2020 Grants Challenge

Get LA Lit: Honoring Our Cultures Through Publishing

Red Hen Press is dedicated to bringing fresh stories to the world by publishing 26 works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction each year that continuously bring relevant literary jobs and internships to Greater Los Angeles. Our award series and free to low-cost events will spotlight emerging authors either in print or on a stage. We will also expand our work providing free creative writing workshops to underserved Los Angeles youth, offering more classes to a greater number of students than before, and publishing their work as one of our 26 books.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

LAUSD (please select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

What is the need you’re responding to?

After 26 years, has become a vanguard in establishing the West Coast and Southern California as a nexus of literary arts and publishing excellence. We provide a home for authors and poets from the Los Angeles area and throughout America and the world who would otherwise not have found a place for their voices that is local to them. Los Angeles is known for its thriving film industry, and through our events and internship programs, Red Hen also provides hands-on experience in the flourishing publishing industry to communities that would otherwise be unable to travel to major publishing locales. As the biggest independent publisher in Southern California, we also introduce underserved Los Angeles youth to the literary arts through our Writing in the Schools program, providing no-cost poetry workshops with established, lauded local poets to foster youth literacy and engagement with the arts.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

We founded our organization on the idea that literature needs three things to exist: a diverse range of voices telling stories in fresh ways, an engaged reading and writing community, and quality literacy in our schools. Without even one of these, we believe literature would only exist for a select few, so we have equipped ourselves to best provide these items to Greater Los Angeles. Our catalog features an increasing array of writers and stories: 2021 will see us team with 20 emerging authors new to Red Hen. We regularly host events with our authors in our in-house event space—the Hen House Literary Center—and work with local establishments like Vroman’s, Skylight Books, Book Soup, and the Annenberg. During the COVID-19 crisis, we partnered with the Broad Stage for “The Broad Stage at Home, Red Hen Poetry Hour,” which reconnected writers and readers in isolation through weekly poetry. Our authors raise new creative generations by bringing creative writing workshops to local schools.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 35,000

Indirect Impact: -

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Red Hen’s work represents an effort, on our part, to establish Los Angeles as a literary hub and to see the publishing industry, as a whole, recognize West Coast authors. Our proposed programming will see the Southern California literary scene become a more prominent part of our cultural landscape and pave the way for more authors and independent presses.

We anticipate our Writing in the Schools program will serve 300 students in the 2020–2021 school year. Based on previous years with our partner schools, we expect to serve the following demographics: 85% Latinx/Hispanic, 11% African-American, 2% Asian-American, <1 % White, <1 % Native American, and <1% Middle Eastern.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Red Hen Press will measure the success of our project by tracking physical and online sales, the amount of media coverage our books and authors receive, and attendance at our reading events. Our goal is to raise the profile of the press and our authors to draw attention to the literary culture of Los Angeles. A successful project will see us meet our sales goals, raise our social media following by 10%, and host 30+ events at capacity.

To evaluate the Writing in the Schools program and measure its success, Red Hen Press utilizes participant evaluation forms and staff notes. These evaluations coincide with many of the same standards covered in the Common Core State Standards for California Public Schools and are completed by participating students, teachers, and authors. Student evaluations are administered both at the beginning and at the end of the program to directly track improvement in controlled criteria. By reviewing these sources of information, we are able to assess students’ improvement in word analysis, vocabulary development, general rhetorical skills, and overall academic confidence, and to develop curricula that meet the specific needs of current student demographics.

Which of the CREATE metrics will your submission impact?​

Arts establishments, instillations, and exhibitions

Employment in the creative industries

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings