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Calling All Blind Writers

Blind writers: LightHouse wants to publish you!

The LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco is putting out an official call for submissions. We are in search of the best and brightest writers who are blind or have low vision, to contribute stories for publication on a paid, freelance basis.

We want to hear first-person stories not merely about blindness, but about what it takes to survive and strive as a human. We want to establish a new venue for exploring direct experiences surrounding the often misunderstood and under-appreciated aspects of blindness. Ultimately, we aim to be the most contemporary, honest and passionate source for people to learn about blindness from those who walk our walk.

We will consider submissions from both novice and professional authors. Whether you have a page ripped from your personal journal or a rejection from a literary journal, we’re open to all styles and subject matter. The most important thing is that it’s honest, unafraid, and rooted in an experience of visual impairment.

What We’re Looking For

We seek to publish dynamic personal essays, memoirist reflections, travel writing, incisive commentary, specific advice, funny or useful lists, arts writing, general humor, insightful analysis, new ideas and anything else with verve and honesty.

Story ideas can be just that — an idea. You don’t need to send us a finished product or a fully-formed narrative; we’re happy to work with you to get you there, in fact we’d prefer the process to be a collaboration from start to finish. That said, submissions can come in the form of a completed document, a brief pitch, or just a friendly introduction and statement of interest. Once we feel confident that you have something to say, we’ll work closely with you to shape it into a great piece of writing.

What We’re Not Looking For

We don’t have much interest in political rants, takedown pieces, sob stories, brand promotion, medical diaries, or extraneous embitterment. The purpose of this new direction for the LightHouse Blog is to highlight talent and elevate voices. We seek to build a strong and lasting support structure, and in order to do that we must celebrate fresh viewpoints and positive representations as much as possible.

We also understand that sometimes writing about blindness — or anything personal, for that matter — can be very demanding. It can dredge up deep and painful memories or confusing emotions. We encourage writers not to run away from those emotions or conflicts. Rather, explore them with a clear head and conscience; write it down, and then show us what you’ve written.

Priorites and Policies

We seek first and foremost to publish writers who are blind or visually impaired, with an emphasis stories based in California and the west coast. That said, we are open to any and all writers who would like us to consider a submission.

Submissions will be edited by Will Butler, who has written about his own eyesight in essays such as “The Mark of Cane” (New York Times), “Blind at South by Southwest” (VICE), and “In Blind Judgment” (The Toast).

We pay $100 for essays published on our blog, with payment issued upon publication. To negotiate for particularly long or ambitious pieces, you’ll need to talk with our editors on a story-by-story basis.

We can’t wait to read your work.

Email all submissions to

wbutler@lighthouse-sf.org

with “Pitch” in the subject line

questions: (415) 694-7309

Other Examples of Short Works by Blind Writers

“At the Intersection of Death and Disability” | Serena Olsen, Blind Broad Abroad, 2015

“A Friday Night of Bartending, Without the Lights” | Nicole C. Kear, NY Times, 2014

“How to be Helpful: 3 Snapshots from a Day” | Erin Lauridsen, Life in Braille, 2013

“Beauty and the Blind” | Georgina Kleege, UNESCO Courrier, 2001

“Sensory Overload at the Biggest Rattlesnake Roundup in the World” | Ryan Knighton, VICE, 2013

“The Barrier of the Visible Difference” | Kenneth Jernigan, Gray Pancakes and Gold Horses, 1998