In The Middle of Things

The Literary Magazine


Joshua Martins’ Winning Art Piece

Kayhlynn Dickey, Journalist

In a school as large as Western Branch, not every student gets the chance to be in the spotlight. Oftentimes the attention on student-athletes overshadows smaller groups of students like artists and writers. The Literary Magazine gives artists and writers the chance to be in the spotlight and feel seen. 

The Literary Magazine is a collection of student artwork and writing (poetry, fiction, dramatic works, etc…) that is published once a year. Western Branch has been home to a Literary Magazine for decades and over the years has had different publications. Currently, Western Branch is publishing in medias res and volume four will be coming out this school year.

Like any other periodical, the Literary Magazine has a dedicated staff that edits the magazine and advertises for student submissions and participation in their events. The staff is made up of a small group of students under the leadership of Jack Harver and they are devoted to creating a magazine that highlights the artists and writers of Western Branch. They meet almost every week after school from 4 to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Their meetings are full of creativity and laughter, which help to foster ideas and creative discourse. Publishing a magazine is a big job and their doors are always open to students who want to help create this spotlight. 

In previous years, the Literary Magazine was only active during a short window of time at the end of the year. This is when they would collect submissions, edit the collection, and publish the final draft. Last year there was only one active membership, which left an overwhelming amount of work for just two people. This year, however, the staff has ten active members, is very involved and they plan to be active all year. 

“This is by far the most active the Literary Magazine has been during the year in the almost-decade I’ve been here, which is a credit to this year’s strong student leadership,” Mr. Harver said. Mr. Harver has been a part of the Literary Magazine for four years.

Recently the Literary Magazine staff held an “Octo-brrrr” contest. This was the first contest the Literary Magazine has held and it is one of three planned for this year. The contest was created to encourage students to be creative and give two students the chance to be in the spotlight. The contest had two categories, visual arts and written work, and each category had its own winner. The contest had four October-themed prompts which were as follows: “Boo! Are you scared?”; “It’s getting cold… what is warmth to you?”; “You’ve been invited to the masquerade.”; and “Something wicked this way comes.” The contest received 27 total submissions. Judging was done by the student staff under the supervision of Mr. Harver and they were looking for original, authentic work that used one of the prompts as inspiration.

In the written category, freshman Tremayia Dotson won with an amazing untitled short story inspired by the masquerade prompt.

Joshua Martins – Visual Arts Category Winner
Tremayia Dotson – Writing Category Winner

In the visual art category, senior Joshua Martins won with a beautiful mixed media piece. As their prize, both students chose a 25 dollar cash prize and both of their pieces will be featured in this year’s volume of in medias res.

Next month they will be holding another contest over December and January. To stay up to date with new information on the contest, keep an eye on the Western Branch social media accounts and pay attention to the morning announcements. 

This month the Literary Magazine will be working on opening up general submissions. General submissions are student submissions for the Literary Magazine that do not compete in a contest. They will be open to all students to submit writing and/or art to be considered for the magazine. Submissions will be open for several months and will close around the middle of the second semester in order to give the staff enough time to put together and edit the magazine. In medias res volume 4 will be finalized and published in May of 2022. 

As the countdown to May begins, the Literary Magazine hopes to continue to shine a light on the artists and writers of Western Branch.