Teen writers aim to get first literary magazine printed

Writers+Alliance+president+sophomore+Binny+Park+%28left%29+discusses+possible+names+for+their+literary+magazine+with+sophomores+Hannah+Choi+%28middle%29+and+Chloe+Chun+during+a+lunch+meeting+May+9.+

Susie Kim

Writers Alliance president sophomore Binny Park (left) discusses possible names for their literary magazine with sophomores Hannah Choi (middle) and Chloe Chun during a lunch meeting May 9.

Susie Kim

Summer of 1983.

That was the last time Sunny Hills students produced a magazine featuring literary and long form journalism pieces.

Sold for $1 per issue, the Excalibur came out once per season and was produced by the school’s journalism students.

Nearly four decades later, a group of students has formed a club in hopes of creating the school’s first literary magazine.

Writers Alliance earned Associated Student Body approval last semester but didn’t start posting its flyers around campus calling for “various forms of prose, poetry, playwriting and more” until early April.

“The students are really motivated, and they’re the driving force behind [the literary magazine],” said Writers Alliance adviser Thomas Butler, who teaches sophomore honors English and is a self-published author of fiction. “Most of the time, I just try to pose some questions that they might have not considered and offer some advice on how to approach it.”

After promoting the group through Instagram and flyers posted around campus, the club managed to gather eight writers and two graphic designers, club president sophomore Binny Park said.

Non-club members can also share submissions.

Digital interest forms for writing, editing and designing have been available to interested students since April 2 on the club’s website; the team will be accepting submissions until September of the next school year to publish the final product by November, Park said.

“My biggest concern is our lack of club members as we’re promoting the club in order to find all people interested in all forms of writing, literature and storytelling,” said the club’s secretary, sophomore Dylan Gutierrez, who plans to write a few poems and has already submitted a dystopian story for the magazine.  “If you know anyone who is interested in even the smallest way, I highly recommend giving the Writers Alliance a chance.”

For Park, she said the idea of publishing a literary magazine caught her interest because of its ability to capture a wide range of literary and artistic genres. 

In elementary school, Park said she frequently flipped through issues of the Stone Soup magazine lying around in her fourth grade teacher’s classroom, which she enjoyed browsing for its short stories and artistic media.

She said she envisioned the magazine, which Park hopes to have a name by the end of this month, to be a creative outlet and a way to encourage students to publish their work.

“Our club cabinet members hope to bring more awareness to creative writing and create more connectedness in that field,” said Park, who did not know about the school’s Excalibur issues until The Accolade had informed her about them.

Literary magazines encompass creative writing works in genres including fiction, poetry and screen writing, and after being informed of Troy High School’s once a year literary magazine – the only one in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District – she said she is considering integrating films and songs that will be posted on the club’s website.

Park said she anticipates an as yet undetermined presale price for the club’s first issue, although she is unsure of how many copies will be produced.

“It depends almost completely on supply and demand: if only a few people want to buy the physical print, then we won’t print many,” she said.

After getting students’ works published through this media, she hopes it will fuel motivation to submit to future competitions.

“I have faith that this will come out well,” Park said. “A lot of work will have to go into it, but seeing the end result will be very rewarding for everyone.”

In the midst of collecting responses, Park said she is still figuring out how to sell and distribute the publication, but she aims to produce one issue per year.

As of May 12, the club has received two finished science fiction and poetry pieces, while four others in various categories are still under progress.

“As a writer, I know the feeling of insecurity that comes with sharing our work with others, even in smaller portions,” Gutierrez said. “That being said, I feel very proud of my fellow club members and myself for being able to overcome anxiety and eventually publish our hard work.”

Students interested in writing for the Writers Alliance can contact @writersallianceshhs on Instagram or visit its website, writersallianceshhs.weebly.com.