Under the oak trees and high brick walls of the Loyola Picture Book Campus, you’ll find many students working to build their careers by writing their own stories.
Loyola offers students interested in literary publishing the opportunity to hone their writing and editing skills while gaining hands-on experience with the business side of publishing. Students launch their careers working with Loyola’s english department, leading student organizations and drawing inspiration from the Loyola campus and student body.
Abbey Hebert and Ahnia Leary first met after each traveling across the country as high school students to attend a creative writing workshop at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Three years later, when the couple became roommates at Loyola, they knew they wanted to find a space where they could continue to grow as storytellers.
Last fall, Leary, junior in sociology, and Hebert, junior in journalism, founded Meraki, a student association literary review for Loyola students of all majors to present their poems, short stories, visual arts and photography. Leary and Hebert are now the magazine’s co-editors.
“When we found out we were roommates and started talking about it, I knew I wanted Loyola to have something similar to what we experienced in Kenyon because our experience has been so great,” said Leary. “I really like the way (Meraki) portrays all the different talents of Loyola students that you might not have known if it weren’t (there wasn’t) an avenue or a flat. -form so that they produce their work. “
“Meraki” is a modern Greek word that describes putting a piece of yourself into your work. Hebert and Leary say the name works as a mission statement for the magazine.
“We just thought it was a very applicable term because the people sending these submissions put a part of themselves into it,” Hebert said. “They share that with us, which is like very vulnerable. And then it’s also like putting a piece of ourselves in this literary magazine.
Meraki has a staff of 23 students and will finish taking submissions for the magazine’s 2022 edition on December 10, according to Hebert. After releasing the magazine’s first edition at a time when in-person student organization events were on hold, Hebert and Leary said they were eager to connect more with the wider Loyola community and spend more time with them. their staff in person as the second edition of the magazine unfolded together.
“(This semester) is like a start for sure,” Leary said.
Leary, Hebert, and the staff at Meraki are just a few of the many Loyola students who pursue literary publishing opportunities.
Senior Mel Dunnuck self-published the memoir “Mantras, meditations and mathematics” October 30, 2021.
Dunnuck said the memoirs connect his struggles with mania, anxiety and psychosis. The memories also reflect her years as a varsity swimmer, her love of math, and the mindfulness meditation practices that have helped her overcome adversity.
“What I want readers to take away from this is basically that you don’t know everyone’s story,” she said. “This is something that comes up in my chapter on math where I talk about being nice to people is not a multiplication situation. So the reason I’m saying this is if someone is mean to you, you shouldn’t be mean to them because a negative and a negative doesn’t equal a positive in this situation because it is as an addition. So, it just equates to another negative element entering the universe.
Dunnuck said that although she had never considered writing a book until last year, she took pride in “Mantras, Meditations, and Math” and planned to write more books in the future.
“I find writing to be a form of meditation that I love and want to keep doing,” Dunnuck said. “I have no idea what next book I’m going to write, but I think it will come to me.”
MaKayla Tappin, Junior in English, had the opportunity to learn and grow as a writer and editor with the support of the university during an internship for Loyola’s Center for Editing and Publishing. The Publishing and Publishing Center oversees a number of projects where Loyola students can submit their writing and gain professional publishing experience.
Tappin said his favorite part of the internship was the opportunity to work closely with Loyola’s English faculty.
“I really think the professors are like, they’re awesome, really dedicated to their jobs, smart people,” Tappin said.
Tappin worked closely with English teacher Loyola Sarah Allison throughout her internship, assisting Allison by working as a writer and research assistant on one of her projects. Allison said she has used the centre’s student interns for several projects, and these internships allow students to focus on the skills they most want to develop.
“Each of these placements starts a conversation with the student about what they want to improve on,” Allison said. “Any work we do for the center is driven by what they want to be able to do once they graduate. “
Alumni of the program have gone on to successful careers as writers, editors and educators and one alumnus has even founded his own publishing house, according to center director Christopher Schaberg. Schaberg said the center provides Loyola’s undergraduate students with unique opportunities to gain hands-on editing and publishing experience in the perfect setting.
“You might get this in a master’s degree program in Creative Writing or Editing and Publishing, but for an undergraduate, gaining this experience is very rare,” Schaberg said. “I would also say that being located in New Orleans, we’re just more able to have that kind of imaginative and creative vibe.”
Tappin, who wants to become a screenwriter, said the internship has helped her get on the right track to achieving her goals.
“Since coming to Loyola and being in the English department, I have improved my writing so much, and I don’t think I could have dreamed of a better English department.”