Prose & Lore: The RedUP Literary Journal

Issue 5 will be released with a launch party at Bluestockings in NYC on Thursday, February 12.

Subscribe at the bottom of this page!

Buy your very own copy of Prose & Lore Collected Issues 1-5 here. This 422 page book contains all the stories from the first four issues as well as 18 new stories.

Prose & Lore is the Red Umbrella Project’s literary journal, which collects memoir stories about sex work in two issues per year (Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer). The stories are original to Prose & Lore, and about 75% of the authors in each issue are previously unpublished. Many of the contributors participate in our memoir workshops and drop-in writing sessions.

“[The stories] that comprise this journal are straightforward without a lot of literary tropes or tricks yet their harsh and sticky realities pull readers in. A testament to Red Umbrella’s workshops, from which most of these works hail, they’re entertaining and edifying, even enlightening, at times. They are not by any means self-pitying stories but come from perspectives that are often humorous, seductive, pissed, confused, and psycho-sexually indignant.” – The Review Review

“It is not uncommon for the media to skew the perspective of those who have worked in the sex industry, painting a picture of bad and dangerous people, with real life stories often going unheard. But since 2009, the Red Umbrella Project, a nonprofit group based in Downtown Brooklyn, has been providing a venue and an outlet for unheard voices of American sex workers.” – Downtown Brooklyn

“Gutsy wisdom permeates these pages. Prose & Lore brings together a keen array of lived experiences and authentic voices.” – Amber Dawn, author of How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir

“In this collection of creative nonfiction, people who’ve tangled with the sex industry write about the complications that arise in the mix of sex and money. From the accounts of love and loss, occupational hazards and tricks of the trade to personal stories of hope, resistance and survival, Prose & Lore is a fiery collection of narratives by people who have walked the walk, and are now telling their tales.”
– Daily Loaf, CL Tampa Bay “Top 10 Most Provocative Books”

“The Red Umbrella Project… works to give a voice to those who are in the sex business — prostitutes, strippers, dominatrix and fetish professionals, porn performers, and anyone who trades sexuality for money or survival…”
– Susan Donaldson James, ABCNews

“…the best reason to pick up Prose & Lore is for the writing, and the stories. Like them or hate them, they are voices we need to hear…”
– Cory Silverberg, – Sexuality

“…it is incredibly refreshing to see that the cover… of Prose & Lore is an amalgam of faces… a small detail that reflects the work that this journal does to humanize those in the sex industries.”
– Jessie Nicole, Anonymous Heels

We are also interested in getting the journal into classrooms and drop-in centers. Please email editor and RedUP founder Audacia Ray at audaciaray [at] if you are interested in purchasing multiple copies.

Becoming a Contributor

We gather writing for Prose & Lore in two ways: stories are developed in our memoir writing workshops in NYC and we accept pitches from people who live outside of NYC and want to contribute. For distance writers, we offer mentor editing from folks who have been through the workshop in New York. We prioritize people who have never been published before!

Our next pitch period, for Issue 6,  will open in mid-January.

To keep in mind for pitches: We want to hear your ideas for stories – no need to have a completed piece ready to go, just write briefly about what you want to write. We value interesting stories waaaay more than good grammar and spelling (that’s what editing is for), so tell us about a story you want to get out into the world and we’ll help you develop it. Accepted pitches will get paired with a mentor editor who will support you through the process of writing and revising your piece this spring.

Successful pitches are stories that are true and happened to you. We want stories, not essays about a theme. If there is a particular idea you want to write about, think about an example of this in your life and pitch a story about that.

Writers Outside of NYC

We pair writers whose pitches are accepted to our literary journal Prose & Lore with mentor editors who will support you through the process of writing and revising your story for publication. We are especially interested in working with folks who have never been published before.

We only publish previously unpublished work (blog posts are previously published). You maintain copyright, and we get first publication rights as well as the right to republish. You are welcome to sell the work to other publications once it had been published in Prose & Lore. We are unable to pay writers at this time, but writers get one free copy of the journal and can buy additional copies at 50% of the cover price (and you’re welcome to give them away, resell, etc).

Eight-Week Memoir Workshop

Participants  have the opportunity to develop their writing, be published in an issue of our literary journal Prose & Lore, read at an event celebrating the journal, and be included in our podcast.

Become a Mentor Editor

Become a mentor editor and support a fellow sex worker in developing a memoir story and getting published!

Eligibility: If you have been published in Prose & Lore, have participated in the in person RedUP memoir workshops, or you are a sex worker with memoir writing experience, help us support sex workers who can’t participate in the in-person workshops in NYC to tell their stories!


  • this is a volunteer commitment
  • from September to November, you will work closely with one or two writers as they develop a piece for publication. You must be able to be in consistent digital communication with them, including gently nudging and encouraging them if they doubt their abilities or miss deadlines
  • be in consistent communication with RedUP team about your progress and challenges
  • oversee/respond to 3-5 weekly writing exercises and then support writer in revising a piece for publication

Availability & Skills

  • if you’re in NYC you must be available for an in person, 2 hour training
  • if you’re outside of NYC you must be available for two, one-hour conference calls
  • you must be available via email, phone, and other agreed on forms of communication with your assigned writers
  • you must be able to be encouraging and supportive of people who are new writers, not be someone who is overly stringent about grammar
  • you must have a good command of memoir/non fiction writing that is driven by scenes, including description and action

Credit: you will be credited as Mentor Editor in the upcoming issue of Prose & Lore

Subscribe to Prose & Lore

Prose & Lore is the Red Umbrella Project’s literary journal, which collects memoir stories about sex work in two issues per year. The stories are original to Prose & Lore, and many of the authors are previously unpublished. Your subscription supports the Red Umbrella Project’s creative programs directly: all of the writers published in our journal take our memoir writing workshops in New York or are mentored by our member leaders from a distance. The programs are free to the participants.

Your support helps to make our biannual journal, writing workshops, and other work possible. Plus you’ll be a part of our community and receive ebooks, print versions of the journal, a tote bag, and recognition in the journal depending on your level of contribution. Donations are tax deductible.

If you live outside of the US, please subscribe at the $50 (or higher) level to cover postage.

$30 Subscriber includes two printed issues of our literary journal (Spring/Summer & Fall/Winter), ebook versions of both issues, plus a Red Umbrella Project bookmark. This subscription is for one full year and can be renewed thereafter.

$50 RedUP Friend includes a one-year subscription and one of our awesome ‘I [red umbrella] NY’ canvas tote bags

$70 RedUP Supporter includes all of the above, plus a name of your choosing will be printed in each of the issues in your subscription as thanks for your support for RedUP.

$150 RedUP Advocate includes all of the above, plus you’ll make it possible for us to gift 10 copies of the journal to low income people in the sex trades.

$250 RedUP Patron makes it possible for one sex worker to participate in our eight-week memoir writing workshop at no cost to them.

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