BinderCon Los Angeles, March 28-29, 2015

Contact: Tova Diker, Publicist
Sarah Russo Public Relations | (646) 314-1294

The Indomitable BinderCon NY Event Coming to Los Angeles March 28-29, 2015

Los Angeles, CA (February 16, 2015) — West coast women rejoice: after BinderCon’s New York City success, we are pleased to announce that a second, L.A.-based conference will be bringing women writers and women in publishing and media together once more. It’s no longer just a political gaffe – “binders full of women” is a call to arms, a mantra of female empowerment. BinderCon LA, presented by the Harnisch Foundation, will convene in Los Angeles on March 28th and 29th featuring National Book Award and NBCC-nominated poet and critic Claudia Rankine and Katie Orenstein of the OpEd Project. Additional speakers include Cherry Cheva (writer/producer The Family Guy), Jane Anderson (screenwriter, Olive Kitteridge teleplay), Joy Press (Los Angeles Times), Alynda Wheat (People Magazine), and Zadi Diaz (YouTube Nation), among many others.

“The first annual BinderCon in New York City was
a breath of fresh air, a space where women were celebrated no
matter how else they might describe themselves.”
—Meghan O’Dea, Huffington Post

The last BinderCon sent shockwaves through the social media world, with #BinderCon trending twice on Twitter over two days. It’s fair to say that women and gender non-conforming writers are ready for a widespread revolution. With help from their sponsors, which include title sponsor The Harnisch Foundation, keynote sponsor TinyLetter, as well as the Knight Foundation and BuzzFeed, BinderCon’s L.A. conference has an impressive roster of speakers and panelists that include major screenwriters, authors, filmmakers, and essayists.

But getting the event on the social media world’s unofficial scoreboard underscores
a point that Home Slice magazine publisher Malaika Adero made during one of BinderCon’s panels.
‘Women are the biggest consumer of books. Women have power in numbers.’
Fast Company

Founded by writers Leigh Stein and Lux Alptraum, Out of the Binders is about drawing attention to and subverting the striking gender imbalance, highlighted annually by the VIDA Count, in book publishing, journalism, and entertainment media. BinderCon is about advancing the careers of women by connecting them. Numerous networking opportunities and workshops will enable attendees to build the relationships and the connections they need to increase their reach and platform and to publish more frequently and on par with male writers in similar genres.

Bust Magazine

BinderCon L.A. panelist and Program Director for VONA Elmaz Abinader says, “BinderCon addresses the issues of women’s writing: artistically, practically, and professionally, giving insight into the tensions and challenges of breaking barriers and creating legacies. Together we share information, solutions and strategies at the conference which will not only create a greater understanding of our crafts, but also of our fields and professions.”

“Taking BinderCon across country has been an incredibly rewarding experience for Leigh and me. We’re so thrilled to know women and gender non-conforming writers will be able to benefit from the BinderCon experience,” says Lux Alptraum. BinderCon will take place March 28-29, 2015 at UCLA and will be videotaped and archived online for the community of writers and publishing and media professionals.


“[BinderCon] set a strong tone for inclusive, action-oriented feminism that empowers women to 
not only create change, but celebrate themselves for who they are.”
Huffington Post

To schedule an interview, contact Tova Diker,, 646-314-1294. 

For more information, go to and follow Out of the Binders (@BinderCon) on Twitter and tweet using #BinderCon.

For full panelist line-up visit: 

The Only Girl in the Writers’ Room
Television remains an entrenched boy's club, with 30% of writing jobs going to women (less in network primetime; even fewer in late night). Many female TV writers have at some point been the "token girl" in a room full of men. What is it like to serve as an ambassador for your entire gender? And how do you keep these distractions from getting in the way of doing your job? We'll discuss how to not only survive but thrive on planet Mars: how to be heard without shouting, when to ignore your differences and when to use them, how to help men write female characters, what to wear when among slobs, and ultimately, how to get more women hired, so the "girl" in the room will no longer be "only."

  • Cherry Cheva (writer/producer, Family Guy) @cherrycheva
  • Robin Schiff (writer/producer, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion)
  • Alexa Junge (writer, Grace and Frankie, Friends, The West Wing)
  • Jessie Gaskell (writer, Conan) @jessiestwats

The Revolution Will Be Televised, Kinda: How the Changing TV World Is a Win for Writers
*Sponsored by the Knight Foundation
YouTube, Amazon, Netflix, traditional networks, and TV startups are all competing for space and attention--both in our living rooms (and phones, and airplanes, and tablets...) and in the marketplace. But this growing field of video content has created unparalleled opportunities for writers, allowing them to find new outlets for their work and challenging them to create content in new ways that reflect an engaged social and digital audience. What are successful strategies for integrating social media and the online audience into video content? How are development executives evaluating content and taking a more well-rounded approach to serving the viewer on various devices? Does the brand name of the platform matter--or is content still king? Join leaders in both scripted and unscripted digital content for a lively discussion!

The Future of Criticism: The Relevance of the Critic in the Internet Age
The digital revolution is changing not only the media we consume and the platforms by which they're delivered. It's also changing the playing field for criticism today. Where does the critic fit in the new marketplace of ideas, where the internet allows everyone to have a say? How are women, especially, responding to the challenge of making their voices heard above the din of online opinions and blogs? Join us for a forward-looking discussion of criticism in the internet age.

CultivatingAnd OwningA Complex Beat
Journalists who cover complex and often controversial topics such as cannabis, death, and public health in disadvantaged communities speak candidly about how they tell stories through different mediums, some familiar--article, book, photo--and others involving newer technologies, such as interactive projects and games.

  • Nushin Rashidian (journalist, author, Co-founder, Cannabis Wire) @NushinRashidian
  • Alyson Martin (co-author of A New Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition) @alysonrmartin
  • Erika Hayasaki (author, The Death Class: A True Story About Life) @ErikaHayasaki
  • Amy DePaul (award-winning health journalist)

Against Expectations: Diversity across Genres, RE Presenting Ourselves
What struggles do underrepresented demographics face during the challenging process of getting published? How do they challenge tired stereotypes and RE present themselves and their demographic to a broader audience? This panel will energetically and entertainingly engage with the audience as we explore issues of identity, misrepresentation, the pitfalls of essentialism and the broader issue of multiple identities explored from these writers' perspectives.

  • Naomi Hirahara (Edgar Award-winning author of Mas Arai Mystery Series) @gasagasagirl
  • Toni Ann Johnson (screenwriter, Ruby Bridges) @toniannjohnson
  • Erika T. Wurth (poet, Indian Trains, and novelist, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend) @etwurth
  • Désirée Zamorano (author, The Amado Women) @LaDeziree
  • Adrienne Crew (moderator)

Moms Who Write & Writers Who Mom: How to Have a Kick-Ass Career & Be a Kick-Ass Mom
Will I still be able to write if I have kids? Can I still do hard-hitting, high-stakes journalism with children in tow? How do I manage my time now that little people are in the picture? How can I support three kids on a writer's income if I'm the sole or main breadwinner? Is there such a thing as balance? What does it mean to have it all? Is that even possible? The participants on this panel have confronted--and resolved--all of these questions, negotiating (and renegotiating) both their personal and professional identities so that work and family are equally important parts of a full, rich life. We'll talk about our personal decisions and stories, with a focus on the day-to-day "How do I do all of this (especially now that I'm persistently sleep-deprived)?" nuts and bolts practicalities of being a mom who writes and a writer who moms.

  • Julie Schwietert Collazo (journalist)
  • Jordan Rosenfeld (novelist, Forged in Grace and Night Oracle) @Jordanrosenfeld
  • Sara Lamm (documentary filmmaker, Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox)
  • Monona Wali (author, My Blue Skin Lover, and documentary filmmaker, Maria’s Story)
  • Francesca Beauman (writer, How to Wear White, and television host, Show Me the Funny)
  • Shelley Meals (writer and producer, Witches of East End) @1TallGrl

Silver Linings: Benefits and Challenges of Writing at Mid-Life and Beyond
In our patriarchal and youth-centric society, it can feel like a double whammy to be neither male nor young. A writer who’s just getting their writing practice or career off the ground after age 40—or 50—or 60—can feel discouraged by Notable Writers Under 35 lists, contests with age limits, graduate programs that cater to 20-somethings, and the ways in which workshops, conferences, slush piles, and the media can dismiss or ignore more mature writers. This panel brings together five women writers who started publishing seriously after age 40. Among us we write fiction, non-fiction, and poetry; have published with presses large and small; and represent different approaches to the writing life. Each panelist will offer a brief overview of her experiences as an older writer. We'll discuss the biggest challenges we’ve faced while celebrating the benefits of writing later in life. We'll also open the discussion to questions, insights, and stories from the audience. 

  • Elizabeth Enslin (author, While the Gods Were Sleeping) @LizEnslin
  • Amy Pence (poet, Armor, Amour)
  • Eileen Rendahl (author, Dead Letter Day) @EileenRendahl
  • Nikki Stern (author, Hope in Small Doses) @realnikkistern
  • Naomi Williams (author, Landfalls)

Death and Loss: Women Writing Out Loud
From the recent box office success of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, to the NYT’s choice to highlight two books on death and grief in 2014’s "Notable Books" list (here and here), death has recently taken its place in the cultural zeitgeist as an increasingly accepted topic of conversation. And, obviously, female writers are leading the way.

Death is one of the few universal human experiences. Yet our culture’s fraught relationship with that and the loss that stems from it has long turned grief into a uniquely isolating experience. Through the honest portraits offered by authors like Cheryl Strayed, Meghan O’Rourke, and Claire Bidwell Smith, we have been given a jumping off point for opening up the conversation about what it means to live in the wake of death.

Moderated by Rebecca Soffer, Co-Founder of Modern Loss, this panel will feature the voices of five women -- each with different grief experiences -- doing their part to bring death out of the shadows with their writing:

  • Rebecca Soffer (Co-Founder, Modern Loss) @RebeccaSoffer
  • Claire Bidwell Smith (grief therapist and author of The Rules of Inheritance) @clairebidwell
  • Niva Dorell Smith (filmmaker and writer) @nivaladiva
  • Nicole Belanger (essayist and TEDx speaker) @nskbelanger
  • Mattea Kramer (blogger at This Life After Loss) @MatteaKramer
  • Emily Rapp Black (author, The Still Point of the Turning World)

 The panel will explore the process of turning one’s own grief story into a body of work that can be consumed -- and even enjoyed -- by others. We will discuss how writing through our grief can be an incredibly powerful exercise in healing and catharsis; especially when grief itself has no closure. We will address how to write about painful and uncomfortable issues that involve friends and family. And finally, we will discuss the unique experience of grieving while female, and how women are helping to change the still-stigmatized conversation about death in our culture.

Last year’s BinderCon opened with these inspirational words from Leigh Stein “We're here to dare you to do the thing you aren’t ready to do.”  Her words initiated a successful and culturally essential opportunity for women writers to analyze, share and celebrate their art, one that will no doubt be repeated in full force this year.

To learn more about the L.A. BinderCon sessions visit