The Literary Round Table is a small group of PJC students who meet throughout the school year to discuss and critique each other’s literary works. They also work on the production of their award winning magazine, ISSUE.
“The magazine is a student run organization that proposes a creative outlet for students to submit their fiction, short stories, poems, essays, paintings, pictures of sculptures, and even a one-act play, but no one ever submits one of those,” co-editor Kim Rooks said. “We are even toying with the idea of incorporating music from local bands this year.”
At the 2008 Florida Community College Press Association meeting, ISSUE took home two first-place awards for nonfiction and design of the contents page, and a third place award for fiction.
Although the club has met well deserved success in the past year, the story of the LRT’s success is one that begins on very unsteady ground.
During its humble beginnings, the LRT had financial difficulties. In 2005, The Corsair reported that the magazine’s inaugural publication cost $4,000 for 500 copies, nearly $3,700 more than the club had to work with. In order to overcome this expense, the club convinced student activities to pay the $3,000 tab.
After months of hard work, ISSUE’s release ceremony took place Oct. 5 in the gazebo at the PJC Pensacola campus. The magazine’s release was accompanied by free doughnuts, and English and Communications Department Head Thom Botsford provided entertainment by playing the saxophone. ISSUE’s first editor-in-chief, Marzia Accardo, said at the time, “This issue has been special; the next one will be special as well.”
The success of the LRT came to a halt when the faculty sponsor, Caroline Dreyer, lost her life to cancer in 2007. Without any direction while Dreyer was ill, the LRT went two years without producing another magazine.
Troy Lambert, former editor, said ISSUE was able to survive a comeback in 2008 under the supervision and guidance of Accardo. With a gaggle of new recruits and the leadership of a few dedicated veteran members, the LRT was able to publish again in 2008. Faculty sponsor Todd Neuman provided guidance and support to the student writers.
Currently, the LRT is attempting to recruit more student involvement. Rooks claimed that the biggest complication they are experiencing is a lack of involvement. “Josh [Guidroz] and I are the only members currently.”
Under the supervision and sponsorship of PJC faculty members Julia Ruengert and Mike Will the Literary Round Table will explore various means of publication over the next few months. Possibilities include publication of past student works in electronic format, combined with a spring print publication. Guidroz and Rooks invite all PJC student writers and artists of all kinds to become involved with the group.
Rooks described her first experience with the LRT as, “frightening because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I quickly found a home where people embraced my work and said I shouldn’t be embarrassed by it at all.” She added, “You can easily find a home here if you feel out of place.”
The next LRT meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 7 in Building 4, room 469.