Over the last 15 months The GOAT PoL has worked with hundreds of writers around the world—most of them displaced or stateless, and some incarcerated—to develop and publish new writing online. Publication is one positive outcome; but the project’s overall goal is to create a polity—a collective of individuals who enjoy equal rights and agency—for writers and readers. This “polity of literature” offers an alternative to the marketplace (the existing economy of publishing) which stratifies and divides us into rich and poor, talented or “not,” lucky and shit-out-of-luck. At The GOAT PoL, we read and write and publish as a collective; everyone who works is paid. In 2023 that meant more than 300 hundred writers paid to work and publish over 700 stories at The GOAT PoL.
In 2024 our central focus on writing, revision, and publishing will continue, but we’ll also expand our support to writers working on books, and to writers and readers who want to take part in live group workshops. All our writers will also be given their own publicly visible Contributor’s Page on the site, where readers can meet them and read the work that writers want to share. We’ll all be getting to know each other better; and those who enjoy reading the work will be able to join us in the workshops and find The GOAT PoL Books for sale globally, through the Publication Studio network and PS Guelph.
In March we launch our collaboration with PS Guelph by issuing our first title, Under the Sky Beneath the Moon, a collection of linked stories by the Afghan writer, Mozhgan Mahjoob. Three more books are underway and will be published in 2024, authored by three The GOAT PoL writers who won support in the form of the 2023 Modest Goat Prize. Read more about these writers, their books, and the prize here.
We’re also pleased to announce the winners of The Modest Goat Prize 2024: two writers who will each receive $1500 CAD and a year or more of editorial support leading to global publication of their books in softcover and eBook editions, via our collaboration with PS Guelph. The winners of The Modest Goat Prize 2024 are: L. Patri, which is the pseudonym of a writer currently facing the death sentence in a US state prison (that we refrain from naming to protect the writer’s safety); and Nahid Rauf, a young woman born in Herat, Afghanistan, currently seeking asylum in Turkey. Full bios and more about their writing is included below. More prizes may be awarded during the year, and we will announce them here.
Many of these developments require large changes in The GOAT PoL’s website and technical apparatus, work that’s now underway and should be done sometime in early February. Until then (and the proper launch of our 2024 program), The GOAT PoL is up and running in its old form, publishing new writing every day and inviting readers to experience literature as a living linkage inside of a polity, rather than consuming it as a commodity in the marketplace. Please join us at The GOAT PoL.
Writers publishing books with The GOAT PoL Books in 2024
Mozhgan Mahjoob is the author of Under the Sky Beneath the Moon. She grew up in Herat and remains in Afghanistan with her mother and family. Her work on The GOAT PoL can be found here.
Winners of the 2024 Modest Goat Prize
(publishing books with The GOAT PoL Books in 2025)
L. Patri is currently facing a death sentence in an American state prison. He writes in multiple and hybrid genres, including thought pieces, journalism, short fiction, letters, and memoir. His creative nonfiction weaves together his experience living on death row for more than three decades with childhood memories and the strategies he has developed in response to bureaucratic, legal, and physical oppression in the prison system. In 2023, The GOAT PoL began publishing his series of pieces called “Notes from Da Row,” which bring together horror and humour to insist on humanity. Read them here.
Nahid Rauf is an Afghan soul whose journey through medicine was disrupted by the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education. She continues to travel the globe in search of freedom and education. Rooted in a passion for shared humanity, Nahid’s ambitions extend beyond words—she hopes to help everyone sense that their existence is valued (in her own words—she wants everyone to touch their existence). Intrigued by the art of being human, Nahid is a keen observer of the world, believing that life, akin to poetry, retains its beauty even in its sadness and in its most melancholic verses. Read her work on The GOAT PoL here.