‘Dear Damsels’ may be in distress, but they don’t need saving 

‘Dear Damsels’ may be in distress, but they don’t need saving 

By Hannah Laker

Edited by Lizzie Alblas

Photo credit: Unsplash.com

This post is written by a member of The Letters Page team, who would like to recommend to fans of our work another journal which you may enjoy reading.

Whenever I read the word damsel, I’m instantly transported to the year 1999. There I am sat in front of the tv, eating a plate of – now extinct – turkey dinosaurs, watching another episode of Scooby Doo where, yet again, Daphne finds herself dangling from a tall structure, waiting to be rescued by one of the male leads. But, while Daphne is the ultimate damsel in distress, the voices emitting from ‘Dear Damsels’ could not be further from this notion.  

With a focus on bringing together female voices, the publication spotlights powerful stories from any individual who self-identifies as a woman, including non-binary and transgender writers. I happened upon the publication as part of my studies, but man am I happy I did. Armed with a bowl of popcorn and a cup of tea, I lost a good couple of hours scrolling the ‘Dear Damsels’ website one Tuesday afternoon. While I found myself relating to a lot of the stories – Barney Harper’s poem on how to say ‘no’ definitely struck a chord – I also gained a lovely glimpse into a few experiences I didn’t know so well – think 90’s raves and motherhood.  

Whether you’re a poetry lover or a strictly non-fiction reader, there’s something here for everyone. It’s also worth noting that, as a fan of The Letters Page, it brought me great joy to find out that the team ask for online submissions by sharing a letter – hooray for more allies of the traditional letter form! 

After mentioning ‘Dear Damsels’ in class and a friend exclaiming ‘I love them!’ I realise I may be a little late to the party, but having now signed my e-life away to their mailing list, I would encourage anyone else who is behind the times to go and check them out. Yes, the submissions all come from female writers, but these are stories which should be read and shared by people from all walks of life, men included. And who knows, maybe you’ll see my name up there one day.  


The Letters Page team are back in the office, and ready to read your real letters again. We publish stories, essays, poems, memoir, reportage, criticism, recipes, travelogue, and any hybrid forms, so long as they come to us in the form of a letter. We are looking for writers of all nationalities and ages, both established and emerging.

Your letter must be sent in the post, to :

The Letters Page, School of English, University of Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK.

See our submissions page for more information.

To stay up to date on The Letters Page newsletter publication, subscribe here.

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