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Humber Literary Review – Helping Students Gain Firsthand Experience in Publishing

The editors of the Humber Literary Review (HLR) faced a dilemma—how could a magazine, know for its reputation of publishing some of the best writing in Canada­—also make room for as many emerging and talented Humber student voices as possible?

 

The answer to HLR’s conundrum came this summer, with the launch of HLR Spotlight, a sister publication of the HLR. HLR Spotlight would feature some of college’s best student writing, and it would be created and produced entirely by Humber students.

 

Lead by Meaghan Strimas, program coordinator and professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences and Innovative Learning’s Professional Writing & Communications (PWC) program, and Nathan Whitlock, program coordinator and professor in the Faculty of Media & Creative Arts’ Creative Book Publishing Program (CBPP), the project was funded by the Office of Applied Research and Innovation and supported by both faculties.

 

With a short timeline, students had to work extra hard to get the pieces ready. Writers received the experience of working closely with an editor and were guided through the revision process in preparation for publication. The students from Creative Book Publishing, who acted as editors, got an enormous amount of experience with regard to how to handle authors, how to set and meet editorial deadlines, and how to shape work so that it best fulfills a creator’s vision—all things they learn in the program on a more theoretical level. The students’ hard work and effort was worth it.

 

“The students produced a gorgeous first edition of HLR Spotlight. It really is a very sophisticated and refined digital space that showcases the writing and artwork of some of Humber’s superstar students and grads,” says Strimas.

“Additionally, the student editors, marketers and designers learned how to operate as a cross-functional team. And, for most of the writers, this was their first publication credit, and there is nothing more emboldening than seeing one’s name ‘in print’ for the first time. We believe these experiences allowed students to shift away from the mindset of ‘I am a student’ and toward that important next stage of being a career-ready professional.”

 

The supplement was published and promoted beautifully—but the real pleasure came from seeing students share their published accomplishments. Because of the project’s success, it will continue during the winter 2021 semester with a new group of students, this time from the PWC program, who will work to produce a second issue of HLR Spotlight.

 

“Projects like HLR Spotlight don’t just mimic work experience, it is real work experience,” says Strimas. “Empowering students and encouraging them to be creative leaders and thinkers, this is why we are here at Humber College.”