'Quilt' launches inaugural issue

New undergraduate publication features both academic and creative writing

Volume 1 stands to be the first of many for Quilt.
Credit: 
Supplied by Daniel Green and Larissa Zhong

Editor’s Note: One member of The Journal’s Editorial Board contributed to Quilt.

The first issue of Quilt launched on May 7.

Founded by the 2020-21 English department student council, Quilt is the first publication on campus to publish both literary essays and creative writing. Editors-in-Chief Daniel Green and Larissa Zhong, both ArtSci ’22, sat down with The Journal to discuss the challenges of bringing their inaugural issue to life during the pandemic.

Green described the name of the publication as a metaphor. “Quilt is about quilting those two disciplines [of academic and creative writing] together that are more co-related than you might initially think.”

“We made it our mission to bridge the divide between the two genres,” Zhong told The Journal. “We dispersed essays, poetry, and creative writing in a way that made thematic sense to us.”

Green and Zhong first pitched Quilt to the English department in late 2020. They spent much of their winter break that year planning and recruiting staff. However, while the concept of blending writing disciplines in Quilt resonated with many in the English department, starting a new student-run publication during the pandemic proved challenging.

“Doing everything online makes everything more difficult than it should be. It takes more time to communicate with people via email or [Facebook] messenger,” said Green.

Being online-only didn’t make pitching their idea any less daunting either.

“We were going in blind,” Zhong explained. “We didn’t have any previous experience with Quilt.”

However, Green and Zhong could not ignore an opportunity in this adverse time.

“As stressful of a year as it was, there was a lot of downtime. We didn’t have to commute to class. There wasn’t a lot going on,” Green said. “Doing [Quilt] this year was a great opportunity to build a community, virtually, in a time where it was pretty necessary.”

“It was especially important to network and communicate with people during this dark, solitary year.”

To help fight this loneliness, Zhong sought to provide some positivity for students by shining a spotlight on their best academic work.

“I’ve always felt student papers are a little underappreciated,” she said. “We work really hard on them, but they often stay between us, our TAs, and the professors who mark them. I’ve always wanted a platform that showcases amazing academic work. [Quilt] was a great way to bring students together and make them feel connected through writing.”

As successful as Quilt has been, Green thinks it will improve as vaccinations slow the spread of COVID-19, allowing their staff to meet in person next year. He hopes to someday host a live reading for the work featured in Quilt and eventually distribute a print issue, too.

“I’m excited about what we can do in the same room in creating a fun, educational environment. I’m excited about the possibilities in person.”

Zhong echoed these sentiments.

“I’m excited to see Quilt grow into a more mature publication. Ideally, one that more people on campus know about and want to be involved with. One with a bigger editorial board and design team to make everything more streamlined than this year, too.”

As Quilt looks ahead to next year, there are ample opportunities for students both looking to join the executive team and hoping to submit their work for publication. Students eager to get involved should tune into the Quilt Instagram and watch for their forthcoming website.

“We’ll be taking submissions by the fall this time around,” said Green. “If we could have all the pieces prepared by January or earlier, that would be amazing.”

Green and Zhong concluded by thanking their staff and the English department for believing in Quilt. None of this happened alone.

“It’s an incredible feeling knowing our work paid off,” Zhong said. “I’m just really grateful to our team, the department, and our student authors.”

Quilt’s inaugural issue is now live on Issuu.

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