We’re starting our MA Publishing takeover with a focus on INK, the University’s own creative writing and visual arts journal, partly because it arrived hot off the press last week (see above, with gorgeous cover design from MA Publishing student Rebekah Meek). Happy birthday INK, and congratulations to everyone involved!
Published annually through the School of English, and in consultation with Dr Miriam Darlington (Lecturer in Creative Writing), INK is a truly collaborative project. MA Publishing students, led this year by Elizabeth Stoddart (General Editor) and Dana Harley (Managing Editor) and supported by Charlotte Cooper (Associate Editor), coordinated a development team from across the Faculty (including another MA Publishing student Evie Sully, in the role of Fiction and Non-Fiction Editor) to identify a theme; collate, select and edit submissions; liaise with Illustration students on design and artwork and prepare the final files for production alongside the University of Plymouth Press. Under the expert stewardship of Emma Gill (MA Publishing) they also planned and executed a successful marketing/launch campaign.
Each year, the development team bring their own flavour to the journal and this year was no different, with strategic decisions being made to increase the diversity of entrants (Charlotte worked with UPSU to bring in submissions from Schools around the University) and to include more artwork and illustration, showcasing a wider range of creative talent than in previous editions. The end result is a product that feels refreshing and innovative, and sets a high bar for the students who take on INK 2021-22.
The choice of theme is always a key part of the process, and we aim for something that’s topical as well as resonant and inspiring. This year the team opted for ‘Nostalgia and Escapism’, with subthemes of rebirth, innovation, wanderlust and evolution – the hope was that we’d provide our writers and artists with a chance to respond to the COVID-19 crisis in a positive way, imagining other worlds both past and future.
Lynda Cooper, Lecturer in Publishing shared these comments on the process of publishing INK:
“The team this year worked exceptionally hard, in trying circumstances (thanks to the pandemic), to deliver a high quality and ambitious end product. In particular it has been fantastic to see the usual high standard of written work matched by such beautifully produced illustration and design; a real reflection on the trend in mainstream publishing away from ‘pile them high and sell them cheap’ and towards products where production and design choices are part of the sales story. The team have been fantastic to work with and I’m sure the skills they’ve learnt (encompassing editorial, design, and sales and marketing) will stand them in good stead as they move into industry”.
In addition to the journal itself, the INK team have put together a website: https://ink2021.wixsite.com/ink2021, where you can sample some of the published content (as well as a few of the exceptional entries that didn’t make it into the printed volume). We’re working to release an ebook as well, and will add information about how to purchase it to the site as soon as we can – watch this space!