Brooklyn literary magazine Armchair/Shotgun didn’t intend to make a big statement about female underrepresentation in literary culture in their new issue, but by focussing on talent and talent alone, they’ve done just that. The magazine selects stories and poems from a slush pile, stripping authors’ names and other biographical identifiers before determining whether to publish a piece or not. Simply by picking the fifteen best submissions for their upcoming issue, they ended up choosing only female writers. What’s surprising is that the majority of submissions in total came from men. “When we looked back at all the submissions, we saw a lot more traditionally-male names there than female,” writes editor Laura McMillan. “The women’s work was just better this time.” It looks like it’s only getting harder for mainstream publications to hide behind meritocratic excuses for their huge byline disparities.

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