The Hothouse Zine’s illustrious roots trace all the way back to 2020, in the form of our first “nontraditional” section. The ethos of the nontraditional section was meant to be inclusivity. We wanted to validate other ways to tell a story, and we wanted the force of the English Department behind that validation. Historically, visual storytelling (as in, juxtaposed pictorial and other images in a deliberate sequence, intended to convey information or to produce an aesthetic response in the viewer or sequential art) has been shunted to the margins of both art and literature. I felt that Hothouse, as an English department journal, had a valuable opportunity to make a statement in accepting visual storytelling into the literature journal—to affirm the literary aspect involved in visual storytelling. 

As the Hothouse editorial team discussed what would be published in a potential ‘nontraditional’ (as in, a section that accepts multimedia submissions), we wanted to push the envelope even further than just visual storytelling and showcase all types of storytelling mediums that experimented with form, genre, and what we expect from literature! We knew that the work of our UT community wouldn’t be fully represented until we showcase all types of storytelling that students are using to express themselves with—even (and maybe especially) if the way they tell their stories spark conversation about the evolving nature of literature and academic spaces. 

And so, the nontraditional section of the Hothouse print edition was born. But, the nontraditional section was temporary from the start. We wanted it to grow! We wanted it to evolve into something bigger, something that could stand on its own two feet as its own publication. 

Although this is the first year we’ve done a zine, everyone on the zine team has great ambitions for it. We want it to be fun. We want it to be creative. We want stories that make us think, that make us cry, that make us laugh and that make us look twice at the work and ask ourselves “how did they do that?” We want it to be as vibrant and exciting as the creatives that we’re calling on to submit. Most importantly, we want it to have heart. And that, dear reader and dearest DIY co-conspirator, is where you come in. Because the living pulse of any zine is the stories, experiences, effort, and emotion of the community that makes it!

Learn how to submit to zine here!