13 // Lift Up Women’s Stories with Sierra Skye Gemma, Contest Coordinator at Room

“To me, a very intimate piece of memoir that could in no way be fact checked was just as valid as a piece of investigative journalism.”

Sierra Skye Gemma

Sierra Skye Gemma is Room’s contest coordinator. What she says above about memoir came when she looked up the judge’s interview for a contest she was considering submitting to and found his remarks showed her a divide between what is seen as literary—men’s stories, versus women’s stories. This experience made her want to lift up women’s stories.

And Sierra does that. In this episode, we jump back into the CanLit dumpster fire, as Sierra shares how her life changed as a complainant in the UBC case that showed the dark parts of mentoring in Canada’s literary institutions, how things have changed for her personally, and how they have changed for all of us in the past two years of #MeToo.

Sierra also shares how she approaches writing her own difficult stories and gives really pointed advice for writers of creative nonfiction (CNF) and for writers who are trying to decide if a piece is suitable to enter contests.

More About Sierra Skye Gemma
Sierra Skye Gemma On Publishing in Lit Mags (Rowan McCandless, Room)
The Wrong Way” (PDF of Sierra’s  National Magazine Award-winning story from The New Quarterly)
Finding a Voice in Creative Non-fiction, with Sierra Skye Gemma (Plenitude)

Background on Sexual-Harassment in CanLit
CanLit Has a Sexual-Harassment Problem (Zoe Whittall, The Walrus)
Under a cloud: How UBC’s Steven Galloway affair has haunted a campus and changed lives (Globe & Mail)
CanLit is a Raging Dumpster Fire (Alicia Elliott, Open Book)

Credits
Host: Rachel Thompson
Sound Editor: Mica Lemiski
Produced by Room magazine and Rachel Thompson

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