Students across Graduate Studies have a lot of things to look forward to this spring. The newest edition of the MALS Journal is one of them.
During the last week of classes, Katie Moritz and Jamaal Downey, MALS students and the editors of the Journal, will release their second, and final, journal of the academic year.
“It’s lots of long nights – lot’s of coffee cups on the floor of my car,” Moritz said, “but it’s worth it.”
The Journal has taken on a new life of late. For years, it had been published under the title the MALS Quarterly, and was a newsletter-style printing. Last year’s editor, Erin O’Flaherty, shrunk the publication’s size and demanded new rigor for its submissions. O’Flaherty helped give the Journal (still called the Quarterly at the time) a new sense of prestige.
“We want to be sure Erin gets a ton of credit,” Downey said. “She revolutionized the publication. We started from such a great place, and just tried to realize the final pieces of that vision.”
So Moritz and Downey made some final changes to complete the revitalization of the publication. First, they decided that the Journal should be issued twice a year, instead of once a quarter, to improve competition for space in its pages. And, with the help of MALS Director Wole O., they secured an ISSN number from the Library of Congress, taking the publication to a whole new level.
“We had over one hundred submissions this time around,” Moritz said. “We turned away so many amazing pieces. But we’re left with a great publication.”
That publication will feature eight poems, two short stories, four nonfiction pieces, one oral history piece, and four photographs, drawn from current MALS students and alumni of the program. The work is drawn from all of the tracks the MALS program offers – the general track and the Cultural Studies, Globalization Studies, and Creative Writing tracks (Moritz and Downey are on the general track).
“The program sometimes feels so abstract at times, because students are all over the place, and everyone has different interests,” Moritz said. “But there is a strain of commonality in all these pieces. I realized that everyone here is concerned with making something better. There’s a strong flavor of social justice in our community. It’s idealistic, but it’s wonderful.”
Downey agreed. “From the submissions we read, one thing is clear. MALS is a group of strong, independent thinkers. My role as editor helped me to see these common threads.”
“And,” he added, “my writing and editing skills improved dramatically.”
These are all things that the next editors – Henry Paige (MALS – General Track) and Erin Tiernan (MALS – Cultural Studies) – have to look forward to.
“We are extremely excited for the opportunity to build upon the great work continued by Katie and Jamaal,” Tiernan said. “As next year’s editors, we hope to increase the visibility of both the MALS Program and the Journal.”
For MALS students, the Journal will find its way into their office mailboxes. For anyone else interested in a copy, Moritz and Downey encourage stopping by the MALS office on the first floor of Wentworth to pick one up.