GREENEVILLE – Exceptionally crafted and insightful writing and illustrations will grab readers again as they pour through the pages of the 19th volume of The Tusculum Review, Tusculum University’s international literary journal.
The newest edition of The Tusculum Review will go public in early December and feature the talent of 24 writers in the drama, fiction, nonfiction and poetry genres. This volume continues The Tusculum Review’s tradition of featuring professionals who have been in the writing field for considerable periods as well as the work of up-and-coming authors. Tusculum students once again serve in a variety of roles, including copy editors and layout designers.
“Every year, we create a journal that displays writing acumen across the globe and combines that with visual acuity from topnotch illustrators and attentiveness from experienced editors and enterprising students who shape the publication’s look and feel to attain our high standards for The Tusculum Review,” said Kelsey Trom, the editor and an associate professor of English at the university. “That track record of success continues this year with another dazzling display of writing and illustrations that reflect the quality we promote in both fields.”
A striking element of this year’s issue of The Tusculum Review is that editors received more than 1,000 submissions that were culled to the 24 that appear in the journal. As she reflects on this edition of The Tusculum Review, several things come to Trom’s mind.
One is the presence of authors with international connections. They include Gerri Brightwell, a British writer who now lives in Alaska and has written several historical thriller novels. Another is Elia Anie Kim, an Australian writer, filmmaker and photographer who has penned two dark-humor cartoon books. In addition, Eve Driver, an American journalistic and reflective author who has lived extensively in Kenya, writes in this edition about her time in that country.
The edition showcases some older writers who have been widely published in their careers. Among them are Dennis McFadden, who has written novels and stories and been featured in “The Best American Mystery Stories.” The volume also contains writers who are relatively new in the profession, such as poet Timmy Chong, the runner-up for this year’s Poetry Chapbook Prize, which is issued by The Tusculum Review.
A new feature in this year’s edition is the publishing of the winner of the Gary Garrison Playwriting Prize for 10-Minute Plays. Garrison is internationally recognized as a playwright, which was a draw for people to submit their play for this competition. The winner was Vince Gatton for “The Oktavist,” which was performed during the “5 X 10 Plays” in the spring at Tusculum.
“I feel like this volume is, in part, a record of what we are doing here at Tusculum to advance the writing profession and enrich personal lives,” said Trom, the Harriett Reaves Neff ’21 Chair of Fine Arts at the university. “At the same time, it touches on the creative work that is happening in other parts of the world. I like that diversity because it reinforces the caliber of our program and highlights that strong writing is pervasive in many other communities as well.”
Tusculum has consistently received more submissions each year. Trom attributes that to the quality of The Tusculum Review, the ease of the submission process and the high-profile contest judges who review the materials.
The Tusculum Review comes together through a collaborative approach involving a team of editors and students at the university. The editors for this year are:
- Drama – Wayne Thomas, dean of Tusculum’s College of Civic and Liberal Arts and a writer, teacher and director, who publishes plays, short fiction and essays
- Poetry – Dr. Clay Matthews, a former English professor at Tusculum and an author of three poetry collections, whose writing has also appeared in multiple publications
- Nonfiction – Dr. Desirae Matherly, former chair of Tusculum’s English and Languages Department, who has authored a collection of personal essays and whose writing has appeared in multiple publications
- Fiction – Trom, whose fiction and essays have been published in a variety of venues
Also assisting in the production of this volume was Dr. Joshua Martin, who joined the Tusculum faculty in August and will serve as the poetry editor in 2024.
The students who have assisted Trom in publishing this volume are Tate Haugen and Zach Mitchell, juniors majoring in English, with a concentration in creative writing, and Zoey Seay, a sophomore majoring in communication and pursuing an Honors minor. Among their duties were reading submissions, performing the layout of the ones being published and corresponding with the authors.
“These industrious students have gone above and beyond as we have brought this issue to completion,” Trom said. “They have helped me make some really critical decisions about what we are going to include in this volume and how we are going to present it. They have been instrumental partners. It has been a tremendous opportunity for active and experiential learning, and they have embraced it.”
Mitchell has enjoyed the different elements of producing The Tusculum Review.
“Editing is the type of professional work I might prospectively want to do after I graduate – potentially working for a magazine,” he said. “I have also enjoyed talking with the authors and reading their product, templating it and getting the volume ready. I think it’s exciting to help people get their voices out through their writing.”
Seay said she likes that she has been able to read writing that has not previously been published.
“We don’t accept any submissions that have been published elsewhere,” she said. “We’re pretty much the only people that have ever seen these stories except possibly their own personal editor or family members. It’s really cool that we get to enjoy these stories that may never get published. My main goal is to make sure that the story is completely comprehensible because a misplaced comma or misspelled word can completely throw off how the reader understands the story.”
Copies of this year’s volume and prior editions of The Tusculum Review will be available for purchase starting Thursday, Nov. 30, by going the journal’s website, ttr.tusculum.edu, where a breakdown of the pricing will be available. Further information about the university’s English program is accessible at https://site.tusculum.edu/english-2/. To learn more about the university, please visit www.tusculum.edu.