SOREN LIT: Reclaiming the Southern Renaissance

by Melodie J. Rodgers

As a ferocious act of self-care, I intentionally dove into outlining what I needed in a writing community during this pandemic. I discovered I needed a sanctuary—a sanctuary consisting of those who were questioning their place, empowered by lessons, and who were also deconstructing traditions of the South. I began reflecting on the communities of creatives that I was drawn to… and who helped shape me as a writer.

In my early 20’s, I lived in the Little 5 Points district of Atlanta. This area was the Greenwich Village of the South. Back in those days, I rented a room with other creatives in a slightly run-down Victorian with the most welcoming paint-peeled porch in the world. The tenants, my beloved friends, were all writers. All of us were thrown together… identifying as either women, femmes, and/or non-binary. We had open mics around our campfire in the backyard while listening to the train go by. Smells of menthol cigarettes, Jameson, patchouli incense, and citronella would swell inside our noses as we eagerly awaited the next brave soul to present their creative work to us under the glow of the flames.

These memories made me realize just how privileged I was to be amongst such beautifully bold beings, and that I really wanted to create a platform for women, femmes, and/or non-binary writers. And so, I launched a Southern Renaissance literary journal called SOREN LIT.

SOREN LIT serves as a reclaiming of the Southern Renaissance literary movement. However, the steadfast mission of SOREN LIT is to bring together the vital voices of those primarily left out of the first movement. By centering on women, femmes, and/or non-binary writers with Southern connections, it is our wish to empower these writers (from all backgrounds) and merge them together as one would the key ingredients of a gumbo… into a new Southern Renaissance of literature with fresh eyes and fierce stories to tell.

Our primary goal is publishing the work of women, femmes, and/or non-binary writers with Southern connections. We crave poetry, fiction, and nonfiction…

unapologetic, visceral, and authentic.

As an exquisite extension of our literary journal, we have also launched the SOREN LIT podcast in order to learn more about our published writers and their unique writing journeys.

SOREN LIT podcast is also available on the Apple, Spotify, and Google podcast platforms.

Melodie J. Rodgers is a Benjamin L. Hooks Institute Academic Research Fellow and the Founding Editor of SOREN LIT. Melodie received her MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte’s Latin American program and she is currently a Ph.D. student at Georgia State University in the Department of English and Literary Studies. 

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