Austin’s New Central Library Is Everyone’s Library

Written by Emily Ogden

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Austin’s new Central Library, I hope this article is the motivation you need to make your way down to this impressive building located in the heart of our city. While all libraries are undoubtedly a wonderful haven for community members, this place is perhaps incomparably glorious.

All I could think as I explored each of the six floors for the first time was that this library is alive. There is constant motion as people bustle from floor to floor on the grand staircase, browse among the shelves, or search for a place to settle down and study. The already intimate community of this place is evident, from staff members leading kids to the puppet show on floor three, to the live string quartet playing Christmas melodies on floor six.

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Looking at NYT’s Notable Books of 2017

Written by Andi Feddeler

If you’re struggling with what to gift your literary friends and family for the holiday season, The New York Times Book Review has recently come out with a list of 2017’s most notable books with 100 total titles. A wide selection of books of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have been selected by the editors and were compiled into an alphabetical list of great works of 2017. If you’re like me, this list can seem a little overwhelming, so I’ve chosen a few of the books that most interest me to look into further.

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Art, addiction, and Remembering to Write

Written by Katelyn Connolly

In her Twitter bio, Hope Ewing describes herself as a “drink pusher, writer. Not necessarily in that order.” Fittingly, in a recent article written for Literary Hub, she explores the relationship between art and alcohol abuse, an issue that hits close to home for many artists and members of creative communities. In Ewing’s case, the problem of alcoholism exists generally in her family. Yet her admission that “stories of epic blacked-out shenanigans…were so normalized in my childhood that they seemed like common rites of passage,” rings eerily true for social scenes crafted by artists, as well. Writers, painters, musicians and film-makers have historically existed in worlds where drinking and drug use are regarded as more acceptable than they might be in other circles. Artists often seek to be deviants, and deviant behaviors become par for the course. Addiction is normalized under the banner of Art.

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December’s Online Submission Theme is…

Humans Rights!

December is National Human Rights Month, and we want to hear your creative thoughts on it! We are very excited to see what you come up with. Deadline for December submissions will be December 27th. Click here for more information.

Email your submissions or any questions to our Editor-in-Chief at

Please remember that only UT Austin English, Rhetoric and Writing, Comparative Lit majors, or Creative Writing certificate students may submit to the online journal.

Vicious: A Story of Near-Death Experiences and Supervillains

Written by Kiran Gokal

Ever wondered what x-men would look like on a college campus? Well, the search is over. Vicious, a fantasy, sciencefiction, and paranormal thriller (honestly it’s a little bit of everything)  by V.E. Schwab, plays with the ethics surrounding life and death, and the fine line we walk between the two. The story follows Victor Vale and Eliot Cardale, two pre-med students who discover that the key to gaining superpowers is near-death experiences. So they set out to research and manufacture their own abilities by experimenting with their own suicides. Of course, it goes horribly wrong. Vicious is a journey that intrigued me right from the start and made me think rather critically about the definition and executions of the cliché heroversusvillain story.

V.E. Schwab, a best-selling author of multiple books and book series, wrote this particular novel in secret, in an attempt to respark her interest in writing for pleasure rather than for an income. The rawness of such a notion definitely shows in the work. It’s funny, it’s engaging, and it’s thought provoking. Adorning the captivating story of Victor and Eli are the various wonderful characters that either join forces with the pair or happen to make appearances in the story. Schwab’s strong suit is balancing her characters with her plots, neither one louder than the other. I don’t know about you, but those are my favorite stories to read.

More fascinatingly, Schwab wrote the novel hoping to “play with the idea of the superhero as social construct” and the notion of giving an ordinary person supernatural abilities—what would they do then? Save the world just as the comics would have us believe? Here, she strips the archetypes of their roles. The hero is no longer the hero and the villain could be both. It really is up to the reader to choose a side (or not). As Schwab would say, “we like our heroes flawed and our villains complicated.”

If any of this interests you, I highly recommend picking up Vicious by V.E. Schwab. The dark and mysterious atmosphere of the book is a perfect read for the fall and winter time—and who doesn’t love superheroes?

Small Steps: Dr. DeChavez’s Journey into Literature

Written by Guadalupe Rodriguez

This is how it all starts: it’s the first time that you see yourself. And it’s not just like seeing yourself in the mirror when you wake up in the mornings or when you take a shower in the evenings. It’s not like when you notice you have your mother’s hair one day as you stare at her. Or when you realize that the nose you want to go under the knife is actually a treasure your dad gave you. It’s more than that. It’s not reading Judy Blume, and ending it to the thought of oh I wish I could be like this.Or fantasizing about living in a nice house. No, this is better than Judy Blume. This is seeing yourself in San Antonio, growing up in a poor household, with a young narrator, but [who] was also very smart.It’s something “familiar and recognizable.And when you read this piece it made [you] feel that [you] didn’t need to be somebody else.

This is Yvette.

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A Little Bit about Catalonia’s Vibrant Publishing Scene

Written by Annie Diamond

A couple of weeks ago, Publishers Weekly wrote about an unexpected little region that produces most of the literature consumed by Spanish speakers around the world. That region is Catalonia, an area recently in the news for their attempts to secede from Spain. Catalonia encompasses Barcelona, which is the capital of the region, but also a hub of Spanish-speaking publishing activity. Barcelona’s publishing industry is bolstered by the presence of important publishing groups like Grupo Planeta and Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, as well as the prominent literary agency, Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcells.

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