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About SPOTLIGHT

What is SPOTLIGHT?

SPOTLIGHT is a statewide annual online publication that seeks to shine a light on adult education learners, their experiences, and their learning through the creative process. SPOTLIGHT strives to include a variety of original writing that elevates the voices of Virginia’s diverse population of adult learners.

How do I read SPOTLIGHT?

Keep scrolling through the SPOTLIGHT section of the VALRC website to browse SPOTLIGHT articles and issues.

  • For a complete list of our full, magazine-style annual issues, go to the Search and Filter tools in the webpage’s left sidebar. Under Types (the second drop-down menu), choose Issue. Click on the year of the issue you want to read to find the full issue, formatted for flipbook-style online reading, as well as a downloadable PDF.
  • To search SPOTLIGHT articles by topic, go to the Search and Filter tools in the webpage’s left sidebar and click on the arrow next to the All Topics (first) drop-down menu. Choose a topic to see relevant articles. This topical index is designed to help find learner work that can be incorporated into instruction; it includes subjects such as “work,” “education and learning,” and “cultural traditions” as well as genres such as “poetry” and “persuasive writing.”
  • Use the search bar (third box under Search and Filter tools in the webpage’s left sidebar) to search all SPOTLIGHT articles by keyword, title, or author.

How do I submit work to SPOTLIGHT?

Work can be submitted to SPOTLIGHT using our simple online form. We welcome learners’ original writing and art. SPOTLIGHT publishes work by adults who are currently participating in a Virginia adult education or literacy program.

Adult educators can complete the submission form for their learners, but should only submit work if they have the original artist’s or writer’s permission to do so. Submissions for the third annual issue of SPOTLIGHT are due March 1, 2024.

What type of work can learners submit to SPOTLIGHT?

The editorial team welcomes a variety of genres, including both fiction and nonfiction, poetry and prose. Writing should be about 200-500 words (poetry and graphic stories may be shorter). Writing can be uploaded as a .doc or .docx file, or you can copy and paste your writing into the submissions form.

Picture stories, illustrations, and other artistic works are also welcome. Artwork should be uploaded as a .jpg, .jpeg, .gif, or .png.

You can submit:

  • Poetry 
  • Fiction (a story from your imagination)
  • Non-fiction (informative or persuasive writing, or a story from your life)
  • Picture story (share your story through pictures, with or without captions)
  • Artwork (examples: drawing, painting, illustration, digital/graphic art, photograph)

SPOTLIGHT: Frequently Asked Questions

SPOTLIGHT is an exciting annual, statewide online publication that seeks to shine a light on adult education learners, their experiences, and their learning through the creative process. 

What type of work can I submit to SPOTLIGHT?

  • Poetry 
    • Examples: bio-poem, haiku, acrostic, concrete poem, free verse that does or does not rhyme
  • Fiction (a story from your imagination)
  • Non-fiction (informative or persuasive writing)
    • Tell a story from your own life, or write a biography of someone who inspires you.
    • Take on a journalist’s point of view an article about your country, or about the change of seasons, or the food you love.
    • Write a letter that you might send to a good friend or to your favorite actor/singer/writer.
    • Write a book or movie review.
    • Compare two positions on a controversial issue, or research and write about a topic that interests you.
    • Share your opinion on an important issue in your community.
  • Picture story (share your story through pictures, with or without captions)
  • Artwork 
    • Examples: drawing, painting, illustration, digital/graphic art, photograph

What does writing/art have to be about?

You can choose any topic for your writing/art. It can be about your life experiences, your culture, what inspires you, your goals, or anything else you want to share.

Can I write and submit a traditional folktale from my country?

Your writing needs to be your own original work, but you could write about what a folktale from your country means to you or how it represents your culture.

How long should my writing be?

Fiction and nonfiction should be about 200 to 500 words long. Poetry and picture stories may be shorter.

I am a literacy student and can’t write…can I tell my story to someone to write it down for me?

Yes, you can tell your story to someone else, and they can write it down. Please include the name of the person who writes your story down in your submission.

Can I submit more than one story?  

Yes, you can submit more than one story; however, depending on the number of submissions received, we may or may not be able to publish more than one of your stories.

Can I submit a story that was previously published in another adult learner publication?

Yes, you can submit a story that was previously published.

Can my submission be anonymous?

Yes, your submission can be anonymous.

Can my teacher help me edit my writing?

Yes, you can receive help editing your writing; however, your writing submission should be your own original work

Can an educator submit a class story/essay (rather than individual work)?

Yes, you can submit a writing that was produced by the class. Be sure you have permission to submit from all of the work’s creators.

When will I know if my work will be included in SPOTLIGHT?

You will receive an email letting you know whether or not your submission will be published. Most emails will be sent out after the submission deadline in March 2024.

What happens to my writing if you do not accept it?

If we are not able to publish your writing, we will inform you, and you can resubmit your writing/art next year if you choose to.

How can I see my writing/art after it is published?

SPOTLIGHT will be published online, and we will send all of the authors a link to the publication once it is complete. 

Who will be able to see my work if it is published?

SPOTLIGHT will be published online. Anyone will be able to visit the link and read SPOTLIGHT. It will be shared with adult education and literacy teachers and learners all around Virginia.

How can I help spread the word about SPOTLIGHT?

Share information about SPOTLIGHT with other adult learners and adult educators. You can share this page, with the call for submissions and SPOTLIGHT FAQs, as well as the web address for submitting work (www.surveymonkey.com/r/spotlight or tinyurl.com/spotlightva).

How soon do I need to send in my writing or art?

Writing and art can be submitted to SPOTLIGHT using our simple online form. Submissions for the third annual issue of SPOTLIGHT, which will be published in spring 2024, are due March 1, 2024.

What if I need help or have more questions?

You can contact hmajor@vcu.edu with questions.