News Releases

New Voices 'a cool success story'

June 28, 2010
New Voices Release Party
Pictured from left to right are Lander University's New Voices editor Becky McKay of Graniteville; contributor Katie Patterson of McCormick; editors Paula Birch of Fairfax; Lindsey Copeland of Greenville; Aerin Phillips of Rock Hill; Wendy Polk of Hampton; and contributor Kaycie Patterson of McCormick.

It's no stretch to say that the voices of students published in New Voices, Lander University's journal of student nonfiction, are being heard.

Since going online last year, the magazine has been read by more than 2,000 people, and Ashley Rhodes's essay "This I Believe: Fatherhood Is Essential," published in the 2009 volume, has been selected for inclusion in the ninth edition of The Compact Reader: Short Essays by Method and Theme, edited by Jane E. Aaron, published by Bedford/St. Martin's Press.

Established in 1985, New Voices fell silent from 2004 until last year, a casualty of budget cuts and departmental realignment. That changed with the arrival of Lillian Craton, assistant professor of English, and Misty Jameson, assistant professor of English and film studies, who agreed to serve as sponsors.

Craton, who referred to her and Jameson's roles as "wranglers," keeping the editors on-task and coordinating communication between them, admitted to having fears that the undertaking might require more time than she could give.

Her fears have not been borne out, she said, in large measure because "we have students involved at every tier of the process."

The essay by Rhodes, of Laurens, is not the only standout piece that New Voices has published. Craton likes "Around the Piano," a family history by Kelley McCravy, of Greenwood, in the current issue, and McCormick resident Kaycie Patterson's "A Red Box," an account of her father's smoking habit, published in 2009.

The 2010 Dessie Dean Pitts Award, given annually to the best essay in New Voices, went to Blaiz Buchanan, of Simpsonville, author of "The Cassini Controversy," an indictment of the government's use of plutonium in space flights.

Several of the pieces published in New Voices were written to satisfy course requirements. Rhodes's essay, for instance, was written for Craton's English 101 class. As New Voices becomes more of a tradition, Craton hopes that more students will begin work with the magazine in mind.

All of Craton's ideas for the magazine -- like bringing in published writers to make the final cut on submissions -- have not been implemented, but she is pleased with what has been accomplished so far. New Voices is back, and that, she said, is "kind of a cool success story."