Senior Sophie Downing wouldn’t describe herself as a typical English major, as she says she isn’t too familiar with the technical side of English. Despite this, Downing began making submissions to Writers Magazine when she first joined the team her sophomore year.
Downing took at what was happening in her life and turned it into creative pieces that allowed her to process her own life events in a special way and share her unique experience. Now, senior Editor Downing and the editorial board of Writers are encouraging other students to do the same.
Writers magazine is accepting submissions from Oct. 31 through Feb. 14. Accepted submission types include poems, short stories, personal essays, paintings, photographs and more. Students are allowed to submit up to three written pieces and three visual pieces. These submissions allow the magazine to showcase a holistic representation of student culture and experience at the University of Portland.
Though the magazine is sponsored by the English department, submissions are open to students of all majors in order to convey the shared experience of UP.
“Seeing how this shared experience we’ve all gone through of COVID and the civil rights movement that’s going on right now, seeing how that is shown in student work will be really interesting,” Downing said. “That’s just really special, getting that kind of snapshot look.”
Once submissions are in, the editorial board does a blind read (meaning that they don’t see the names of the authors) and pitches why they think certain pieces should be featured. Along with finding pieces that have potential to flow well together, editors look for pieces that contain a sense of beauty and share an experience with the reader.
Acknowledging the recent social justice movements, the editorial board is making a point to include the voices of students who often fall into minority groups at UP.
“UP is a predominantly white institution and a very privileged place and we really do want to honor the voices of people who don’t fit into that,” Downing said. “We want to provide a space for people to really be able to see themselves in the issues.”
In continuing that work of reaching out to every student voice, members of the club plan to do more outreach to clubs across campus by sending out flyers to increase awareness of the submission opportunity.
The editorial board strongly encourages students to make submissions even if they are doubting themselves, emphasizing that they are not there to judge the submissions but to feature as many voices as possible. Submissions can be sent to the Writers website.
Laura Heffernan is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at email@example.com.