Porter House Review: The Inaugural Audit

In Porter House Review‘s mission statement, we write that “we seek unique perspectives from both established, award-winning authors, as well as emerging and underrepresented voices from around the world.” While representing voices from historically marginalized communities has been a broad goal for the journal, the editors at PHR decided to take the next steps: public accountability for the race and gender makeup of our contributors, and concrete, measurable goals to improve the diversity of voices in the journal.

To that end, we decided to conduct our first Porter House Review diversity audit, inspired by the VIDA Count and with the additional of categories of race and gender identification (cisgender, transgender, etc.). Here is an overview of what we found:

Overall

Fiction

Poetry

Nonfiction

Our process for gathering this information was straightforward: all PHR contributors through the end of 2020 were sent a short, anonymous survey. We deeply appreciate all of the responses we received from our contributors, who in doing so allowed their identities to be represented through data—an intrinsically alienating experience.

The survey results make one thing clear: our contributors are overwhelmingly white and cisgender. There are bright spots—across all genres, our representation of cis women contributors is very strong. But we are sorely lacking in contributions from writers of color and from non-cisgender contributors.

We would therefore like to set the following goals of publishing:

  • 40% contributors of color, at least half of whom are women.
  • 20% contributors who are trans/nonbinary, at least half of whom are people of color.

To ensure that we make the submission process as accessible as possible, we will also be implementing free submission periods during all general submission calls and contests.

We hope that any writers whose identities have previously been underrepresented by Porter House Review see these goals as an invitation to share their work with us. This audit is neither a pat on the back (as the data shows, it definitely is not) nor a PR exercise, but an effort to attract the absolute best work by the best writers.