “Count”

%

Female (Total Print & Online)

%

Male (Total Print & Online)

%

Female (Print)

%

Female (Online)

%

Male (Print)

%

Male (Online)

Okay, now let’s break it all down. Our 2016 count is 76% female and 24% male. The previous year’s overall count was identical at 76% female to 24% male. The 2014 gender ratio was 64% female and 36% male.

Throughout the entire year, The Conium Review published 29 authors total, with 22 self-identified female authors and 7 self-identified male authors.

In the annual print edition, we published 9 self-identified female authors and 1 self-identified male author, for a ratio of 90% women and 10% men. Within our online arm, The Conium Review Online Compendium, we published 19 authors total, with 13 female authors and 6 male authors, with a ratio of 68% women to 32% men.

Throughout most of 2016, the editorial masthead contained 10 people, 7 of whom self-identify as female, 3 of whom self-identify as male, for a behind-the-scenes ratio of 70% women and 30% men.

Historically, we’ve tallied out “count” only for The Conium Review as a periodical. However, we launched a few books in 2016 through Conium Press. These authors are not reflected in our overall count, but the numbers don’t change much either way. We’re a boutique press with only a couple titles each year. Of the two books published this year, one was written by a self-identified female and one was written by a self-identified male. We also released two limited-run micro-chapbooks, again with a ratio of one woman and one man. If you add these Conium Press numbers to our tally, it becomes 33 authors total — with 24 women and 9 men — for a total ratio of 73% women and 27% men. Whether you crunch the numbers as 76% or 73%, we still think it’s a damn good gender ratio. With the excessive number of magazines that seem to propagate the same male voices over and over and over and over again, we’re glad to offer a counterbalance — even if it’s only partial counterbalance. Especially on today of all days.

The Conium Review 2015 “Count”

The Conium Review 2015 “Count”

%

Female (Total Print & Online)

%

Male (Total Print & Online)

%

Female (Print)

%

Female (Online)

%

Male (Print)

%

Male (Online)

Last year, we took some proactive steps to improve our VIDA count, with an emphasis on growth, reflection, and contentious outreach. We went from a 2013 ratio of 29% female and 71% male to a 2014 ratio of 64% female and 36% male. This year, we’ve continued that momentum. After crunching the numbers, our 2015 count is 76% female and 24% male.

The full breakdown of our 2015 numbers shows 26 self-identified female authors and 8 self-identified male authors throughout the year (34 authors published in total during the calendar year). Of these 26 female authors, 7 were published in print and 19 were published online. Of these 8 male authors, 1 was published in print and 7 were published online.

As with last year’s initiatives, our 2015 numbers were not achieved by quotas — it happened organically as we continued to work on better outreach and marketing to marginalized writers.

When discussing this shift in our journal’s gender parity, it’s important to recognize the impact of behind-the-scenes stats. In 2013, our masthead included 3 self-identified female editors and 5 self-identified male editors for a ratio of 38% female editors and 62% male editors. In 2014, we had 6 female editors and 4 male editors for a ratio of 60% female editors and 40% male editors. In 2015, our staff featured 7 female editors and 4 male editors for a ratio of 64% female and 36% male.

We’re pleased with the strides The Conium Review has made to give a voice to marginalized women writers. This year’s official VIDA count also shows some improved gender ratios by powerhouses like Harper’sGranta, and others (we’re a small press and not included in the official “count,” we tally our own numbers in-house).

For this year’s count, VIDA’s official count has also expanded their metrics. VIDA has tallied stats on race and ethnicity, sexual identity and orientation, and ability. These additions to the VIDA count are based on self-reportage and survey responses. As such, results aren’t as broad a cross-section as the “main count,” but there is enough data to be statistically significant. The results show a handful of publications with diverse bylines, though many major publishers have wide gaps when it comes to equal publication of women of color, LGBTQIA authors, and writers with disabilities. Find the full VIDA count here, and if you’re attending AWP conference, stop by the VIDA exhibit (booth #503).

“DJ’s Addictions,” by Michele Finn Johnson

Booze Bottle Sketch

DJ’s addictions always begin in the same place—excitement. DJ is first excited over girls. This we feel is natural. DJ dates the girls and dumps the girls, calendar girls we call them because he clicks through them on a monthly cycle. More like period girls, DJ says, and at first we laugh because this is funny, talking about menstrual cycles with a 16 year-old boy. DJ starts to smoke—blowing smoke rings excites him. Hanging a cigarette out the Altima’s window while driving excites him. This is not so funny, but what can we do? We are 50% parents. We are, in reality, weekend parents, as—according to the very inexpensive therapist brought in to de-traumatize divorce and affairs—it is more stable for the children to stay in their own home. DJ’s breath smells like smoke and then it smells like smoke mixed with something else, something pungent and of course it is Captain Morgan or Johnnie Walker Red, and we say DJ, you are grounded, but of course he is only 50% grounded, or maybe 22% grounded because he is very slippery and charming and DJ and October switch to odorless Stolichnaya vodka and Altoids, and we begin to breathe again. DJ and November fuck on our couch. DJ and December—who happens to be the 15 year-old virgin across the street—fuck under our pool table. The fucking has to stop, DJ, and we think he is listening but in case he is not we buy Trojans and put them in his 50% nightstand. DJ’s breath begins to smell again, and this time it reeks of pot, and we are not—NOT—having this and this time we have to tell your mother, as if the promise of communication with DJ’s mother will stop anything, but of course it does not, and DJ’s excitement over pot transcends his excitement over December, who in fact leaves him before the month is out, before Christmas, for fuck’s sake, and DJ shoots up into January, calendar-girl-less, but he opens a whole new gateway of excitement whose symptoms we can no longer diagnose, and his 50% slips to something like 12% us and 20% his mother and the rest at some kid’s house named Christopher—who is of course nicknamed Topher—and we cruise by Topher’s house 100% of the time that DJ is missing, looking for trails of him.

About the Author:

Michele Finn Johnson’s creative nonfiction has appeared in Puerto del Sol and previously won an AWP Introduction to Journals Project award. Her fiction won a 2012 Martindale Literary Prize. Michele lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Special Note:

This story was longlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50 (Very) Short Fictions.

Image Credit: © airdone / Dollar Photo Club