By Deven Leigh Ellis
Asst. Life Editor
Over 40 friends, family and staff gathered Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. in the Sorensen Student Center to celebrate students whose scholarly essays were selected for this semester’s publication of “Essais.” “Essais,” a student-run scholarly journal celebrating its second publication, chose 12 academic essays from 120 submissions by over 100 authors, including two students who received word of the competition in India.
The evening commenced with a welcome by Editor-in-Chief senior Jenna Atkinson. Atkinson was wrapping up her second and final semester with the journal, named for the French word for “essays.” Along with 17 dedicated staff and two faculty advisors, Atkinson had been working on the second issue of “Essais” since the release of the first in April.
“The first time it hit my hands, I had no words,” Atkinson said of her excitement of the journal’s first release in April.
Managing Editor Sarah Bridges, senior, said the journal’s release was “a lot harder” the first time around, but that she was glad to garner the editorial experience.
Of the 120 submissions, Atkinson said her staff tried “to judge them not against other papers,” but by their own merit. “We picked the best pieces judged by themselves.”
With hopes to make “Essais” a national publication and foster competition among UVU students, Atkinson and Technical Editor Rachel Leavitt made pleas to other American universities for students’ submissions.
“If you want to be legitimate and academic, you have to branch out,” Atkinson said.
An unanticipated six final contributors were UVU students, with the other six hailing from BYU, Point Loma Nazarene University, Samford University, University of Northern Colorado and Pacific University. To be eligible to receive more funding for future issues, however, the journal will have to pull contributors solely from UVU.
“For funding, we have to make it student-centered,” Leavitt said.
A print run of 250 journals cost the English Department $800. The department is still anticipating funding disbursal from UVU for the journal’s two issues. Journals can be purchased from the English Department and UVU’s Bookstore for $5.
Thursday night’s conference was named “Popomology,” a term coined by UVU’s Dr. Charles Vogel from Post-Post Modernism, or what he believes to be the era the literary community is currently experiencing. The night concluded with a Q-and-A session with six of the authors who had presented their work. When asked which of them planned to pursue writing for a living, only one, Rosemary Englefried of Pacific University, raised her hand.
Author Darek Purcell, Editor-in-Chief for “Warp & Weave,” concluded, “I’d like to say more, but my words fail me.”