phati’tude Literary Magazine has a “Contributors” section at the end of the magazine, where we list, in alphabetical order, the writers’ bios. phati’tude’s bios are written uniformly and vary in length, according to the writers’ background. Overall, we publish straightforward bios with a few essential components. Here is what we want:
- Your name is listed in the table of contents, in your byline, the Contributors’ section (which appears in the back of the book) and the back cover of the magazine, so make sure your name and the way you use it (e.g., “Maryanne E. Smith” vs. “Mary Smith”) is consistent throughout.
- You may add your location and where you are from.
- How many books you have written and your most recent books in this format: Ex Why Zee Poetry (ABC Press, 2010)
- Include your most impressive writing credentials, i.e., brief list of journals/magazines, anthologies your work has appeared in
- Your credentials, i.e., college/university, degree
- Literary awards, if any.
- Current job (optional).
- URL for website or blog.
- Write it in the third person. Not only is this more professional, it allows you to be objective and balanced about your credentials and experience. And if you must refer to yourself in the bio beyond using a pronoun (e.g., “she” or “he”), please use your last name.
What we do not want:
- We do not publish credentials in your byline and bio, i.e., Dr., Ph.D., Esq., etc.
- Personal information, such as a passing comment about your family or pets.
- Inspirational information, like what motivates you to write, why you write, etc.
- No epics, sagas or long-winded monologues about how sweet/smart/sexy you are or why you think Auntie Grace has made your life a living hell.
- Don’t be cute in your bio. Don’t write things like, “I am currently a starving writer exploring each day by sleeping on the couch.” Just be professional and keep it simple.
Lynne Knight has published four poetry collections, her most recent, Again (Sixteen Rivers Pr., 2009), Dissolving Borders (Quarterly Review of Literature), The Book of Common Betrayals (Bear Star Pr.), and Night in the Shape of a Mirror (David Robert Books); plus three award-winning chapbooks. A cycle of poems on Impressionist winter paintings, Snow Effects (Small Poetry Pr.), has been translated into the French by Nicole Courtet. Knight’s work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2000, and her awards include a Theodore Roethke Award from Poetry Northwest, a Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, an NEA grant, and the 2009 RATTLE Poetry Prize. She lives in Berkeley, CA. www.lynneknight.com.
A little longer for well-known/heavily credentialed writer (at the discretion of the editor and space constraints)
Patricia Smith is a four-time national individual champion of the notorious and wildly popular Poetry Slam, the most successful competitor in slam history. She has read her work at venues around the world; was featured in the nationally-released film “Slamnation,” and appeared on the award-winning HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.” Her fifth book of poetry, Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Pr.) chronicles the human, physical and emotional toll exacted by Hurricane Katrina, which is also the focal point of a new dance/theater collaboration between Smith and Urban Bush Women dancer Paloma McGregor. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, poemmemoirstory, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, the Chautauqua Literary Journal, TriQuarterly, and other journals, and in many groundbreaking anthologies, most recently Gathering Ground, The Spoken Word Revolution, The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry, and Short Fuse: The Global Anthology of New Fusion Poetry. Her poem “The Way Pilots Walk” received a Pushcart Prize, and is featured in Pushcart Prize XXXII: Best of the Small Presses. www.wordwoman.ws
Drew Davidson is a professor, producer and player of interactive media. His background, which spans academic, industry and professional worlds, currently serves as Director of the Entertainment Technology Center – Pittsburgh at Carnegie Mellon University, and the Editor of ETC Press. He completed his Ph.D. in Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and received a BA and MA in Communications Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Davidson is the lead on several MacArthur Digital Media and Learning Initiative grants and has written and edited books, journals, articles and essays on narratives across media, serious games, analyzing gameplay, and cross-media communication. www.waxebb.com
Bios that provide connection to place and ethnicity
Sue Sinclair was raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, and studied at the University of New Brunswick. Her first collection of poetry, Secrets of Weather and Hope (2001), was a finalist for the 2002 Gerald Lampert Award. Mortal Arguments (2003) was a finalist for the Atlantic Poetry Prize. Sinclair currently resides in Toronto, Ontario.
Michael Lee Rattigan was born in Croydon, England of Irish and Anglo-Indian parentage. He took a literature degree at The University of Kent and went on to complete postgraduate studies at Trinity College Dublin where he published his first poems and later at the University of London. Between years of study Rattigan lived and taught in Cancun, Mexico, and Palma de Mallorca, Spain, where he began translating the poems of Fernando Pessoa’s heteronym, Alberto Caeiro. Having published on the internet and in magazines (most recently in Blinking Cursor and OtherPoetry); he has published a chapbook of poems titled Nature Notes and the first complete collection of Alberto Caeiro into English, both published by Rufus Books of Canada.
For writers just starting out, the idea of writing a “short bio” to go along with their submission to a literary journal can be daunting. What exactly are editors looking for? What if you haven’t published anything?
Here is my answer: We’re not interested if you don’t have an MFA or a slew of impressive awards. You can be brief and honest by providing a short paragraph or a few lines to put your submission in context.
Luanna Azzarito is originally from Rio de Janeiro. During her senior year of high school she immigrated to the US. Her work has appeared in Audience Magazine, Black Words On White Paper, Muscle & Blood and Vanilla.