“Manuscripts” is more than a magazine


Did you know that Butler has a literary magazine that started 76 years ago?

Since 1937, Butler University may have changed in many ways, but its commitment to literary excellence has not.

“Manuscripts” is an annually published magazine that is run by a staff completely made up of students.

“The magazine is definitely aspirational,” said senior editor Kate Newman. “We want to showcase the best that Butler has to offer.”

Students of all majors are able to send in pieces of fiction, non-fiction, essays, poems, song lyrics, paintings, photographs and other material. The staff judges the work and the best is published in the spring manuscript.

“They are all dying forms of expression,” said junior Editor Tamara Bodnar. “It’s nice that this is a group that cares, and it helps bring all those people together for whom this is still a big thing.”

Newman said this is a transitional year for them.

The staff is bringing in a graphic designer to help change the layout of the magazine and the website.

The publications will now accept submissions on their website instead of through email. The website where students can now submit is https://manuscripts.submittable.com/submit.

She added that the submission deadline has been moved up to December 20-—last year it was March—so the staff has more time to work on the layout.

Newman said the bigger plan is to have a greater online presence  and hopefully have content that updates weekly by next year.

“We want to create a legacy that is going to last after I graduate and after my junior editor, Tamara, graduates,” Newman said.

She attributed many of the changes to the new faculty advisors Bryan Furuness and Rob Stapleton.

Furuness and Stapleton both work on the literary magazine “Booth,” and Furuness is also the editor in chief of another literary magazine “Pressgang” both affiliated with Butler.

“He and I bring a little bit of experience putting together a literary magazine and putting it out into the world, and that’s the kind of experience we want to offer to Kate and Tamara,” Furuness said.

He added that Newman and Bodnar do all the creative work. He and Stapleton are just there to support and guide them.

He emphasized beefing up the infrastructure and said the first step is to create a mirror edition online for what is printed. The second step is archiving all the old manuscripts.

“Right now, we are one leaky roof away from losing everything,” he said.

Besides producing a magazine of student work, “Manuscripts” does other things around campus. It sponsors open mic nights, which used to be held in Starbucks but are now held in the Efroymson Center for Creative Writing.

Bodnar said open mic nights give students the opportunity to get out there and share their work.

The first open mic night, on Oct. 28, filled all the seats and was a blast, Newman said. There was food, and the acapella group “Freshly Brewed” played.

Newman has been on staff for four years and Bodnar for two.

Bodnar had just switched to an English major when she started working on staff.

“I found out that I can totally geek out with poetry with all these people,” Bodnar said.

The staff meets weekly and reads submissions. The group is made up of a variety of majors from Arts Administration to Business to English.

“It is nice to get different perspectives and people seem genuinely excited to make it more of a thing than it has been,” Bodnar said.

“Manuscripts” is free for students and will be published in March 2014.IMG_1629


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