Dr Monica Soeting, VU, Amsterdam, Netherlands is a very clever lady. Currently, Monica is a Guest Researcher at the Vrije Universiteit, and also a lecturer, teacher, and a postgraduate supervisor. Monica is chief-in-editor and journal manager, and a co-founder, of the European Journal of Life Writing, and co-founder and manager at Nederlands Dagboekarchief / Dutch Diary Archives Amsterdam Area, Netherlands | Writing and Editing.
The European Journal of Life Writing (EJLW) is a highly presitigious, fully peer-reviewed, online journal. A link is as follows: http://ejlw.eu/ This e-journal is one that consists of scholarly articles and creative work concerning the various aspects Life Writing. Monica, and the other editors for the journal, are truly lovely people, very warm, very human, very friendly, very approachable, and easy to get along with, and they welcome articles, essays, reports, and creative works that are concerned with life writing. Anyone can send their work for consideration for publishing in the journal–it is not necessary for work to be solicited. The “author’s guidelines” are clearly stated, and easy to follow. Each piece submitted must be under 70000 words maximum (excluding the title, abstract, the key-words, notes, and works cited list). As well, you should make certain that, in your work, you mention Europe, or matters that pertain to, or that strongly link to, Europe in some way. The turn-around is very quick. In my experience, the editors’ reports and answers on your work, and about whether your submission has been successful or not–has been accepted–and the editors’ comments and suggestions/ requests for editing of the article (if any) are very professional, and are forwarded to you within 6-7 weeks.
As well as the manager for the EJLW, Monica is a member of the steering committee for IABA (International Auto- Biography Association) International; a co-founder of the European section of the International Auto/Biography Association; a member of the steering committee and a conference convenor for the IABA European Chapter; co-founder and manager at Nederlands Dagboekarchief / Dutch Diary Archives; member of International Auto/Biography Association VU University, Amsterdam; member and contributor to Tijdschrift voor Biografie; and also belongs to the Dutch journalists, editors and copywriters, group.
Monica speaks several languages fluently, including Dutch, English, and German. Monica received her PhD from the University Maastricht, and has worked, and still appears, at a number of universities, as a guest lecturer and teacher, and has taught many different courses on the history and theory of auto/biography, and writing, including life- writing. As well, she is conversant with many areas in the writing business, and has worked in her various capacities, as a critic, editor (including at De Parelduiker, Tijdschrift over Schrijvers, Literatuur en hun Geschiedenis (Journal about Writers, Literature and their History) for one instance), chief editor, copy editor, public speaker, diarist, researcher, reviewer, writer, translator, journalist, historian, teacher, proof reader, copywriter, publisher, researcher, research project supervisor and manager (the Docent Research Seminar ‘Biografisch Project’, for one example), and is, or was, also a frequent contributor to Tijdschrift voor Biografie–a company based out of Netherlands.
As a writer in her own right, Monica has produced numerous articles and papers–for newspapers, magazines, journals, e-journals, conference presentations–book chapters, and books. Amongst her many projects, Monica is currently in the process of working on a biography of the Dutch writer Cissy van Marxveldt (pseud. of Setske Beek-De Haan, 1889-1948). For a more comprehensive account of Monica’s professional profile see “Monica Soeting”, on LinkedIn.
Here, at this point, though, I feel that I must stress that Monica has just emailed me to point out that she no longer works as a reviewer for Trouw and de Volkskrant.
I first made contact with Monica in 2012, while I was doing my PhD. At one point, during the year before that, I had popped in on Dr Keri Glastonbury at her invitation, for a quick hello and a cup of tea in her lunch-break. Keri had been co-supervisor for my MPhil, and had looked after the creative segment to my MPhil thesis. Later, in the final year of my PhD, Keri again became co-supervisor with Jo May (Associate Professor Jo May), for the creative component to my PhD dissertation. It was after she had been co-supervisor for my MPhil, and before she was co-supervisor for my PhD, that I had this cup of tea and chat with Keri; and while we were drinking our tea from her Chinese tea-cups, in between a multitude of other interruptions and calls on her time for work-related matters, Keri talked to me about how to write a personal essay, suggesting that such an exercise might be helpful to my creative work for my PhD, and, in that session, she taught me how to write a personal essay in three of four easy steps. Voila! The whole process was delightful, and was pure magic! Over the next week or so, in between getting my PhD work done, I put pen to paper, wrote a personal essay, titled it “The Houses that cried”. Some months later, I did a reading of the essay at the “This Is Not Art” (TINA) Festival which is held in Newcastle, then succumbed to Keri’s insistence–“This essay has to find a home… it must find a home”–and started to look for a publisher who might take it. As so often happens in life and the writing world, opportunity came suddenly, and unexpectedly. Being a member of IABA World, I am registered on their listserv. The IABA listserv posted the proposal for a new, fully peer-reviewed, online journal titled The European Journal of Life Writing, and stating that this journal was open to submissions for considerations for its inaugural edition. I submitted my personal essay “The Houses that cried” immediately, and a few weeks later, shortly after I had returned from presenting a paper in Canberra, at the 2012 international conference, IABA (World)–“Framing Lives”, 8th Biennial Conference of the International Auto/Biography Association, Canberra, Australia, 17-20th July 2012–I received an email that my essay had been accepted. This essay subsequently appeared in the inaugural edition of the fully peer-reviewed online journal, the European Journal of Life Writing, Vol 1, December, 2012. I was over the moon at having work published in this very important European journal.
Since that time I have published other articles in the European Journal of Life Writing, and presented papers at other International IABA conferences, both IABA World conferences and IABA Chapter conferences, one of which was the IABA (International Auto/ Biography Association) International IABA European Chapter Conference– the CeHa/IABA European Chapter conference 2015: IABA World 4th European Conference, “Dialogical Dimensions in Narrating Lives and Life Writing.” 27, 28, 29 May 2015. Centro De Estudos De Historia Do Atlántico, Funchal, Madeira–in which I was fortunate to gain a speaking place to present my paper, “The [Dialogic] Nature of Literary Docu-memoir.” To me, this was a highlight in my calendar, and in my life. Important to me, at this conference also, was that even though we were already friends and chatted via email when time and work-loads permitted, I met Monica in person for the first time. At this conference also, I was surprised and felt very honoured, that one of the presenters, a well-known scholar from Europe, quoted my work in presenting her own paper; and I felt doubly honoured to learn that my work had been recommended to her by Monica Soeting. I also see that I owe Monica, Keri, Jo May, Marguerite, and Hugh a great deal: each in their part, and in some way, these special people helped to make it possible for me to avail myself of opportunities such as, for instance, to publish in the EJLW, to attend the IABA Conferences, and specifically the European Chapter conference in Funchal, and the opportunity to expand and network and meet old friends and make new friends, the opportunity to go places and meet people and do things–all opportunities that I would not otherwise have had, and that have greatly enriched my life.