Juice Journal, the literary journal for and by University of Winnipeg students, just released its 20th volume – albeit, without an actual launch event to celebrate this achievement.
There’s a lot to celebrate. Over the years, Juice has provided a community for emerging writers and published the early works of local authors, including Joshua Whitehead and Katherena Vermette.
Anne Caprice B. Claros is an editor for Juice 20 and has been involved with the journal since 2016. She says they received over 100 submissions for this year’s journal, which is similar to previous years – despite the challenge of producing the journal remotely.
“The biggest part of (the challenge) was ensuring that we produced a journal that stayed true to our promise of quality on top of ... (making) sure everybody’s represented (and making) sure new voices are heard,” Claros says, noting the journal includes works from a variety of people studying outside the English department.
One main difference with this year’s production of Juice is the absence of the open mic.
“Open mics are definitely crucial ... they provide an opportunity for people unfamiliar with the journal to get to know the journal, and then for those already familiar with the journal to reconnect with their peers,” Claros says.
Claros was disappointed the second annual Word Lunch, an event blending open mic and potluck, was cancelled this year after its success in 2019.
“It gives people an opportunity to connect outside of just an open mic,” she says. “I believe that food is the best way to connect.”
“Of course, what is missing is that in-person contact that really does so much to create community for the writers on campus,” Catherine Hunter, a creative writing professor who has been an important part of Juice since its inception, says.
She adds that one of the biggest benefits of creative writing courses is meeting other writers.
Hunter supervises the production of the journal and helps with training. The previous year’s editor trains the new editors, and students working on the journal have access to an advisory board.
“If students need to ask questions about distribution or layout and design, or editorial questions, they can rely on these experts,” Hunter says.
This year, the remote production of the journal was a challenge.
“Managing all of that when you’re not at school was not as easy as I thought, because you can’t reach out to everyone you want,” Claros says. “You can send as many emails as you want, but if you’re not connecting with anyone, you’re basically not getting anywhere.”
Rather than gathering to discuss submissions, the team used Google Forms to give their feedback and make decisions remotely.
“Google (Forms) really afforded us an opportunity to still stay true to our promise of quality, and I think that is quite evident in the pieces that we chose for this year,” Claros says.
“Every issue is different,” Hunter says. “I think the quality of the writing has always been really strong from the beginning.”
Order a copy of Juice 20 for $5 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name and phone number, as well as the number of copies and your preference for pickup or shipping (include your address if choosing shipping). Follow @uw_juicejournal on Instagram for more information and updates.
Published in Volume 75, Number 17 of The Uniter (February 3, 2021)