By Abby Wargo
Washington College’s student literary and arts magazine, The Collegian, has released its first issue of the year.
Issue 31.0, the staff issue, hit the streets Thursday, Sept. 19. It features work by senior Editor-in-Chief Mary Sprague; juniors Assistant Editor Justin Nash, Poetry Editor Megan Walsh, Prose Editor MacKenzie Brady, and Miles Cochran; and sophomores Business Manager Liz Tilley, Social Media Editor Emma Campbell, Copy Editor Isabelle Anderson.
The journal can be found in various locations around campus, and it is free to read or take a copy.
The most notable change from last year, according to Sprague, is to the physical copy of the journal. The cover, along with the logo, has been completely redesigned, along with new fonts.
“While I love the old designs, it felt like the time for a change. I would like to use this year as a sort of re-introduction for The Collegian, which is why we are also putting a bigger focus into our social media presence and accessibility on-campus,” Sprague said.
Production on the first issue went smoothly, full of “valuable learning experiences,” according to Sprague.
“Because it was our staff issue and we worked on it during [publications] boot camp, we put it together fairly quickly. It also served as a sort of bonding exercise, getting to know each other through our writing and art which was really cool,” Brady said.
Currently, the journal is working on putting together its next issue, 31.1, which was the first issue opened up to all WC students. The Collegian received 27 submissions — 10 poetry, 10 prose, and seven art.
The staff meet to decide which pieces should go in the issue as a group. Every editor reads all the submissions and then discusses which ones should be selected for publication.
“When we have a decent piece of writing but could use a bit of work, it helps to have the other editors there to talk through what the piece is doing and how and whether or not it is possible to get it to a publishable state in one workshop session,” Brady said.
Sprague said she looks for two main things in a submission: “an evident understanding and appreciation for language, and innovation. I want to be surprised, not in a gimmicky way, but in the way you share a secret. I want your writing to remind me I do not know as much as I thought,” she said.
For prose in particular, the challenge is evaluating different types of prose, such as fiction, nonfiction, plays, and flash fiction.
Brady said when she reads through submissions, she often does not know exactly what she is looking for until she finds it. She prioritizes “strong imagery, moments of surprise, and solid characterization.”
“I also really enjoy subtlety — I do not want to be told that a character is doing something, I want to be shown it and sometimes, especially with characterization, I want those moments to be slipped in,” she said.
Once all the pieces have been selected, the editors meet with the writers to work on editing their piece.
“One of the things I enjoy most about working on The Collegian, is finding great writing and great writers, especially when I did not know those people were interested in creative writing,” Brady said. “Regardless of if a submission is accepted or not, I love reading through all of the submissions and seeing where people’s interests lie and what is most important to them. That feels kind of silly to say when the piece I have in Issue 31.0 is about a toilet, but getting to know people through their writing is so fascinating, and I appreciate every submission and everyone who trusts us with their work.”
Students can submit to the journal’s third issue, 31.2, beginning Sept. 30 and close Oct. 11. Any questions can be directed to email@example.com, or to Sprague at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Collegian” can be found on Twitter and Instagram at @WCCollegian.
“I am most looking forward to reading more submissions — I love to see what new work is happening on-campus. We are also heading towards 31.1 layout soon, so I am excited for that, too. The cover is going to be beautiful,” Sprague said.
“The Collegian,” along with the Black Student Union, Cleopatra’s Sisters, and Writer’s Union, are sponsoring a Toni Morrison tribute reading on Oct. 7.